Tattoo shop peaks interest beyond the ink

The atmosphere of the shop focuses on a home-feel, with a boutique vibe.


Mom’s tattoo shop is the only shop in Eastern Washington that is a part of the Association of Professional Piercers. The shop has been open for four years | Sam Jackson for The Easterner

By Sam Jackson, Reporter

A mother and daughter duo take on professional tattooing and piercing at Mom’s Custom Tattoo & Piercing shop.

Mom’s is located near downtown Spokane in the Kendall Yards neighborhood. They’ve been at this location for the last four years. Mom and owner, Beth Swilling, has been tattooing in Spokane for a long time now. In efforts to expand on her mother’s profession, daughter and co-owner Shandra Swilling has been piercing professionally for over four years. Beyond the family are three other tattoo artists, another piercer and two other staff members.

The atmosphere of the shop focuses on a home-feel, with a boutique vibe.

“We’re just a little more mainstream I guess,” said Shandra Swilling. “We kind of cater to a different audience. Women are the ones who get tattooed and pierced the most so it’s kind of good to gear a little more toward them. I think we just make it comfortable.”

After attending the Seattle Tattoo Expo the owners were eager to branch out and get into the piercing business. By doing this, Spokane clients could have a more steady piercing experience.

“In Spokane there were no consistent piercers,” said Shandra Swilling. “I went to one piercer who was gone after two weeks and just like that there was nothing consistent here, people were just flakey. So I was like, well why don’t we just do it ourselve’s.”

Mom’s is the only shop in Eastern Washington that is part of the Association of Professional Piercers as a member. The APP was founded by a group of piercers from different countries who decided to set a standard for piercing. To become a professional piercer in the state of Washington, all you need is bloodborne pathogens training and $250. To be a member of the APP it requires the business to undergo CPR and first aid training, submitting a 360 degree video of the studio and sending in their jewelry invoices.

“Being members of the APP shows our clients that we take it seriously,” said Shandra Swilling. “We have been trying to educate people about it from the get-go and it’s just now, finally taking off and people are seeing the great results with it.”

When entering the shop, instead of being greeted by an artist there are assistant personnels ready to help every client with picking out jewelry or helping to decide which artist they will work with best.

“That’s also something different we have here, because most tattoo shops here you have to wait for someone to be done tattooing for them to talk to you,” said Shandra Swilling. “So, they’re really integral to us.”

Mom’s advises to make an appointment. It is the best option, though they will try to take walk-ins whenever they can. On Valentine’s Day there will be a special. One of their tattoo artists, Bonnie, will be doing tattoo name cover-ups for a discounted price.

Mom’s is open on Wednesday’s and Thursday’s from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday’s and Saturday’s from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday’s from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. They are located at 1226 W. Summit Pkwy in Spokane at Kendall Yards.