Jen Beirola, Owner of Grinn & Barrett Tattoo Studio, has been tattooing since 2000.
She started tattooing while she was active duty in the Air Force. Beirola knew she wanted to get a tattoo apprenticeship but that it was a tough thing to find.
If you find an opening you have to jump on it and that’s exactly what Beirola did. She got her foot in the door in a little tattoo shop in Papillion. Once she got through the initial apprenticeship part, she was able to work every Saturday or be in the shop.
She said the Air Force treated her apprenticeship as if it was a trade school or college and gave her some flexibility.
Unfortunately, the shop closed not long after she started there.
In a twist of fate, Dick Warsocki, then owner of Grinn & Barrett, picked up her apprenticeship where she had left off and took Beirola under his wing. He taught her his way of tattooing - the Grinn & Barrett way.
Change of ownership
Around 2006, Warsocki decided he wanted to retire. Right around that same time, Beirola was getting out of the military. The timing couldn’t have been any better and Beirola took over the shop.
Grinn & Barrett has been around since 1991. Currently, Beirola employs four artists (including herself). She said she looks for good artists that are able to represent her work well if she is not the one doing the tattoo. She hires people who are professional, provide quality tattoos and love what they do. Beirola said that positive attitude reflects in how they treat the customers as well as the overall vibe of her shop.
The tattoo business fluctuates by season. Beirola said there are times the shop gets backed up and cannot handle everything that is walking in but the fall is a great time to get tattooed. People are more easily able to get right in.
For Grinn & Barrett, the busiest time of year is right after people get their tax returns back and up until school starts.
Beirola said they don’t just slap tattoos on. The staff takes a lot of pride in what they do.
In fact, Beirola said she has several big pieces in progress that she is excited about that are ongoing. Customers need multiple sessions for bigger tattoos. And Beirola said about three hours is the longest you can expect someone to sit without getting uncomfortable.
Ready for a tattoo?
People should dress appropriately for getting a tattoo as well. In other words, if you want a tattoo on your thigh, don’t wear skinny jeans.
She said tattoos tend to go in trends. When she first started tattooing, everyone was getting their lower back tattooed. Now, she said you see a lot of ribs and both those places are pretty painful to get tattooed on.
Beirola said you will get a better piece if you are willing to give up a little control. If you show her artists an idea, they can design something that’s going to be a really nice tattoo.
At Grinn & Barrett, the artists take the time to sit with people and consult with them. They talk about how the tattoo will flow with the body. Ultimately, Beirola said they care about what they do, always do their absolute best and push themselves further all the time.
3021 Leavenworth St.
Omaha, NE 68105