JR Original Tattoo Spa is Powell River’s one-stop wellness shop, says owner Francis Junior Luaifoa.
Luaifoa, who grew up in Powell River, opened his Franklin Avenue shop in January with a vision to make it easier for people to get the tattoo they always dreamed of having.
“Everybody wants a tattoo these days: mothers, aunties, grandmas and grandpas, but they might not get one because they feel intimidated about going into a tattoo parlor,” says Francis, who has been creating tattoos for more than 20 years.
Walking into JR Original Tattoo Spa, visitors are greeted by the shop’s open space, calming décor, vaulted ceilings and exposed finished wood rafters, and a hint of diffused essential oils scents the air. The studio includes stations for hair and nails as well as an overstuffed leather chair for tattoos. With its well-lit space, potted plants, tiki bar, and a wall-mounted flat-screen television, JR Original comes across as more day spa than tattoo parlor, which was precisely Luaifoa's vision, he says.
“You won’t find any pictures of skulls or roses hanging on the walls,” he adds. “I wanted to create a family-friendly environment. We want to help people feel their best.”
The idea of combining the services one might typically find at a day spa with that of a tattoo shop came to Luaifoa after getting his first spa pedicure.
“It was so relaxing and the environment was appealing,” he explains. “I just thought it would work to combine the two and make it friendly for people to come by who want to improve their self-wellness.”
For those who wince at the idea of sitting for a painful tattoo, the shop has skin-numbing cream on hand, in addition to the calming atmosphere, to take the edge off the experience, he adds.
In addition to tattooing, Luaifoa is also a ticketed barber and feels equally comfortable with either a set of clippers or a tattoo gun in his hand.
Hairstylist Sam Bergeron and aesthetician Mandy Munroe are also on staff to provide services that fall outside of Luaifoa’s current skill set. Munroe provides manicures and pedicures in addition to gel nails, gel polishes, and brow and lash tinting. The shop also sells hoodies, T-shirts and tank tops with Luaifoa’s designs.
Growing up, no one called Francis by his real name, instead, friends in the neighbourhood called him Junior or JR. Then, when he started designing tattoos, later on, he would sign his work JR Original and the name stuck, he says.
Now, when a customer comes in looking for a custom tattoo, he works with his tattoo design artist apprentices to help give the client a range of artwork.
“I give everyone the same information and everyone draws a design and then we let the client pick which one they like the best,” he explains. “It’s been working out great. Clients have just been mind-blown. Each artist brings something special to the table.”
He adds that he is also happy to help a client with a design they have brought into the shop themselves. The shop offers free consultations, sizings and quotes for customers who come by the shop with art.
“We just want to give our customers the best piece we can,” says Francis. “I love drawing for people and get so excited for the next cool piece someone is going to come in looking for.”
JR Original Tattoo Spa is located at 13-4312 Franklin Avenue, next to Paparazzi Pizza. The shop is open from 9 am to 5 pm Tuesdays to Saturdays, or by appointment.
To make an appointment or for more information, call 1.250.857.9002. To see more photos of Francis’s work, go to jroriginaltattoospa.com.
Find and like JR Original Tattoo Spa on Facebook and Instagram.