ADDRESS: 110 S. Franklin St., Manchester, Iowa
HOURS: Open at 10 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Closing times vary.
MANCHESTER, Iowa — Nicole Thompson wants to leave her mark on you.
It could be a flower, a flag or a design of your choosing. That is, if you’ll come and see her at her tattoo parlor, Two Tigers Tattoo.
Located at 110 S. Franklin St. and open since Oct. 1, Two Tigers Tattoo is the only licensed place in Manchester to get some ink. Thompson said that played heavily into her decision to open.
“There wasn’t one in the area, and that’s helpful,” she said. “My kids and family had also been pestering me to get started. It was just the right time and the right location.”
Thompson has been a tattoo artist for more than three years. A talented artist, she said art and tattooing helped her through some tough times.
“I hit a hard patch a couple of years ago, and art was therapy for me,” she said. “It took my mind off what was going on around me. I began chasing tattoo art and moved back to Iowa three and a half years ago.”
Originally from the Sumner-Tripoli area, she is an Air Force veteran who spent 12 years in Japan, where she got her first tattoo.
“My first tattoo is actually how I came up with my name for the shop,” she said. “I have a tattoo on my lower back, with my name written in Kanji. The artist told me my name, Nicole, means two tigers running.”
She said she sees a broad spectrum of clients.
“I’ve seen people in their 70s and 80s get their first tattoo, and people in their 20s get something real whimsical and fun,” she said. “Others will get sentimental tattoos. There are no typical clients, but there are typical tattoos.”
Those typical tattoos are often infinity signs, flags and flowers.
“When someone comes in, I ask them where their heart and their mind are going,” she said. “Do they want something sentimental or something goofy? Most often, people start out getting tattoos on their bicep area. Anything on the arm is pretty typical. More go for the upper body than lower body.”
According to Thompson, someone’s first tattoo is often sentimental. “They might come out with siblings and get something family-oriented. Sometimes, someone has lost a loved one and wants something to remind them.”
Thompson has plans to bring in guest tattoo artists. She hopes to bring in one of her favorite artists from Oklahoma in early 2023.
She said she gets a lot of satisfaction from her work.
“I love that I can talk to people, then at other times just have my brain focus on what I am doing,” she said. “It’s therapeutic. I love seeing everyone smile and be happy with what they get. It’s a very personal experience, and I like that.”
Two Tigers Tattoo is open Tuesday through Saturday at 10 a.m., with varying closing times.