Tektik owner Davy D'hollander talks REACH difficulties, generational differences and more

Should you not already know this, Inksane has a podcast. During episode 4 we had the pleasure of inteviewing Davy D'hollander.

If you are in the Belgian body mods scene sit, you may have heard about him before. Davy is, in fact, the owner of Tektik, one of the largest suppliers of piercing and tattoo equipment in Belgium.

We talked about how it all started, generational differences in the piercing industry, difficulties due to REACH legislation, and more... Let's dive in!

From chemistry student to a piercer?

For Davy, it all started during his college years. He shared that he majored in chemistry and afterwards photography. While he was still working on his studies, however, he started working at Roxy, which at first was just a jewelry store.

Eventually, that turned into a piercing studio where Davy pierced for 15 years. He then decided to start his own business, a wholesale business focusing on piercing jewelry and materials. Couple of years later it was supplemented with tattoo materials and eventually the focus turned to that as well.

Ever since his college years, he had been interested in the technical side of his subjects. He transferred the interest in the technical to his piercing career, as he wanted to focus on how to make life easier for piercers and tattoo artists. So the piercing itself remained in the background for Davy.

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Trends then and now

We were very curious about the shift in trends of the early years versus now. Before during the early years you had to look for where and how to go for a piercing, now we can find a shop in every city that places piercings. Obviously a lot of things have changed and Davy confirmed that.

Modern piercings did not emerge in San Francisco until the 1980s, so with us it came with a bit of a delay. In the beginning, in fact, it was a lot of searching. If someone came up with a new idea, they first had to find out if it was possible and how to go about it.

There were many things that just did not yet exist, such as surface piercings, dermal anchors, certain genital piercings,... But also the tools and techniques used to pierce something have evolved and he has experienced that as well.

Davy told us it was kind of cool to get all this from the first row experience, but also that he could make a difference in it himself. Helping think about how something could be more efficient, helping with the design process to see its realization is something that does encourage him.

In the late 1990s/early 2000s, however, there was a saturation of the market and society began to see more and more of the piercing scene to accept. While in the beginning customers mainly had non-visible piercings placed, now it was all allowed to be seen. Thus, the hype has jumped from genital piercings to ear and facial piercings. But, as Davy says - everything runs in circles ... so who knows, maybe genital piercings will soon become a trend again?


For those who don't know, REACH is the name of the European legislation concerning the production of and trade in chemicals a.k.a. ink. We too were left with a few questions regarding this. Here is what we learned from Davy.

This legislation had basically been in the works since 2008, because even then the EU began to concern itself with safety regarding tattoo ink. It started with concerns that certain pigments could be very harmful (carcinogenic). This was generally all well and good, but the problem lies in the fact that a lot of other chemicals were banned last minute.

Thus, suddenly inks with approved pigments were also no longer good to use. In fact, the chemicals that were banned were substances crucial to tattoo ink so all ink formulations contained them. So suddenly the manufacturers had to start all over again.

The new inks had to meet all REACH requirements, but they also had to behave the way inks behave. So everything also had to be tested out and for this they only had 1 year.

We do want to announce that this is only a brief summary is from the podcast. If you want to hear everything in detail we recommend going to the podcast listening. There Davy also explained the AZO pigments that can be carcinogenic, as well as the problems there were due to REACH legislation.

For the rest, we talked with Davy about the influence that Covid-19 had on the tattoo industry and tattoo fairs. We also briefly touched on the topic of how we tattoo artists among ourselves and how we can help each other. Davy also told us a little more about his passion for photography.

To find out what Davy's opinion is on these topics we are going to refer you to here! Definitely feel free to share your own opinions in the comments as well.


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