SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sometimes, the art in Sturgis is worn on clothing. Sometimes, it’s worn on the skin.
Rosini Gypsy Tattooing in Sturgis does permanent tattoos for the annual attendees at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
The most popular tattoos this year are American Flags and the Harley-Davidson bar and shield, said Cherokee Chuck Shaffer.
The business operates year-round in Sturgis but the rally definitely increases the workload, Shaffer said.
“There are three of us in here year-round. We (get) seven more artists for the rally,” Shaffer said. “So there is 10 of us here. We are open from 10 a.m. to midnight, so that makes for a long day.”
Donovan Waheed of American Iron Outfitters said the business plans about a year in advance for the rally. The business has four temporary sites throughout Sturgis during the rally.
“A lot comes down to what year it is, what anniversary it is,” Waheed said.
“The majority of the stuff we do is dated,” Waheed said of clothing designs. The most popular color?
“It always has, and always will be, black,” Waheed said.
But, comfort colors, which tend to be lighter shades of certain primary colors are also popular.
“These days were are doing a lot of acid washed comfort colors,” Waheed said.
The business did a test market for an embroidery line of Sturgis wear last year, he said. The line was expanded this year.
Waheed said he and several others in the American Iron will discuss designs and patterns. They provide those ideas to a designer(s). “We pick from what the artist(s) presents us,” Waheed said.
“Everything comes in cycles,” Waheed said of clothing and design patterns that are popular.
The 10 artists with Rosini Gypsy have different specialties.
“We have some guys who are exceeding good at doing portraits,” Shaffer said. Those artists come for the rally, he said.
“Whenever (an artist) does a color portrait, everybody gathers around,” Shaffer said. “This isn’t something we normally do so it’s an opportunity for us to learn.”
Shaffer said rally attendees often return to the business to get the same artist each year. They want continuity in the design and style for their tattoos.
“The same crew comes back,” he said. “If someone decides to retire from doing this, then we have an empty spot.” Artists will contact other artists so the spot can be filled.
The rain and cooler temperatures for this year’s rally had an impact on both businesses.
“The rain made us busier,” Shaffer said. People couldn’t be outside as much so they went inside, which included getting a tattoo.
“It’s tough because you never really know about the weather,” Waheed said. The business does sweatshirts and T-shirts for every rally. “We can have chilly nights,” he said.
Sweatshirts are even more popular this year because of the weather, Waheed said.
One temporary location also sells leather. Cooler days mean an uptick in leather sales, he said.
“The rain can affect how many customers come in,” Waheed said. On the flip side, clothing such as sweatshirts cost more. So, selling more sweatshirts can offset any day’s decrease in the number of customers, he said.
Waheed has two permanent stores that cater to tourists at Deadwood and Keystone.
Sales and interest at those two stores also help with rally planning.
“As we get closer, how business is going for the summer (is an indicator), then we can adjust orders,” Waheed said.
The four temporary sites at Sturgis are divided into one store that sells clothing and leather, two that sell non-leather clothing and one that offers discounted dated clothing from the prior year’s rally.