Editor’s note: Tom Crawford, co-owner of the new Body Language Tattoo, is the father of Dakota Crawford, a member of the Daily News staff.
The owners of a new tattoo shop moving into the Village this
summer plan to bring a family-friendly face to the Muncie tattoo scene.
“We’re not dark, we’re very family-friendly,” said Tom Crawford,
co-owner of the new Body Language Tattoo scheduled to open by the end of July
above The Cup. “We are family owned and operated; you will see my kids
every time you walk in. You don’t have to be afraid to bring your own kids into
Crawford’s career in
piercing and tattoos began with family — one of his daughters got a piercing
and “they botched it up and then charged me $75 for it.”
That spurred Crawford, who has been self-employed for 25 years, to start his own career in piercing, eventually opening his first shop in Indianapolis. Now, he is bringing his own brand of tattoo and piercing shop to Muncie.
While many business owners may say, “the customer is always
right,” Crawford says he takes that to the next level.
“Everything we do is customer-driven, right down to the
songs on our radio,” he said. “My whole life, that is why I have been
successful. I believe you don’t need any advertising, all you need is customer
Crawford doesn’t do tattoos himself like many shop owners,
he said. Instead he focuses solely on piercings. He said when you ask a tattoo
artist to do a piercing, they often see it as a waste of their time, something that
inconveniences them and takes them away from their art.
The other co-owner, Bill Wilburn — Mr. Bill to people walking into the shop — covers part of the tattoo side of the business. He’s been
doing tattoos for 25 years – 10 professionally.
“I’ve just always been into art,” he said. “Painting,
drawing and stuff and loved tattoos since I was little. My big brother always
Wilburn’s plan for Body Language Tattoo is more than just
making money and being busy, although those things would be nice, he said. He wants
to change the mindset people have about tattoos.
“When I was younger, I tried to get apprenticeships … everyone
was mean [or] rude, it was dark always or smelled of pot or something — no kids
allowed,” he said. “We didn’t want to be like that. We wanted to change up the
way most people see tattoo shops.”
For Crawford, he thinks the focus on family-friendly
customer service will serve him well in Muncie.
“I think we could set up in a cornfield in Nebraska and
people would come to us,” he said.