August 1, 2012
By Chris Reinoos
Shogun Tattoo owner Ryan Riphenburg knows that tattoo shops can be intimidating places, especially for those coming in for the first time. But he and his staff aim to create a welcoming environment for all customers.
“A lot of people have been made to feel it’s not okay to ask questions,” Riphenburg said. “We’re trying to soften that.”
Shogun Tattoo, 2210 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., received its license June 7 and opened the same day. The shop is open Monday-Saturday from 12 to 7pm and Sundays from 12 to 6pm. Riphenburg said most of the shop’s customers in these first weeks have been walk-ins.
Riphenburg is no stranger to the tattoo business. He owned Starship Tattoo in West Bend for four years and worked at several other shops before that. He said the move to Bay View was something he had wanted to do for some time.
“It just sort of made sense for me,” Riphenburg said. “Bay View was honestly where I wanted to be.”
Beyond tattoos, Shogun also offers body piercing and body jewelry. Riphenburg, a piercer by trade, said the piercing business has to be developed over time and that tattoos have made up the bulk of the shop’s business so far.
Shogun currently employees two tattoo artists: one full-time and one part-time, as well as a temporary tattoo artist, who returns to Hawaii in August. Riphenburg serves as the shop’s full-time piercer.
Riphenburg prides himself and his business on doing things a different way and offering a unique experience. Rather than displaying tattoos in flash racks on the wall, Shogun has a system where customers browse through tattoo options via a touch-screen computer. Riphenburg believes this will be the standard in tattoo shops in the future and is glad to offer this technology now.
“People are so used to technology, and everybody knows how to use it,” Riphenburg said. “Why wouldn’t we have moved forward into that?”
Riphenburg said he is confident that Shogun can win customers over with the artists’ work and the shop’s environment. As for other tattoo shops in Bay View, Riphenburg said he is not concerned about potential competition.
“There are some great tattoo shops in Bay View,” Riphenburg said. “If I was afraid of competition, I never would have gotten into business in the first place.”
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