Writer Matt Russell talks tattoos and shop with Simone Jane Piper. She is the co-owner of one of the coolest new ink parlours in town, Stay Much Better Tattoo.
Simone Jane Piper is a woman on a mission. Having had the opportunity to speak to this formidable, fashionable, and fascinating force it seems conformity wasn’t ever going to be in her wheelhouse.
Be it modelling, or a knack for exciting the outside world with high end designer 90s & 00s clothes via her business, Double Drop Vintage – this firebrand has now entered new pastures.
I had the pleasure to sit down with Miss Piper and her partner Tom Sorn, to discuss her newest venture Stay Much Better Tattoo.
With the first tattoo dating back to 3370 BC, it’s no wonder that what is regarded as one of the world’s earliest art forms, is still alive and thriving among those who want to express how they feel on the inside, on their outside.
When did your passion for tattoo artistry first ignite?
The first time I witnessed the tattooing technique of Tom, the founder of SMB Tattoo and also known as Mister Sorn, I was utterly captivated by his distinctive flair. Merging his graffiti roots with a singular lettering approach, Mister Sorn has inked numerous celebrities, including the international sensation, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man.”
Starting a business after such a fractious time in the current economic climate, what was it that made you take the leap?
It was a no-brainer for me and Tom to expand the tattoo studio. Tom has made a success of the SMB Tattoo street shop over the past seven years. SMB started as a hip hop collective with Mister Sorn being a graffiti writer and a designer of the crew. The musicians went on to achieve their own notoriety within High Focus Records. Those artists include Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Dirty Dike, Jam Baxter along with many other popular acts. Tom designed their artwork and merchandise SMB Tattoo carving out its own niche in the market and has proven a successful formula. And as the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding
What have been the aspects of your work that have got your heart pumping and put a smile on your face?
Just seeing our incredible dream come to fruition, and working alongside each other every day, doing what we genuinely love. We are truly blessed to have the most amazingly talented team here too. Plus, we have wonderful clients who we can’t thank enough for making up the SMB family. We are expanding every day.
You currently run Stay Much Better Tattoo with your partner, Tom. What are the positives of working alongside someone you’re enamoured with?
Making a future for ourselves doing what we love together. Creating the amazing culture and family that is SMB, it feels like a movement to me.
The new studio looks both ferociously beautiful and utterly individual. Was it designed by yourselves or did you have help in its development?
It was indeed, but we can in no way take all the credit for the unbelievable finish. We are bowled over by the generosity and support from our friends & family. To credit a few of the contributions:
Could you tell us a little about Double Drop Vintage?
Double Drop Vintage is comprised of me and Amy Mason. We are your dose of 90s & 00s high end designer vintage clothing and premium street wear. We hand pick designer brands including Moschino, Stone Island, Versace along with many other well-renowned brands. Not only can you browse and shop in SMB Tattoo studio but we are available for styling music videos and photo shoots too. We have styled music videos for celebrities including UK Hip Hop Legends Illaman, Dabbla, Dubbledge, Pitch 92. Our celebrity customers include the likes of Rag n Bone Man and Eliza Rose.
Do you feel there are any misconceptions in relation to the public’s perception of tattoos in general?
Actually, quite the opposite. The tattooing landscape has changed dramatically and it seems it’s far more accepting. Our ethos is that everyone should be able to express themselves however they want. Brighton is a city that prides itself on individuality. With it being such a pioneering place which celebrates and loves tattooing culture, we feel utterly at home here.
Even though you have several other ventures on your plate, what future aspirations do you hold for Stay Much Better Tattoo?
To continue shaking things up as best we can as we continue to expand the SMB Tattoo Family and our incredible client base.