In the last four months, Hamptons, Ink.—Sag Harbor’s first tattoo and permanent makeup shop—has opened, closed due to COVID-19 and reopened its doors to the community.
After getting married one year ago, NYC tattoo artists Mike and Kat Maldonado planned to move to Long Island to be closer to Kat’s family. When they resolved to plant their roots, the allure of the Sag Harbor community was too strong to resist. “We’ve always visited here,” Mike says. “Being from the city, it was a whole different environment for me, and I love the fact that people knew each other and were involved in community events… It was the beauty and the people that drew us out here.”
The grand opening of Hamptons, Ink. was on March 1, and Mike reports that at that time he had bookings scheduled through the entire month. “Being the only tattoo shop, we felt we would meet some resistance, but everyone’s been pretty inviting and surprisingly positive that we’re out here.”
Then, only two weeks later, the shop was forced to close due to COVID-19, a devastating blow to any young business. “We fortunately have a really great landlord and were able to have a dialogue with her. We worked something out, but it’s still a struggle,” Kat explains, adding that they had applied for a small business loan to help pay rent and were denied for lacking a “great enough loss.” The silver lining, the Maldonados note, was that more than 40 people messaged them to get on the list for tattoos when the shop reopened, and others reached out just to check on how the couple were doing amidst the pandemic. “That’s why we want to be here, honestly, because the community is so great,” Kat says. “And we really want to be involved as much as possible.”
After several difficult months, Hamptons, Ink. reopened as part of NY Forward’s Phase 3. While piercings and lip blush, two of the shop’s services, are currently still not allowed in New York, Mike has been able to resume taking tattoo appointments, and Kat is microblading eyebrows once more. Safety measures have been increased during this time—with clients keeping their mask on throughout their appointment, temperatures being taken at the door and only one guest being allowed to attend a session. Mike and Kat also wear additional coverings, including a mask, face shield/goggles, an apron and long surgical sleeves. “Even before COVID-19, our levels of cleanliness and disinfection were high to meet Board of Health standards,” Mike clarifies. “I think the tattoo shop is one of the safest places to be during the pandemic.” Kat explains that tattoo artists are trained in infectious disease control during their licensing program, so many of the COVID-19 safety regulations are fairly standard. “Our entire life is based upon not infecting people and [avoiding] cross-contamination,” she says.
Between Kat’s transformative eyebrow microblading and Mike’s masterful tattoos, Hamptons, Ink. is providing Sag Harborites with exciting services that are few and far between on the East End. “There’s no tattoo that’s too wild for me… Whatever the client wants, we work together to make it happen,” Mike says, clarifying that he will offer his “ethical two cents” when asked to do face tattoos and offensive designs.
In addition to being a tattoo shop, Hamptons, Ink. is a studio for artists, where featured creators are able to work, display their finished pieces and sell their artwork. Currently, the walls are adorned with photos by Montauk photographer James Katsipis. “Sag Harbor is a place where all types of artists—from poets to painters to musicians—flock. [Tattooing] is a form of artistry, and when clients come in, they’re a part of that artistry,” Kat says. “Even though [a tattoo shop] hasn’t been here before, this is where artists thrive, so I think it’s perfect!”
To view the full list of Hamptons, Ink. safety considerations, to browse featured tattoo designs or to schedule an appointment for tattooing or microblading, visit hamptons-ink.com.