Meg Melchert, owner of Ink’d & Classi, hopes to encourage every woman, no matter size, shape, style, ink’d, or not to sparkle a little brighter and live life without limits! Whether through positive apparel or cosmetic tattooing, she strives to inspire ladies to feel good in the skin they are in!
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I started my own business, because the Corporate America box just wasn’t for me! I traveled for work full time in the healthcare industry for roughly 12 years off and on… and I was miserable. I had the mindset “do what you gotta do to get where you want to be,” so I pushed myself and grew in that industry… but I was not happy!
It was literally sucking the fire from my soul. After lots of thought, my sister and I started a small silk screening business on the side to keep our creativity flowing. One day, a customer said to me in passing, “Meg, you really should put your positive outlook to use and make some positive graphic tees.”
AND HERE I AM.
As my positive apparel line grew, the need for a female cosmetic makeup artist at my husband’s tattoo shop became something we could not ignore. As of August 2017, we expanded the Ink’d & Classi brand to permanent cosmetic makeup.
Tell us about your business.
At Ink’d & Classi I hope to encourage every woman, no matter size, shape, style, ink’d, or not to sparkle a little brighter and live life without limits! A positive attitude is everything! I create each and every design and individually hand press every item to ensure uniqueness and perfection! From designing, to silk pressing, tagging, shipping, and thank you’s, its all a labor of love!
We finalized our trademark in 2014. I became a licensed tattoo artist in October 2017 with certification in Micro Blading, eyeliner, and lip liner.
Where is your business based?
The production line for Ink’d & Classi is on our private property. We have a large shop on our quiet country acreage where everything is hand pressed, hand tagged, and packaged with love in Bates City, MO., right outside of Kansas City, MO. Our tattoo shop is in Independence, MO.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
When I was laid off in 2014, it was time to take my hobby business more seriously. I enrolled in a budding entrepreneur class at the Kauffman Foundation here in Kansas City, a partnership with University of Missouri at Kansas City.
I found business mentors, I read books, so so so many books. And to be totally honest, I was flying by the seat of my pants – learning as I went, getting up every time I was knocked down, and celebrating even the smallest victory.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Getting out in the public! Talking to people at local markets, fairs, festivals, knocking on the doors of any small boutique I could find. Living by my mission statement has been critical. “At Ink’d & Classi we hope to encourage every woman, no matter size, shape, style, ink’d, or not to sparkle a little brighter and live life without limits!” You have to be your brand.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Finances and being able to turn off work. How far into debt to get? How much should my family and friends sacrifice? I am the ultimate work-a-holic, and with a small budding business every penny and second is spoken for.
I have a hard time shutting off my work brain and genuinely being present in the moments with my family and friends. I am always thinking about what I should have gotten done, need to do, and what will done tomorrow.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I haven’t. It’s still a challenge. The biggest positive change is moving the business from my in home attached garage to the new shop on our property. I can walk out the door now and “go to work” and just the same “go home” from work and it will all be there tomorrow.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I am a firm believer that the energy you put out is the energy you will receive.
A positive attitude can get you through anything!
I also find that when I don’t make time for myself it is easier for me to get overwhelmed and lose focus. I make time to hit the gym with my husband and read. It is important to my physical and mental well being.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
Ink’d & Classi graphic tees are still hand done from start to finish. We do not have automatic presses or automatic taggers. This sets me apart, because I believe it shows the value of the artistry that goes into what we do. In regards to my cosmetic tattooing, it’s about listening and building relationships with my clients.
After watching and helping my husband in his shop for 15 years, it is the most important part of what we do. It is about giving our clients our best with every session. It is about giving the ladies who wear my line and sit in my chair that boost of confidence they needed for whatever reason in that moment.
For me, it is the best part of what I do! Making women no matter their size, shape, age, or profession feel the absolute best about the skin they are in!
What is the best advice you have received recently?
My grandmother is 94. She said to me a few months ago during our weekly phone date, “Honey, take the risk or miss the chance.” Words to live by.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Slow down. Have a plan. If plan A doesn’t work, it’s ok. Use plan X if you have to. You can always change the plan but never lose sight of your goal.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
I am still able to fall back on my mentor at the Kauffman Foundation when needed. But the most beneficial resources are other small business owners. I am not shy. I ask, I reach out for help, and I give back when I can. The best place to get advise is from someone who has survived it 🙂
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“You Are A Bad Ass at Making Money” by Jen Sincero.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I have recently shifted to a new financial analyst who is finding gaps in my book keeping skills. The finance management is the biggest hurdle for me.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I would like to increase my website sales and am currently exploring new avenues to increase traffic.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.