PHILADELPHIA, PA—On a recent visit to the City of Brotherly Love, I came across a beautiful storefront that stood out compared to the other shops on South Fourth Street in Philadelphia. The place had Hawaiian décor that can lure anybody in out of mere curiosity. And it sure as hell lured me in hook-line-and-sinker. As luck would have it, it was a tattoo shop! I guess the big letters above the door that read ‘No Ka Oi Tiki Tattoo’ should’ve been a dead giveaway, huh? So, I walked in wanting to see more.
Walking into the shop made me feel like I was transported to the Hawaii. This was getting very cool! I started to ask questions to learn a little bit more about the shop. I didn’t tell anybody that I wrote for a newspaper because I wanted to investigate as if I was the customer; this way I can really see how I would be treated. And in keeping that West Coast vibe of the shop, everyone was very cool.
Here’s what I learned about No Ka Oi: the shop was opened in April 2002 by a young woman from Hawaii who fell in love with a man from Philadelphia. After a slew of visits overseas, the two knew that their love was meant to be. The girl, who was not willing to give up her Hawaiian home decided to create an island of her own and would open it in Philadelphia. That girl is No Ka Oi owner and tattoo artist Anna Paige. She told me that “No Ka Oi” translates to the Hawaiian words ‘The Very Best’, and so far the presentation of the shop seems to be the ‘very best’ that I’ve seen yet.
No Ka Oi is a specialty tattoo and body piercing shop that houses numerous resident artists like Anna. Guest artists from all over the world come to shop to tattoo every now and then, because of the relationship that Anna has made through her years of tattooing.
When I asked Anna why I would chose No Ka Oi for my next tattoo, she said that No Ka Oi is not just your ordinary tattoo shop because they provide a comfortable, clean and spa-like atmosphere. She also said that they strive to create a more open and inviting experience with their pleasant and knowledgeable staff. No Ka Oi carries only the best quality body jewelry and is home to award-winning artists from all over the world. Anna also said that all of her artists are licensed through the City of Philadelphia, and maintain rigorous training in regards to public safety. They work closely with the Department of Health in helping to maintain high standards within the tattoo industry.
At No Ka Oi, no one under the age of 16 is permitted in the shop, and you must be 18 years of age with a valid driver’s license to get tattooed. Anna tells me walk-ins are welcome, but if you’re going to walk in, it’s best to do it during the week as the weekends get booked quickly with appointments. Her friendly sales staff is there all day for consultations for tattooing and body piercing, but she also asks for clients to come in with an open mind.
For instance, if somebody comes in with an idea for a tattoo, the client should know that the piece won’t look exactly like the idea they brought in, and they should keep an open mind to the piece looking differently at the end. She also made sure that I mentioned that No Ka Oi will not do any facial tattooing!
The pricing at No Ka Oi seemed pretty comparable to most of the shops that I’ve already written about. There was nothing drastically different. If you are ever in Philly though, this shop is a must see. When I was there, not only was it immaculate, but you really don’t feel like your even on the East Coast! If you want to take a look at the shop, you can do so online at nokaoitikitattoo.com. If you are in Philadelphia and want to check this beautiful shop out, you won’t be able to miss it. They are located at 610 South Fourth Street, Philadelphia, PA, or if you’d like to call them for pricing or to make an appointment, you can call the shop at (267) 321-0357.
Well, I’m off to check out my next tattoo spot! Who knows what state it will be in! If you have a tattoo shop that you want to suggest, please e-mail me the name of the place and whom I should ask for at firstname.lastname@example.org.