A New Take on Tattooing: Meet Brandy Peckham '18, Owner of PS by Brandy
Brandy Peckham '18 graduated from SUNY Corning Community College with an Associates Degree in Business Administration. Now, she's the owner of PS by Brandy, a tattoo studio that puts the community first. Brandy is a mother of three, a grandmother of one, and an ordained minister who often performs weddings in her tattoo studio.
What can you tell me about your time at SUNY CCC?
“In general, since I was older when I returned to school, it was definitely a challenge. But a good one. I got to meet a bunch of fun, exciting, diverse people. Overall, it was rewarding. I will be 42 next week, so going back to school was interesting. But, since my kids were older and having grandchildren, I had goals I wanted to accomplish and I wanted to finish my degree. My biggest goal was to open up my own business three years after graduation, but six months after graduating I opened up PS by Brandy and as of November 1st we will be two years old. So that’s very exciting, and studying Business Management at SUNY CCC helped me crush that goal.”
Do you have any fond memories of SUNY CCC that you can share?
“I had a lot of incredible professors. Dr. Robert Koble was one of my favorites, he was very straightforward, but wanted you to succeed and he did it in a fun way. Even though some of the material was difficult, Dr. Koble tried his best to get every student to relate to it on a level that made sense to them. My favorite memory of his class was going outside to watch the Lunar Eclipse in 2016 with our Eclipse glasses. I also enjoyed all the perks we had as students, like the discounted movie tickets and the Halloween events.”
Tell us about PS by Brandy.
“I grew up around tattooing all my life. I’ve seen a ton of horrible tattoos, and I worked at another shop where I wasn’t a fan of how things were run. I wanted to get rid of the cliche that tattoo shops are grungy and grimey. My studio is much more focused on our clients. We have televisions and Echos at each station to make our clients feel comfortable. We offer hot chocolate, coffee, tea and other things in order to help them fully relax. Our services include tattooing, permanent makeup, body piercing and mole/skin tag removal.”
What makes PS by Brandy unique to the area?
“We do a lot to try and give back to the community. Every year, there is a fishing derby in Elmira which we always donate to and offer face painting and temporary tattoos for the kids. On the 24th of October, we will be set up outside the KMart building in the KMart plaza handing out candy. We do a give-back for our clients, such as rewards and incentives. Most years we try to do a cookout for them, but unfortunately due to COVID we couldn’t this year. We know tattoos aren’t cheap, so anything that we can do to keep our clients happy and coming back, we will do. Additionally, we do a lot of donations throughout the year. Last year, we gave away over $6,000 worth of donations. We do adopt-a-family around Christmas time, we search out and listen to people over the year to identify families who could truly benefit from some extra help from the community. The first year we adopted three families, and last year we adopted four families. I will do free piercings when clients bring in household items that are worth a certain amount, which is always a really successful way to help these families and gain business at the same time.
I am a female local business owner and a sole proprietor. I have three artists and one apprentice working under me, and we just hired a receptionist to help with the chaos! Our first year of business, we did $118,000 in profit, which exceeded my expectations. My biggest thing is, we are a team. If you can’t work on a team, this isn’t the place for you. We build off of each other, feed off of each other’s ideas and we grow together. That was the goal I wanted for my studio, when one person grows, everyone grows.”
Do you have any plans for your business in the future that you can share?
“Our goal is to just grow as a team while growing our client base. My goal as a business owner is to keep my artists happy and doing what they need to do. We are constantly doing trainings to better ourselves.”
*at this point, one of her employees chimed in and had this to say about Brandy*
“She is the best person to work for. She makes her employees very happy and comfortable. She’s awesome!”
Do you have any tips for aspiring business owners and entrepreneurs?
“Set goals and crush them.”
Do you have any advice for incoming SUNY CCC students? What about recent graduates?
“Incoming students, put your dedication in because it’s worth it in the end, even though it may stink at the time. The rewards in the future are better than the grievances now. For recent graduates, congratulations, I hope you all succeed in all of your ventures and stay humble, because it counts.”
What is it like running a business during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
“It was scary at first. Since all my artists and myself are independent contractors, unemployment was a big issue. I worked with my team and walked them through how to apply for Food Stamps, and when unemployment became available to them, I walked them through how to apply for that as well. I tried to keep everyone on track and less stressed, and it did help keep everyone sane. I started doing shop upgrades, since clients couldn’t bring a friend while they were getting tattoos, I wanted to be sure they had everything they needed to feel as comfortable as possible. We improved how we could. As hard as it is to say, I think COVID bettered our situation as artists and as a team. It made our bond stronger.”