Got Ink? An Unconventional Mother’s Day Gift at Benchmark Tattoo

Looking to get mom something that’ll last a lifetime?

Holly Henry and her mom, Donna, went a bit unconventional for Mother’s Day this year. They visited Benchmark Tattoo & Fade Away Laser earlier this week to get tattoos they’ve both been wanting for a long time.

Owner Kyle Grover says the atmosphere at Benchmark is meant to be comfortable and inviting – two words you might not think of right away when it comes to tattoos.

“If any place were to break the stigma of what a tattoo shop is, it would be this place,” he says. “I guess for me this is where I would want to get tattooed. This is my vision of my comfortable environment.”

Kyle grew up on Park Point and has called Duluth home for 30 years. Outside of his time in the Twin Ports, he also lived in Denver, building his 19-year career in the tattoo industry all the while. He opened Benchmark about three years ago.

“We were lucky enough to get into the building here, and it’s been a great experience,” Kyle says of their East 8th Street location. “It’s been really well received, so we’re pretty happy about it.”

As for Holly’s Mother’s Day agenda…

This was Donna’s first experience getting tattooed, and she handled it like a champ! She also has no intentions of being resuscitated in an emergency, and she likes whales. Hence the little whale tattoo with “DNR” in a bubble.

Donna is one cool mom.

Holly’s tattoo was the words, “This too shall pass,” written in her mom’s handwriting. It’s a phrase her mom has always been fond of sharing with her.

So basically, Donna + Holly = mother/daughter goals.

With nearly two decades under his belt doing tattoos, Kyle has seen the evolution of tattoo culture firsthand. He says over time, there has been a shift in the way people perceive tattoos, and that’s exciting.

“It’s just more and more in the mainstream, and it’s growing in popularity,” he says. “People have not wanted to get one in the past because they were worried about what people think or what it means to have a tattoo, I think that’s changed.”

For anyone considering getting a tattoo, Kyle has some advice.

“Look at the artwork people have done in the past. Look at their portfolios. Do the lines look nice and sharp and clean? Does the color look like it’s solid with smooth color changes?”

Check out the shop ahead of time, too, and make sure the artist’s style falls in line with what you’re looking for.

Now, if you’re actually looking to get something removed, Kyle has you covered in that category too. Benchmark Tattoo recently teamed up with Fade Away Laser.

“There are a lot of times where people want to get something removed or they want to get something lightened up so they can get it covered easier, and get a different tattoo,” Kyle says. “I think to be able to offer that to everyone in Duluth is pretty cool.”

Follow Kyle Grover and the other artists at Benchmark on Instagram, including Mark “Diego” McConnell, Jeremy Souders, Kyle James, Erica Pauline, and Mike Rosendahl.