‘We wanted something different’: Cork friends open up unique city business

‘We wanted something different’: Cork friends open up unique city business

Emma Barber and Ceili O'Riordan, (aka Ceili Elizabeth) have set up The Ink Collective on Langford Row, Cork. Picture: Larry Cummins

"It's only been a few weeks, but it feels like home already."

Those were the words of Ceili O'Riordan, one of the co-founders of The Ink Collective, the new tattoo and beauty studio on Langford Row which has been going down a storm since opening last month.

Ceili, from Blackpool, is one half of the creative duo behind the new business, also founded by Emma Barber, who hails from Rochestown. 

Emma Barber and Ceili O'Riordan, (aka Ceili Elizabeth) have set up The Ink Collective on Langford Row, Cork. Picture: Larry Cummins
Emma Barber and Ceili O'Riordan, (aka Ceili Elizabeth) have set up The Ink Collective on Langford Row, Cork. Picture: Larry Cummins

At just 21 and 22 years old the pair, who met through mutual friends seven years ago, are putting a spin on the stereotypical tattoo studio. 

"It’s a tattoo and beauty studio - Ceili does fine line [tattoos] and Sophie does a bit of everything but she specialises in traditional [tattoos] but then we also do eyelash extensions and nails," Emma told The Echo

"We’re also showcasing local artists’ work in the studio and those pieces are all for sale.

"That’s what we wanted, that creative space aspect. We wanted something different from the mainstream tattoo studio," Ceili added. 

Tattoo artist Ceili Elizabeth at work at The Ink Collective on Langford Row, Cork. Picture: Larry Cummins
Tattoo artist Ceili Elizabeth at work at The Ink Collective on Langford Row, Cork. Picture: Larry Cummins

The Ink Collective is currently a team of five women but it isn't just for girls. 

"We have a lot of male clients as well," Emma said.

"We want it to feel like an inclusive space for everyone.

"We want everyone to feel comfortable and welcome here."

The pair say the dream of setting up their own business had been brewing for some time but that the pandemic prompted them to take a leap of faith. 

"We’d been toying with the idea for a while and bouncing ideas off each other. 

"I think during lockdown it just put things in perspective. I think we just knew it was the right thing to do. 

"We have each other and we have a really strong friendship – that helps a lot that we can lean on each other," Ceili said.

Emma Barber and nail artist Jodie Keohane at The Ink Collective on Langford Row, Cork. Picture: Larry Cummins
Emma Barber and nail artist Jodie Keohane at The Ink Collective on Langford Row, Cork. Picture: Larry Cummins

"It was a fairly quick turnaround time then when we decided to set it up. We just drove on.

"We are quite ambitious people so when the two of us bounce off each other it does make things happen fairly quickly."

Despite only opening their doors just a few weeks ago, business is booming at The Ink Collective.

Ceili, who started working in the tattoo industry at the age of 16, is booked out until September and the pair say they might one day look at expansion, if all goes to plan.

They expressed their gratitude for everyone who has helped them with their business venture thus far. 

"This place didn’t just happen by itself, we had people coming in and helping us, which we are so grateful for," Ceili said.

"Our landlord kind of took a chance on us and we’re also really grateful for that," Emma added.

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