In a time when a lot of industries have struggled, here’s one that has grown by 35 to 40 percent in the last five years. 

In 2005, Missouri had 817 people licensed to do tattoos, body piercings, and branding.  By last April, the state had licensed 1120 people to do those things…

In 2005, Missouri licensed 227 establishments.  By last April the number was up to 308. Executive Director Vanessa Beauchamp says the Office of Tattooing, Body Piercing, and Branding says the office has seen a steady increase of licensing every year.

She has five inspectors who check on those businesses to make sure the needles are clean, that the autoclaves properly sterilize the instruments, and that piercings are done with stainless steel or 14 karat white or yellow gold. 

Beauchamp says her office sometimes gets complaints about the quality of the work. But judging the quality of work is not her job.  She says what looks awful to one person might look fine to her. 

 Vanessa Beauchamp & Bob Priddy talk tattoo 12:43 mp3