Trinity: What first sparked your interest in tattooing and piercing?

Julie:It all started when I got my first tattoo back in ’96. Within a year, I was already getting my 10th It wasn’t long before I started dating an artist that started teaching me how to craft needles, pierce hoops and everything I needed to know on how to tattoo and pierce. I started tattooing and piercing in ’97. At the time, the tattoo artist was also the body piercer so that’s why I was doing both. Personally, I didn’t like body piercing. It’s not that I wasn’t good at it! It’s just that usually the person you’re piercing is the one that’s dizzy but in my case, it was the opposite. The client was the one asking me if I was ok. I didn’t come off too professional!

T: Why did you want to learn to tattoo and pierce, instead of just being a collector?

J: I always loved drawing and it felt natural to me. At the time, we were tattooing mostly “flash” and since I’m really good at copying, I felt it was the perfect job for me. My favourite work was covering up other bad tattoos because it was always a challenge.

trinity booth at the toronto tattoo convention

T: You’ve been working in the industry since 1997 — what are some of the biggest changes (for better or worse) you’ve seen over the last 20 years?

J: In the past 20 years, there has been so much progress in the industry that I find it truly amazing. Not only have the quality and variety of products used for tattooing and piercing changed for the better but the artists have changed too. 20 years ago, this industry felt more like a competition rather than a community. Nowadays, artists share their work with each other and truly respect one another (which was not all that common 20 years ago). This whole industry changed due to the amount of amazing artists we have now. It’s because of their talent that tattoos are now considered as art.

T: Is there anything about the industry in 2016 you’d change? How about something that’s better now than it has ever been?

J: Something that is better now than ever before is definitely the growth of the industry. With the artists opening up to each other and sharing their techniques and skills, I believe this is allowing the industry to evolve at a faster pace. There are so many artists that possess that passion that allows them to take art to the next level. Because of the amount of talent that’s out there, more clients are open to having a real piece of art on their bodies rather than something that was copied. However, one thing that I’m currently fighting to change is the education for both artists and clients. As we are now becoming a profitable industry, there are more suppliers producing tattoo and piercing supplies of low quality. I still see plenty of pre-sterilized goods that are in fact not sterilised properly or even products that are advertised as “Canadian Health Board Approved” when the health board never actually approved them. This is the main reason we decided to launch a community section on our website. Truth is, there are still plenty of people who still don’t know that we are one of the only two suppliers that really hold a Canadian Health Board License. Freaky right?

original top down view of trinity warehouse

T: You founded Trinity in 2002 — what inspired you to open a business supplying the Canadian tattoo and piercing industries?

J: At the time, suppliers of tattoo equipment were rare and as for body jewelry, that part of the industry was just starting off. I’ve always considered this industry my family and I wanted to help in the way I knew how. I truly believed that the artists and piercers deserved better products and service and with my tattoo and piercing background, I had insight on what this industry needed to make it better. I’ve always seen myself as more of an agent representing the artists so I took it upon myself to get the best supplies for the best price and making sure the manufacturers apply warranties to their products.

T: Did you have to give up tattooing/piercing to pursue this dream?

J: During the time I was tattooing, I had a hard time dealing with clients that would move around and complain. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the patience for it and for that reason I stopped. I do miss it however. Creating permanent art is something I’ve always been very passionate about.

image of julie on the show les dragons

T: Did you face any major obstacles when starting Trinity? What was the biggest lesson you learned along the way?

J: I face obstacles on a daily basis. I must admit, it’s sometimes a bit difficult trying to keep up with the growing demand but I’m more than honoured that more and more artists are putting their trust in us. Being in the tattoo industry makes bankers very nervous so getting funding for our growing demand is unfortunately very difficult but I continue to try my very best for my clients. Even with all the obstacles thrown our way, I believe my passion and drive will always get us to the other side. I might just be the most optimistic person on earth! I learned that falling down and making mistakes is sometimes necessary because we grow so much through that, as a person and as a company. I’m not promising anyone that I’ll ever be close to perfection one day but I do promise to continue doing my very best for them. I have the utmost respect for every one of my clients and will always make the effort to go above and beyond for them.

T: What do you hope to do for the industry with Trinity?

J: I really want artists and piercers to know that we are here for them. As we are always working to improve, it’s very important for me that the industry workers feel free to let us know what they want in a supplier, how we can improve in order to be the very best for them and if there are any products they would prefer. Sometimes changes take time if it’s done properly so we truly appreciate everyone’s patience. With that said, I truly believe that Trinity is making its mark on our community by making sure products conform to regulations and are safe to use. We are and always will be pursuing our mission to redefine greatness.

T: What’s the best thing about the Canadian tattoo and piercing community?

J: I believe the best thing about the Canadian tattoo and piercing community is the people in it. This has been my family since I was a teenager and I’m proud to say that they are the reason for who I am today. They are my family, the people I would do anything for. They accepted me with all my flaws and God knows I have a few! I have a tendency to cross lines and find myself unrestricted by normal social guidelines. Thanks to the community, I’m able to embrace these factors that make me who I am. Being different is what this community is all about. They gave me the confidence to accept that being different is awesome and for that, I’ll always be grateful.

T: Are you working on any new and exciting projects at the moment? What’s next?

J: There are always new projects being worked on. It’s safe to say there is a lot to come for Trinity in the near future but instead of spoiling the surprises, I’ll keep them a secret for a while longer! The most important thing I would like to say to everyone in the community is to say thank you! Thank you for allowing me to be who I am, thank you for trusting us, thank you for creating such amazing art, thank you for being who you are and simply thank you for everything!