March Meet The Maker 2019

Throughout March, I shared insights on the business via social media. Here, you can find them all in one space!

About Me

I’m Naomi Hoang, Tattoo Artist and founder of NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos. I studied Fine Art and Graphic Design throughout my school years, before gaining a BA(Hons) in Illustration at the (then named) Arts University College in Bournemouth. A year after graduating, I managed to break into the gaming industry as an Illustrator and Concept Artist, before leaving it all and falling into the world of tattooing.

Here at NAOHOA, I get to know clients one-to-one so I can design tattoos that are truly unique and personal to them. Nowadays, I use an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil to design these, as it’s much quicker. If you follow my Instagram Stories, you may catch me every now and then sharing updates or doing a Live stream, where you can chat with me while I draw! .

I’m a self-taught tattoo artist, since going down the apprentice route didn’t work out for me. A lot of people fret if they hear this bit too soon, so I often leave it out until they get to know my work. 😜 Tattooing is much like painting, so it didn’t take long for me to pick it up. 🎨

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How Did I Get Here?

As mentioned in my previous MMM post, the apprentice route didn’t work for me, so instead I undertook business training via Business in Focus (Cardiff) and any free sources I could find online.

Without a clue how to secure a premise, my adviser told me to simply knock on doors until someone let me in! Straight after my appointment with him, I walked around Cardiff, knocking on every salon door asking for a room to rent. So, so many people turned me down for being a tattoo artist, as if I’d be trouble. 😅 Eventually, I stumbled at Leila & Violetta’s salon, which has since changed owner to Susan. It was unstable here for the first 2-3 years, due to conflicts between the first two owners, which put a tense vibe in the building. 😞 Also, I didn’t have the full room to myself, so 1/3 was ugly and too embarrassing to show (I didn’t even take a photo before painting it!)…I think these were blockers from me advertising too much as I wasn’t proud of my space, especially with “luxury” in the title. I’m defo grateful to my early clients for glazing over the dodgy walls and salon drama!! 🙈

After the original salon owner left, I was finally able to redecorate this space.

Things are much better now, thankfully. 😊 It took a crazy intense 3 months to go from idea to fully functioning and licensed studio with basically no work experience in tattooing…all or nothing, eh? 🤣 Without a doubt it’s concerning how easy(…ish) it is to set up a space, but I’m also kinda glad, since I knew I had the skills to pull through and didn’t wanna put up with more BS I’d already been through in gaming and tattooing. Time to put a spin on things!! 💪🏼

….and that’s how I became my own boss. 😎

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Flat Lay / Tools

I’ve split this into three images of my essential equipment, based on type of use.

PREPARATION:

As you can see, I’m quite tech-heavy! I grew up with tech and gaming, thanks to an older brother who saw me (the youngest) as a last chance for a little bro, ended up with yet another sis, then decided to treat me like a bro anyway. 😆

From top left to right: iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, which I use to draw my designs (also used during Instagram Lives). Selfie Light for taking photos of tattoos and products (rarely for actual selfies, hah). Wireless mouse and wrist rest for when I’m doing admin and my compact Brother thermal stencil printer. I use a mix of the printer and old-school tracing out the stencil, depending on the design.

Then there’s my laptop (Dell XPs13), my trusty Contigo flask that has survived 6 years so far, and my personal phone. Besides the printer, I use these pretty much every day!

TATTOOING:

Organic, vegan-friendly ink by Japanese brand, Kuro Sumi. I love how bright, yet earthy their colours are. For black, I use Dynamic Color, as I find it much darker than Kuro Sumi’s. DC is vegan-friendly but not organic. Machines used are by British craftsman Wayne Taylor and well-established American brand, Bishop Rotary. I tend to use the former for shading and latter for lining.

SELF CARE:

Although I have decent posture; tattooing for long hours, designing and admin pretty much all involve sitting down and being hunched over. It really does a number on my body and mind if I don’t take steps to maintain them. I have a thick pilates mat on the left, which I use for working out and doing stretches. Gua Sha for applying pressure all over to improve circulation and a very spiky foam roller for deep-tissue massage around my body – especially for my back and glutes. Adorable bento box for lunch breaks, ’cause besides art, food is my life*! NeckSaviour to stretch out my neck and the @calm app on my phone to meditate – clearing my mind so it has time to chill out. I use these every day.

* Check out my personal page for bento pics: @naomi.hoang🍱

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Work Outfit⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

My uniform is black because it’s smart, sleek and gives consistency (…also more forgiving if ink lands on it!). When doing Consultations, I’m able to wear long sleeves, glasses, jewellery and leave my hair down. When tattooing, I opt for contact lenses, garments with shorter sleeves, remove jewellery and put my hair up with a stick to avoid distraction when working. 😊⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

On the right, I’m wearing a Vietnamese dress (Ao Dai) I designed specifically for work. It’s all-black with purple orchids that are on-brand. NAOHOA’s colour scheme is off-white, purple and occasionally pink and the logo is an orchid, because my Vietnamese name (Mai Lan – ‘Lan’ being an exerpt from ‘Phonglan’) is based on the Dendrobium Orchid. Ao Dai are often floor-length, but this one stops at the knee for more practical use.⠀⠀

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Branding⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Design iterations

From day one, NAOHOA (all caps) was intended to be a brand – a platform for creativity and giving. I want to expand into different sectors over time, starting with tattoos, which is why the name is not attached to any given field. As some of you have figured out by now, NAOHOA consists of the first three letters from my first and second name: Naomi Hoang = NAOHOA. It took a while to figure out the right combination of letters to name my brand but once it appeared, that was it! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Here, you can see my attempts to figure out nice-sounding names based on my name (Vietnamese/Western/meanings behind them). Most were taken by other companies or people and although Nao Hoa is a Vietnamese name, NAOHOA wasn’t taken, so happy days! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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You can read more in my blog post:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
http://www.naohoa.com/naohoa-logo⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Inspiration was drawn from luxury brands such as @bezant_london@shiseido and @swarovski 💎

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Closing Thoughts

Thanks for following my journey through this, folks! I hope they were interesting to read. 😊⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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On July 3rd, NAOHOA will have been up-and-running for 4 whole years!! I cannot thank you enough for being here – especially during the early stages where I was finding my ground. Since the latter half of 2018, things have really taken off and I’ve finally hired an assistant to help with admin tasks (you’ll have seen her social media posts here and there lately). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
It’s been a tumultuous journey of elating highs and devastating lows. Running a business is definitely not for the faint-hearted and I’m grateful to have help all around me – in particular, my parents and partner (Zan). Mum’s a Buddhist and gave me this statuette last year for the business, along with a beaded bracelet she had blessed by the head monk of the temple she attends. I wear it every day, along with a ring from Zan on my right hand as a reminder of their support. If it weren’t for them & few more, I’d have quit so. many. times. 😐 As much as I love what I do and meeting all of you, sometimes the pressure of it all can really get to me, but they’ve egged me on and picked me up no matter how low I sank. Don’t worry, things have evened out over the last year, so I’m okay!! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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NAOHOA has made me stronger as a person, taught me to appreciate and look after myself (…because no sick days) and enabled me to meet the most wonderful people. From fellow business owners to amazing clients who become friends, I truly am grateful to all of you. 💛⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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So…how should I celebrate all this in July?! Post ideas via Instagram or Facebook! 😃

Naomi xxx⠀⠀⠀


2018 Highlights

This year has been a major one for personal and business growth for me, and I’m super grateful to those who supported me along the way. Each day, along with my biz tasks, I write down three things I’m grateful for and any ‘wins‘ for that day. They encourage me to maintain a positive mindset and helps keep me motivated. ^_^

To anyone wanting to build a positive habit in the New Year, I highly recommend it! It’s cheap, takes moments and can be done anywhere. Mine are logged in a massive spreadsheet alongside my cashflow forecast etc. (trying to be more minimalist and have fewer material things), but having a dedicated book or gratitude jar are fab ways to incorporate it into your life.

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My Personal Highlights:

Closer Relationships

Photo courtesy of Kiki from New Media Ghost.

The top thing that’s really enriched my life lately is opening up to people. I’m closer to my parents and have started making friends in Cardiff (at last!). For years, I’ve been spending so much time on the business, I’d not made much effort to venture outside of it…besides networking…which is still biz-related. 😐 Although I still need more balance, tiny steps are better than none!

NatWest Accelerator

View this post on Instagram

Last night, those of us on the NatWest Accelerator course celebrated our sucess over our 6 months spent here. It was an excuse to dress up, chat over food and drink and have a laugh before we go our separate ways. Many have reapplied and got into the next cohort, but I've chosen to use my time strategically and so will not be continuing until I'm at the next stage of my business. . . One major surprise that really lifted me was winning the Mindset Award, for showing personal growth, overcoming struggles and achieving more than I ever had before in my business so far in 6 short months. Out of the ones given, this was a big deal for me, as it validates an aspect of NAOHOA I'd like to expand over the next year or so. For a long time, I was blocking myself from propelling forward (largely from fear or lack of confidence) and although I don't expect or do things purposely for external recognition, the attention I've been getting for my work lately has been encouraging…it's good to know it's actually working and not just in my head! . . Congrats to @apricitygirl for Community Member and @hayleyhanson_gb for One-To-Watch! 👏 Well-deserved. 💖 . . P.S…."NAOHOA" is all-caps. 😜 #ItllCatchOnEventually . . . #business #businessowners #womeninbusiness #mindset #growth #wellbeing #personalgrowth #holistic #entrepreneur #NatWest #NatWestAccelerator #Cardiff #TattooArtist #Artist #Illustrator #Wales #Newport #FemaleTattooArtist #award

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From May – October, I took part in the NatWest Accelerator program, based in Cardiff. We had lectures on how to run our businesses, access to people and schemes that could help, and a co-working space to get the work done. The one-to-one mentorship was invaluable, as was the amazing community. From the program, I was able to get outside of my isolating work bubble and meet like-minded people. We now have a little biz family and it’s fab~ 😊

Online Booking System

Feeling annoyed with how much time communication was taking away from core activities (designing and tattooing), Zan suggested I automated a few things and I finally got round to implementing them. 😜 Making it easier for clients to book me in while I’m busy (or out of hours) has been a game-changer and I’m glad you’re all loving it too!

Levelling Up

When I started out, inking for 2-3 hours would konk me out…now I can do 6-8hrs before my brain turns into mush. 😁 I need to do more physio exercises and rest my eyes to recover, but it’s all part of the job. My ability to do fine line work has increased too, which I’m pleased about. It’s a trend that’s still going strong and I like how elegant it looks.

Going Minimal

Downsizing my belongings and simplifying my life has had a calming affect on me. The studio has always been light, clean and airy, so now I’m trying to make my personal life match that!

iPad Pro

For my 3rd business birthday, my partner (Zan) treated me to an iPad Pro. I’d been oggling it for aaaaages but couldn’t afford one and felt bad asking for anything that big. It’s helped my workflow so. much. It’s a joy to draw with and I enjoy sharing that process with you via Instagram Live, which I’ll talk more about below…

Conquering Fears

Doing events and generally putting myself out there has been a huge mental blocker for me. However, being held accountable during my stay at NatWest Accerlator really pushed me to do Comic Con, which turned out great! It was fun nerding out with you guys and getting to know some of you more whilst tattooing. I also pushed myself to do more videos via Instagram Stories, Lives and am finally taking steps towards building my YouTube Channel.

These are all things I’ve wanted to do for years but didn’t feel I had the courage until after I did it…which goes to show, there’s some truth to the saying, “Fake it ’til you make it”!

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What have been your highlights this year? 💖


Cardiff Comic Con – September’18

Hi, folks!

A quick announcement to say that, after a fantastic weekend in May, I’ll be at Comic Con again on 22-23rd September at Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff.

Pretty much the same deal as last time, where I’ll be around all day to chat to you in person, so feel free to swing by and say hey~ 😀 I’m conscious that there were big queues last time with many of you waiting very patiently, so I think for this one, I’ll suggest booking an appointment with me at the studio for a longer chat (or video call, if you’ll be travelling from afar), to save people waiting for too long. Sound fair?

Unfortunately, I won’t be selling customised portraits this time round, but signed art prints will still be available, and it’ll be the only place where you can buy 2 for £20 (saving £5).

Will I finish the Ghibli Tribute in time? 😱 With running the business and being in the intense NatWest Accelerator course, I’ll admit, I’m finding it hard to keep everything in check, but I’ll try my best to get the print ready to sell on the day, as many of you were interested last time. If you’d like to follow its progress, Instagram is the best place to find me, as I often share Live Stories of what I’m up to (they’re quicker and easier than arranging posts).

Thanks for reading and I look forward to meeting you soon!

Naomi xxx


Comic Con Call-Out 2018

….How has it been a week since Comic Con already?! 😱

Thanks so much to those of you who supported me during my first big event – I had a blast~ 😄 If you wanted to have a chat but I was on a break or talking to someone else for a while, please get in touch: info@naohoa.com. I’d love to hear from you!

Going by Zan’s notes from when I was away, here’s a call-out to some peeps:

  • Simon (Kylo Ren cosplay) who’s after a chest piece.
  • Andy from one of the stalls selling figurines who’s wants a coverup.
  • Marines dude who has or wanted a dragon? Think I may have spoken to you eventually but not sure.

 

Naomi Hoang from NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos, signing an art print. Cardiff Comic Con 2018.

I appreciate that conversations lasted 5-20mins per person at times and you wanted to experience the event more, so if you were patiently waiting (or too shy to approach me on the day), please do get in touch – I don’t bite. 🙂

PM/email is best as they’re easier for me to catch up with and I don’t answer calls when I’m with clients or outside of Opening Hours (11am-6pm, Mon-Sat). We can always arrange a timeslot over the phone if you prefer to chat before booking a consultation.

 

Let’s Chat! 😄

 

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More Ways to Stay Updated

Newsletter:

http://www.naohoa.com/subscribe/
I send a brief update at the end of each month (I very rarely do more than that). Please add me to your address book so it doesn’t go to your Spam or Promotions Folder! I won’t share your details or use them for anything other than sending Newsletters.

 

Naomi Hoang from NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos, signing an art print. Cardiff Comic Con 2018.

Instagram:

http://instagram.com/naohoa
I update this account pretty much every day, unless things are crazy busy and I forget to. 😛 It’s currently the only place I’ll show what I’m up to live, via Stories.

 

Facebook & Twitter:

https://facebook.com/naohoa.uk/
http://twitter.com/_naohoa
Currently, posts from Instagram are forwarded to these accounts. Besides email, PM’ing me via the FB Page is the second-best way to reach me.

 

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What Else I got Up To

NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos at Cardiff Comic Con, selling Sugarskull Cubone and Geo Swan Art Prints by Naomi Hoang.Besides chatting to people about what I do here at NAOHOA, I was also selling and signing art

prints. Sugarskull Cubone and Geo Swan are currently available, with Ghibli Tribute on the way (available for pre-order).

…..Also, yes, that’s a Pokéball next to a NAOHOA ball. 😀 My friend Simon rendered it for me when I was obsessed with Pokémon GO and wanted to do some themed prints/tattoos.

I also had a really lovely time getting to know some of the stall-owners, such as Gwen Davies, who let me have a go at henna for the first time (and sells gorgeous earrings!).

Overall, it was a fab weekend. I was pretty anxious leading up to it, but people were super lovely and it was completely worth doing. Now to sign up for more~ 😘

 

Thanks for reading!
Naomi xxx

 

 

 


Ghibli Tribute

Any Ghibli fans here? 😀 This is something I started with the intention of selling at the Film & Comic Convention (Cardiff), but it ended up being quite detailed and I wanted to spend more time on it.

Here’s how it’s looking so far:

Can you spot which films are referenced?

I’ll post updates on here, but if you wanna see them live, best follow my Stories on Instagram! (@naohoa)

Until next time. ^_^
Naomi xxx


Cardiff Film & Comic Convention 2018

Drawing by Naomi Hoang of the NAOHOA Team for Film & Comic Convention Cardiff 2018

Hey all!!

This year I’ll be doing my first ever Comic Con, where I’ll be available all weekend to meet and greet anyone who wants to talk tattoos. More often than not, it’s nice to meet the artist beforehand and build a rapport before getting inked, and that’s exactly why I’ll be around. 🙂Drawing of a cute character knocking over a transformer toy, drawn by Naomi Hoang (Illustrator & Tattoo Artist, NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos, Cardiff, Wales, UK).

Alongside general chatter, I’ll also be taking requests to draw cute comic-style characters for sale. Want a self portrait or fun scenario of you and your friends? Maybe it’s your buddy’s birthday soon and you’d like to get them something special…check out my stall to buy art prints, tattoo Gift Certificates and one-off custom-drawn sketches!

Zan and I will be at the stall the whole time, whilst Aleks and Mike will be roaming around the venue talking to people about what it’s like to get inked at NAOHOA. If you can’t find me but spot them on your travels, ask them to guide you to the stall. 🙂

If I can’t finish your sketch in time for the weekend because people wanna talk ink, I’ll post it to you for free!

Until then~ 😁
Naomi xxx


Queen’s Arcade (Nov 2017)

On Saturday 18th November, I had a stall at Queen’s Arcade, Cardiff. I had a fun time chatting to people who were please to discover an alternative tattoo studio! Here’s an intro vid I did in the morning:

…unfortunately, I couldn’t broadcast it as a Facebook Live ’cause signal. was. so. bad. I did get it on FB eventually and things got busier for me later in the afternoon.

My annual Chinese New Year cards can be bought on eBay: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/162778147739

Here are more snaps from the day. I might be doing more, so if you see me around, please come say hi! ^_^


Making of…Geo Swan

Helloooo!

A few weeks ago, I asked a bunch of people what I should draw and two requests involved, “Something geometric”, and “Ooooo a swan”…so I put the two together and drew this. 🙂

I started by drawing a rough sketch of the design, then scanned, darkened and blew it up to use as a template. I tend to draw really, really lightly, so it’s hard to see the original in photos/videos. After that, I simply inked in the geo aspects first, then sketched in the rest with pencil. I used a photo found via Google Images for reference of the swan and made up the rest.

This design is available to buy from my Art Rookie store as prints and greeting cards. I have some more designs on there and will be building on it over time, so be sure to check by for new pieces!

….What should I draw next? 😀

Naomi xxx


The Color Festival 2016

Great News, Everyone!

I’ll be at The Color Festival, Cardiff!! If you fancy some face paint or tattoo transfers whilst dancing to some sweet beats, swing by NAOHOA’s stall to get your fix. 😀

I’ll be there all day with my lovely helpers, so even if I’m busy talking to someone about real ink, there will always be someone around to see to you. Obviously, big music festivals aren’t the most relaxing or sterile of environments, so we’ll only be doing temporary tattoos on the day.

Right now, I’m drawing up some Pokémon designs but will have some more non-nerdy ones available on the day at varying sizes and prices.

 

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* Stay Tuned for Updates on Designs & Services *

I’ll be around all day, so if you’d like to discuss tattoos with me, please do. You can book and pay Consultations, which we’ll have after the festival when alcohol isn’t at play! 😛

All of the designs will be available to have tattooed however, as soon as one has been reserved, no one else can have it. NAOHOA stands true to being bespoke. To keep a design, you’ll need to pay a Reservation Fee upfront to secure it. The fee will vary depending on the size and duration you’d like to reserve it for.

 

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Competition & Prizes

 

Twitter

The most retweets of your selfie donning NAOHOA temp. ink.

T&C’s:
  • Your post MUST include: Photo selfie clearly showing your temporary tattoo, #TCFtattoo and tag @_naohoa
  • Applicants must be 18 years or older.
  • Follow us on Twitter.

If these requirements are not met, you will not qualify for the competition.

 

FacebookNAOHOA Prize

The most ‘likes’ of your selfie donning NAOHOA temp. ink.

T&C’s:
  • Your post MUST include: Photo selfie clearly showing your temporary tattoo, #TCFtattoo and tag @NAOHOA
  • Applicants must be 18 years or older.
  • Like our Page.

If these requirements are not met, you will not qualify for the competition.

 

Prizes

A free Consultation and one hour of tattooing at NAOHOA!
ONE winner from EACH account will be selected on Sunday 28th August at 6pm, then announced soon afterwards.

 

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Cheers for reading and see you there!

Naomi xxx


Pokémon GO Tattoos

NAOHOA-branded ball next to a Pokéball

Designed by Naomi Hoang, executed by Simon Vickers.

Hey all,

Is anyone else obsessed with this game?! I grew up with Pokémon and worked in gaming so you may know that I’m pretty into GO – especially if you’ve been following my personal account on Twitter.

Initial Designs

Many moons ago, I re-designed some members of my original team from the Blue days and honestly, it would be a blast to do something like this again.

 

What’s your favourite Pokémon?

Would you want to get it tattooed? Or simply have an original sketch/digital print of your own? Email me at info [at] naohoa.com if you’re interested in having a bespoke Pokémon illustration/tattoo of your own in an art style you prefer.

 

Rapidash Re-design. My go-to art style when painting is realistic, but I’m not restricted to this.

Interested?

Follow me on social media to see updates on new designs!

Follow me on social media to see updates on new designs!

Prices will vary depending on what you’d like, so let’s start a conversation and take it from there. 🙂

I’ll be posting updates of my own designs as I go along, which will be made available to clients. Once chosen, they will be taken off the market, so nobody from NAOHOA will have the same tattoo as you!

Kind regards,
Naomi xxx