North Texas Daily

New shop creates inclusive environment for Denton tattoo enthusiasts

New shop creates inclusive environment for Denton tattoo enthusiasts

New shop creates inclusive environment for Denton tattoo enthusiasts
July 01
09:00 2021

Tucked behind Golden Boy Coffee Co. is Golden Girl Tattoo Parlor, a new tattoo shop that opened June 17. 

As Denton’s only female-owned tattoo shop, Golden Girl Tattoo Parlor is a body-positive and LGBTQ+ friendly store located at 1805 N. Elm St. 

Golden Girl came to fruition when Nina Kauffman, a Denton tattoo artist, received a call from an old coworker who told her Golden Boy Coffee Co. was investing in artists and wanted to open an inclusive tattoo shop. Golden Girl Tattoo Parlor would become the newest addition to the “Golden Enterprise” comprised of Golden Boy Coffee Co. and the new Golden Room. 

“I just realized there are two things I want in life,” said Nina Kauffman, owner of Golden Girl Tattoo Parlor. “I want to be able to help people and want to be able to create art.” 

As a child, Kauffman became interested in art through anime. She said she recalls watching Naruto and thinking she wanted to recreate the art seen in the show. 

Kauffman received a full-ride scholarship to UNT for forensic chemistry after high school. Teachers told Kauffman that not pursuing a career in STEM would be wasting her potential, so her initial plan was to become a geneticist. After a year of school, Kauffman knew that forensic chemistry was not what she wanted to do. 

“Just because you’re good at a thing, doesn’t mean you have to do it for life,” Kauffman said. “[Science] is not my calling.” 

When her interest in tattooing sparked at 19, Kauffman knew she had little experience in the tattoo world.

“I literally Googled how to become a tattoo artist,” Kauffman said. “I had no tattoos, had never been into a tattoo shop in my life, but I knew that’s what I wanted to do.” 

After starting an apprenticeship at a street shop, Kauffman discovered that men largely dominated the tattoo industry. Kauffman said she found it difficult to work in an environment where she did not feel welcome but did not allow it to stop her. 

“I would cry every day, but I still came back the next day,” Kauffman said. 

After working in street shops for three years, Kauffman craved to create a space where clients felt comfortable and safe. 

Kauffman often has clients come in who are embarrassed about their tattoo ideas. She said while explaining their vision, they already feel the need to make excuses and trivialize the art they want.

“It’s not dumb,” Kauffman said. “That’s your idea. That’s what you find beautiful or something that you want to keep with you your whole life.” 

Kauffman’s receptiveness towards her clients has them returning multiple times. 32-year-old Denton resident Andrew Kisielweski was recommended to Kauffman by a friend and has now gone back four times to get a tattoo from her. 

“She’s insanely talented, first of all,” Kisielewski said. “She’s also calm and peaceful and nice to get tattoos with.” 

Colin Lush, Kauffman’s quasi-receptionist and friend of six years, said Kauffman has established a safe and inclusive space for everyone. 

“I really feel like what [Kauffman] does is a great service to the community,” Lush said. “She gets to do what she loves and makes people feel confident in their skin.”

Making people feel like their best selves through her art is one of the most rewarding aspects of tattooing for Kauffman. 

“My favorite part about tattooing is when someone looks in the mirror and they see the tattoo and they say, ‘Oh, I love it,” or ‘It looks so cool,’” Kauffman said. “To them, they’re looking at the tattoo. I’m seeing someone compliment themselves because it’s them — it’s their skin.”

Featured Image: Golden Girl Tattoo Parlor owner Nina Kauffman tattoos client Andrew Kisielewski on June 26, 2021. Image by Zach Thomas 

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Hannah Johnson

Hannah Johnson

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