Please Introduce Yourself
So I’m Cassie Richards. I have ran/owned Belleza Laser tattoo Removal now for eight years. I started off in tattoo studios, then had a studio of my own, and now I’m back in a tattoo studio. Due to relocating, obviously Covid, et cetera, and redeveloping, I had to move again.
How did you get started in the Industry?
Cassie: Okay, so I started doing admin in a tattoo studio as sort of, you know, like reception and admin-based sorts of things. And weirdly one day, I sat there and thought, is there anyone around this area who offers tattoo removal? And I realized there was only one in the whole of South Somerset at that point.
So I thought, well, I could do that. Why, why couldn’t I do that? So, I did my research and sort of looked into it. And then I, when I say I did my research, I went fully in with the research <laugh> to see if it was something that I’d be interested in, and I kind of started it, and it’s just grown from there. And I think I just kind of found my niche and went from there.
Could you tell me more about your Studio? How did you come to that point?
Cassie: Yeah, of course. So I was working in the tattoo studio, um, and then I kind of realized that the room I was working from was quite small, and it was kind of stunting what I wanted to do really. So then a whole sort of unit become available at the bottom of town. So I went down there and spoke to the owner with one of my friends who did Semi-Permanent Makeup. So what we did was refurbished the shop, did it all up ourselves, and then I had over four years. Cause I was at the Tattoo studio for a year, so I was down there for four years. The girl that I entered it with went on to do other things. And then I had someone doing nails and someone doing extensions, hence the name Belleza, which is obviously Spanish or Italian for beauty, which is why it’s stayed the same.
But yeah, we had all manner of things down there and due to Covid they were redeveloping and turning it all into flats. So that is why I had to kind of close my own venture and then go into a lovely team at Invictus Ink, which I am extremely grateful for. And you know, they’ve all welcomed me with open arms, and I’m still allowed to run my own business and be myself there. But it’s also nice to work with other people that are like-minded as well. So that’s kind of the evolution of it.
Dawn: It sounds brilliant. And I previously spoke to a tattoo studio owner, and she was on about possibly doing removals and that sort of thing. And she’s saying actually, you know, really tattoo laser removal and tattoos should probably work more hand in hand. It shouldn’t be like enemies when you can both work to strengths and actually help improve, you know, especially if you’re trying to do a coverup tattoo, it’d actually be better if it was lighter than that’s, you know, that’s exactly the case, doing it over. That’s why it works.
Cassie: But that’s why it works so well because it’s one of those where if I have clients that come in from elsewhere that are removing tattoos, I can then recommend depending on what style they want to cover it with if they prefer a female artist, I mean, by July I think we’re gonna have six artists there and me. So it kind of, yeah, it’s all manner of styles and sort of talents. And it works. I don’t think it works as well if they’ve just done a tattoo and then someone came to me and asked to remove it, which never has happened by the way. But <laugh>, it doesn’t tend to be that, that case, you know, but it’s yeah, it’s one of those that it is definitely an industry where removalists and tattoo artists can actually work together and help each other with clients. That does really, really help.
What would you say are the most common misconceptions about Laser Tattoo removals?
Cassie: There’s an awful lot of sort of different things that people have heard from, from friends and people that have had tattoo removal maybe elsewhere and not getting the results that they want. And it may just be cause that they have not been explained sort of the whole process correctly, so they think it won’t, will go quicker. They think that you have one session and it’s gone. Which is not the case. They also think a lot of people do come into me. I obviously in my patch test and consultations, people explain a lot of the time what they’ve heard or what they’ve maybe researched on Google. And I always say to people, please, please, please do your research on Google, but take some of it with a pinch of salt because some of it is, you know, sort of threads of people that don’t work in the industry and, and they don’t really understand.
So I’d say the top one is probably that it scars really badly, that it’s gonna damage your skin and you it you’ll be able to see it. And I mean in my experience, tattoo removal does not scar or leave mark if done gently and properly. Um, if you look at the person’s skin type, you, what I tend to do is point out to people if there are any previous marks from the tattoo that they had before. So, you know, like, um, drag marks from the needle and stuff, I tend to point that out just to say you will have a mark here, you will have a mark here and just sort of circle it all for them so they can see. Um, but yeah, the, the only reason tattoo removal scars, um, is if the aftercare is not followed, if people pick it or if the technician is not doing their job properly and the machine is up to you high and it, it is a, it is a burn at the end of the day, so it, it will do that.
Cassie: But no, as it’s, it’s all person to dependant, and it’s how your body breaks down the ink, and it’s all to do with your immune system. So there’s no way it should scar if it is sort of everything else is taken into account. Mm-hmm. Um, another thing, certain colours I think is another one that people have heard. Um, a lot of people have heard that red is really difficult. Maybe 15 years ago, when it first started and everyone was using, ruby lasers, which obviously is completely different to now. I mean now the colours that you find, it’s not impossible. Like royal blue and sort of really bright greens are normally quite difficult with and lasers, so the laser that I currently use. So I always point that out to people as well that it may be something if they aren’t covering, they may be left with sort of a pale blue, a tiny little bit on their arm, which most people don’t tend to mind as long as you explain it to them.
I’m trying to think if there’s anything else, um, that you can’t tattoo over it, which is mostly, I’d say in 2023, the reason that people get them faded down in the first place. Most people don’t want full removal anymore. Um, it tends to be that you sort of do a handful of sessions, and that is enough for the artist to cover it with something they want, not just something that will, will cover the tattoo just to cover it. And it ends up being a big black wear <laugh> over whatever they have. So it does make it a lot easier, but people say you can’t tattoo over it because it’s scars. So all these things go hand in hand with obviously the, the scarring and the colours and yeah, it all tends to tie together. But I will say, um, Google has a lot to answer for <laugh> when it comes to stuff like that. It really does.
Dawn: I think it’s that, and like you’re saying as well, I think a lot of the information is very outdated or like, you know, previous machines that weren’t necessarily up to the task completely, but have been improved upon since then. So I think, you know, if anyone has any questions that’s listening to the podcast, maybe uh, speak to someone that you’re thinking of going to first and, you know, pick their brains on it or they’ve probably got an FAQ page and go that way instead of, uh, searching through the backend of Google.
Cassie: Absolutely. I’d rather people ask me, I always say patch test, if you go away and don’t understand anything I say because it is kind of, you fire a lot of information, how it works, what it’s gonna do, blah, it’s, it’s a lot. And especially when you’re nervous, you’re not gonna take it in mm-hmm. So I do say to people any questions, even if you feel they are silly, ask me. It, it, no question is silly, don’t go googling and, and scaring yourself because a lot of um, a lot of stuff on Google, you know, if you Googled a picture of tattoo removal, it’s blistered and scarred and it just puts people off. It really, really does. So yeah, you find a lot of people do come in very, very nervous because they have Googled, which is <laugh> not the best thing to do, unfortunately.
So you said you do Carbon Facials as well. What’s that all about?
Cassie: Okay. I do, and I genuinely wish that I could do them on myself, but due to the fact that you have to wear blackout goggles, I couldn’t physically do that for myself. Um, so with carbon facials, to put it bluntly, it is just a deep clean for your face. So it does even help the skin tone. It does help with, you know, like post-acne discolouration, um, any acne scarring and stuff where it hits the collagen as it’s laser. Yeah. It does kind of plump the skin a bit and brighten the skin up. If you do have any sunspots and age spots, it tends to sort of even up the skin tone with that as well. But when I say deep clean, the main thing that it does is it clears off all the dead skin cells that are sat on the super, um, superficial epidermal layer.
So all on the top of your skin where all the pollution sits and all the dead skin cells sits, what tends to happen is it will just take that off. So it’s really, really beneficial for people that have oily skin, where people find, where they apply makeup and then it like sort of melts off their face throughout the day if they have oily skin. I have a lot of clients who will have the carbon facial and their face, it still produces the sebum and the oils that are, it won’t dry your face out, but it will still produce that. But it will actually control it a lot more. So people tend to find their face is a lot more mapped if I so to speak, for about four, five weeks and then they know when they do another one. But the thing with the carbon facials is a lot of people worry they don’t hurt.
Cassie: It’s the same concept as tattoo removal. You do use the laser, but it’s a completely different filter. If someone has previously had tattoo removal and then they want to have the carbon facial, they think it’s going to feel the same. It’s not, the only thing with carbon facials is obviously you paint the carbon paste on it dries to the skin, that carbon paste is merely just to show the laser where we are lasering it kind of can pick up the skin a lot better than if you didn’t have it on there. I’d say the only downside to carbon facials is when you are lasering the carbon off, it’s the smell can be a bit uncomfortable. Other than that it doesn’t hurt. It just feels kind of like I’m tapping on your face, and it feels a little bit warm. It doesn’t sound the most relaxing, but it is so beneficial. And it is one of those where you get no scabs, no soreness on your face, no downtime. You can come in in your lunch break, have it done, be all sort of fresh for the rest of the day and, all you need to do afterwards is sort of no abrasive things. Um, I’m really selling it here, and I’m really jealous I can’t have one.
It is, they’re so good for your skin, but obviously with any facial, you do need to keep coming, whereas with this it’s sort of four to six weeks you can kind of come back and have another one. I’d normally leave it six just to be sure. But it’s good for all skin types. It’s good. Even if your skin’s a bit dry, it tends to even it out. So it’s very beneficial. It’s like just adding a new thing into your skincare routine is basically all it is. So yeah, it’s one of the best things that I do, and I find it, I find it just as interesting as tattoo removal, which is why I did the module to add it on to kind of offer something a bit different and more on the beauty side rather than tattoo removal is a bit more Tattoo industry, if that makes sense. They’re kind of both different. You’d class them as something different.
Dawn: No, you sold, you just sold it to me to be honest. That sounds great. I have natural oily skin, so that sounds like the most perfect treatment ever. And it’s really interesting that you were saying about like the less downtime as well.
You’ve had to do training to do Laser tattoo removal and the carbon facial. Could you tell me a bit more about that?
Cassie: Yes. So when I started, obviously I did my research and um, it’s one of those where I wanted to go with, um, a training company that would also support me even now, eight years later if I had any questions I didn’t want to just do. Um, which actually is, is, um, something that people can do. And as you work for an insurance company, you probably know, um, it is completely fine to do a half-day course and get a laser and do that. Um, which, which, you know, it’s regulated, that’s absolutely fine, but I did not want to do it. Like I wanted to do sort of my core of knowledge and some more sort of dermatology things alongside so that it gave me a bit more knowledge, um, on people’s skin type and on how to use the laser. And if it does one day it is, it’s a bit like a car if it does stop working to be able to kind of problem solve myself before I was, I was ringing.
So I, in the end I went with, um, intimate clinical. That was way back when still now I do do, um, add on extra modules and things like that if I feel there’s anything else I need to learn. Um, which right now I find that you, you do the training. So obviously I had a few months of doing the core of knowledge and then I did, um, sort of a few practical bits. I’d call them if I had any problems. Um, even like I said, even now there’s things that I see because obviously everyone from different walks of life that I feel like I need to sort of run it by maybe and ask, um, even though they turned say to me, you know, <laugh>, <laugh>, you know what you need to do. I’m just double-checking. But yeah, I, I went with them because I felt that they would fully support me and if I did have any questions, uh, no matter how long ago it was, uh, they also offer the extra modules as well.
Cassie: So that’s why I went with them. Um, it’s kind of like the long way of doing it, um, in, in order to start the business, but then it also, I feel makes you more knowledgeable in what you’re about to offer because lasering is, um, it’s, it’s dangerous. You, you could really hurt someone with it if you don’t know what you’re doing. Um, but it’s also one of those that you kind of, again, Google’s a good one, but it’s depends on the sort of person you are and how you learn, I suppose, based on what company you go with and how you want to learn the practical side of things as well as how things actually work. So yeah, that was, that was the one for me. I think it was. They’ve, they’ve uh, worked wonders. It’s been good.
Dawn: It’s great as well. But they give you support way after you’ve done like the main course as well because some people, yeah, you know, they’ll graduate but they still get a little bit nervous. They’re not quite sure of certain things or like new complications. Uh, we were speaking the other day that obviously people contracting covid is like, uh, their reaction to certain treatments are completely different or you know, they didn’t have one before, but now they do. And it’s always good just to have like a, a backup where you’ve got like the, the experts and you just double check on them. <laugh> just be like, you know, what happens if this, you know, I’m a bit worried they said they had covid like two weeks ago, <laugh>,
Cassie: That’s exactly it. So I think anyone who trained with them, they tend to send us emails on sort of new developments. Yeah. I tend to get emails about the Covid vaccination, after people had that, there were the same with hair dyes I think and a lot of aesthetic. It was, you can’t have it for a certain number of weeks after you’ve had the covid vaccination because people were reacting when they weren’t previously. And it tended to be clients that had had it within the last few weeks. But then we did get a sort of an email notification to say, because of the Covid vaccine, can we all make sure that we check on everyone, blah, blah blah. So they do update you with new technologies and if there are any new training courses available and say, oh, would you like to do this? Would you like to do this? If there are new reactions found, you know, sort of any allergic reactions based on a different medication, maybe they found they’ll send the name of the medication and sort of a newsletter so to speak, to let us all know, any sort of the new development. So if someone is on that medication, you are more mindful of what you are doing.
Do you have any advice for any of those looking to do laser Removal treatments?
Cassie: The first one again, research, research what you want to do, what your goal is, um, sort of the sort of service that you want to offer people will depend on what training you have. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, also medical forms, patch tests are a must. Don’t skip any of that because you know, people have to keep you upstate with medications they’re on and any neon illnesses they may have over time. Um, also keep updated with qualifications and the methods that people use because sometimes, you know, again, like I just said, new things will come out that you can maybe put into practice in your own business. Um, and also just the last thing, be patient and be professional. So like don’t, because it’s not a nice thing to sort of have done it, it is quite a painful process. You do get people that do struggle.
You just have to be really, really patient with people and just be kind because sometimes you, you do get people in that have tattoos for whatever reason, and it’s kind of like a healing process for them. So you’ve kind of been, people don’t think of this side of tattoo removal, but you’ve gotta be more compassionate for people and more empathetic about sort of why they’re removing it. It could be, you know, due to past relationships, marriages, children, there’s a lot of things that come with that. So sometimes you do end up sort of being a bit of a counselor, which I like doing because you end up helping people and it helps with people with self-confidence. So, it’s not just tattoo removal and that’s why I really enjoy what I do. But yeah, first and foremost, research qualifications and just be mindful that some people aren’t just coming to remove a tattoo.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Cassie: I’ve covered a massive range of stuff, so it’s, yeah, it’s one of those that, um, I think that’s about it. I mean it’s something that I just love doing, and I wouldn’t want to do anything else now. It’s sort of those that I really, really enjoy, and I’d like to add some more sort of notches to my belt, but I feel if you offer loads and loads and loads of treatments you can’t fully concentrate on the ones that you really, really want to be sort of the top app so to speak. So yeah, I probably will be adding a couple more treatments, um, soon.
So obviously, on my machine at present I can do mole removal and spider vein removal and help with birthmarks and scarring and stuff. So I have added a couple of those to my bow, but they are currently in, um, more strengths to my bow so to speak. Yeah, that’s the term. It’s one of those that, yeah, I’m starting to add them but I’m kind of trialing them at the moment, to see if they work enough for me to offer that out to people. Because obviously, I want everything to be exactly how it should be, um, for everyone else really. You obviously want it to be obviously as regulated and work as well as it possibly could for everyone. So there are new things coming <laugh> if people do list. So there are new things coming, but it’s just a case of trial and error at the moment just to see what works best.
Dawn: Well thank you so much for coming on today and spending time chatting with me.
Cassie: Yeah, thank you for having me on. It’s been a pleasure. I was a bit shocked to see the message, but no, I’m really pleased that I’ve met you, and I’m really pleased that I got to do this.