IF YOU speak to tattoo enthusiasts in the Gwent valleys about where to go for a tattoo, you can expect one name to pop up regularly – Gypsy Jane’s. Opened on November 9, 2009 in Ty-Sign by then 22-year-old Kylie Talbot, Gypsy Jayne’s quickly became a hot bed for the local community to get their body inked.

Miss Talbot explained her unusual route into the profession. She said: “I studied interior architecture in university and realised through the course that I didn’t want an office job. The only other thing I was good at was drawing.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do. My grandad, Ray Talbot, suggested tattooing, which got him in a lot of trouble with my nan.”

Aged 20, she got a two day per week apprenticeship at a tattoo shop, where she learnt the basics in how to clean and then she bought her own kit and began to practice at home.

The apprenticeship lasted for eight months and she took up a teaching job as a way to earn income while she taught herself how to tattoo.

She decided to open her own shop and Gypsy Jayne’s was born. “I just went for it as I think you’re more fearless when you’re younger,” she said.

“I hit the market just before tattoos became quite big, so I managed to pick a good time to set up.”

For the first four years of the business, Miss Talbot - who is also a qualified body piercer – ran the shop on her own, doing both piercing and tattoo requests. In 2013, she took on her first apprentice – Dewi – who she taught in school. In 2015, Ceri joined the team as another apprentice and a year and a half later, Cerys joined.

As the studio became bigger, Miss Talbot stepped back with the piercings as the demand of tattoos and piercings was so high. So she hired a dedicated piercer Chris which allowed her to focus on the more interesting aspect to herself – tattoos.

Gypsy Jayne’s moved to a bigger, two-storey premises on Commercial Road in Risca in 2018. It has a unique interior design - what started out as a practical idea snowballed into what it is today.

“I used to use the free Coke glasses from McDonalds to store the individual sizes in. Customers started to buy me different products and now I have a wall full and boxes of more that I don’t have room for,” she said.

Gypsy Jayne’s popularity has seen them win multiple awards including a V Award for Best Tattooist.

On the general subject of tattooing, Miss Talbot was brutally honest with the way things are. “Currently there are no qualifications needed for tattooing, but they are bringing in hygiene qualifications in 2020. It is needed to stop the illegal tattooing and the potential blood disorders, like what happened in Newport a few years ago.

“I actually had people come to me with the letters about the blood disorder, asking what they meant.

“So, we do need something in place to keep this from happening and the hygiene qualification would be great, but it depends how it is implemented. If they take it too far, then we run the risk of losing tattoo artists or more turning to doing it illegally.”

Gypsy Jayne’s Tattoo studio is open Tuesday-Thursday 10.30am to 5pm and Saturday’s 10am to 4pm.