photos courtesy of Koneko

Beauty

Koneko Studio Is a Vegan-Friendly Sanctuary and Tattoo Shop

From the edge of Deep Ellum, Linda Bishop wants to start a movement.

A vegan tattoo shop might sound redundant. Created with just a needle and ink, tattoos seem naturally vegan-friendly to begin with. But Linda Bishop’s Koneko, a sun-soaked studio on the outskirts of Deep Ellum, embraces the vegan lifestyle through and through. Yes, the ink is cruelty-free (some ink brands are, in fact, tested on animals or have animal products in them), but so are the ointments, the paper towels, the furniture, and even the single-use tools used in the shop. There’s also a retail section carefully stocked solely with vegan-approved bath and body products. “We’re giving people the opportunity to not have to do that research,” says Bishop. “They’re able to come in and know that everything we sell is vegan and cruelty-free.”

Koneko, which means “little cat” in Japanese, was a long time coming for Bishop. After 16 years in the industry, working in tattoo shops in Miami and Dallas, she was ready to do things her way. Bishop is straight-edge; she made the decision many years ago to not drink or do drugs. The environments at the tattoo shops she came up in were not always conducive to such a lifestyle. “I was just over the drugs and tattooing until three in the morning. Working in very reputable, very popular, but scummy places,” says Bishop. “I wanted to be able to open my own place and do everything myself.”

Koneko is the aesthetic opposite of what you might picture when you think of a tattoo shop. The window-lined studio has been completely painted white and is filled with house plants, tufted velvet sofas, high-end lifestyle products, and an incredibly chill French Bulldog named Ralph. Koneko’s roster includes five highly-trained artists, each specializing in microblading, piercings, and natural-looking eyelash extensions or cosmetic tattoos. Bishop is the only tattoo artist (though guests artists often drop by the studio), with clients flying in from Europe, Canada, and beyond for her unique, black designs. (Instagram, where Bishop currently has 132,000 followers, is a powerful portfolio.)

Linda Bishop (center) flanked by Koneko artists. | photo courtesy of @koneko-studio on Instagram

After nearly a year in business, Bishop is currently looking to open an online and brick-and-mortar shop to expand upon Koneko’s retail section, adding vegan clothing, belts, shoes, and bags in to the mix, and offering an easy entry for those interested in adopting a vegan lifestyle. But she’s most focused on the impact Koneko—a unique studio in Dallas certainly, but also nationally—could have on the industry. “I’ve already noticed other tattoo artists, lash artists, or piercers that I follow starting to promote vegan and cruelty-free services, even if their whole studio isn’t,” says Bishop. “We hope that we’re going to start a movement.”

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