When tattoo artist Stephanie Vixen opened Vixen Body Art in 2022 she wanted to do something unique while also breaking out from a male-dominated industry.

Vixen’s studio features an all-female staff that provides tattoo and piercing services like traditional shops, but also offers cosmetic tattooing that augments clients' aesthetics through permanent makeup and eyeliner, tattooed eyebrows and lip brush, faux freckles, and more.

The backstory

Vixen said she has drawn since she was a child, but tattooing wasn’t initially on her radar until meeting her husband, Billyjack Gunter, who has been tattooing for over 30 years. She began working with him and the pair now co-own multiple studios across Dallas-Fort Worth. During this time, Vixen learned how to tattoo from her husband and started as an artist in 2007.

“From the time I did my very first tattoo and how happy it made me and how happy the client was, I was like, 'This is what I’m meant to do,'” she said.

By 2009 she earned her cosmetology license and spent some time working in the beauty industry, Vixen said. Then in 2017 she decided to combine her two passions and dabbled in cosmetic tattooing before finally opening up Vixen Body Art where she was able to offer the full gamut of her tattooing talent with both traditional and cosmetic offerings.

With the increasing popularity for cosmetic tattooing, Vixen said she noticed more women entering into the industry.

“I was like, what better opportunity to find a spot in Plano closer to my home and do an all-female tattoo studio,” she said.

The details

Since opening, Vixen has noticed differences between running an all-women studio versus a studio with men and women, noting a much more expressive atmosphere where people are open and communicative, she said. This has led to a slight shift in clientele toward predominantly women who felt more comfortable in the environment and wanted to support a female-run studio, Vixen said.

However, the studio still serves male clients, many of whom also receive cosmetic tattooing. The most popular area of service for all clients are eyebrows, which are key to framing the face, she said. The treatment, along with similar ones such as lip brush and eyeliner, uses a different pigment than traditional tattoos that fades after about five years. This allows touch ups to be made over the years whether it's to keep up with changing styles or compensate for aging skin, Vixen said. While it's more permanent than makeup, clients aren’t locked into a look as with traditional tattoos.

“The technique I use is very pigmented and kind of looks like an airbrush effect,” she said. “There’s also microblading, which is a hand tool used to give the illusion of hair strokes on the eyebrow.”

Vixen has also provided cosmetic tattoos that even out skin tone to patients with vitiligo, a condition that causes pigment loss in patches of skin.

Going forward

The minute Vixen opened her studio she thought about expanding to multiple locations, she said. While she doesn’t have a specific city in mind for the future shop, Vixen plans for it to provide cosmetic tattooing with an all-female staff.

As she is the only artist at her studio who can do cosmetic tattoos, the challenge will be finding other people to help run future studios, an obstacle she was well-acquainted with co-owning three locations with her husband. But she said she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“The most rewarding part I would have to say is making women feel comfortable and self-confident,” she said.