While I’ve never gotten a tattoo before, I can imagine the anxiety walking into a tattoo parlour, since a lot of them usually look intimidating.
When we covered Poking Duck a few months back, the tattoo artist shared that many of her clients said that they were more comfortable getting inked in her living room, as it felt like going to a friend’s place.
Although having a comfortable environment may not be the most important part of getting a tattoo, I can imagine that it would add so much to the experience, especially if it’s your first time.
“We like to get tattoos ourselves and from our experiences, we noticed that the accessibility here differs from other places in the world. Hence, we wanted to create a space that’s friendly enough for anyone who hasn’t gotten inked before,” shared two of Licky Chan‘s founders, Kit and Rick with Vulcan Post.
Not A Common Pairing
Licky Chan is a tattoo parlour cum alcoholic ice cream shop in Chow Kit.
The concept came to life when one of the founders, Brian, who is also the head chef of the restaurant JOLOKO, thought of opening another tattoo studio separate from the one he already has in Cheras.
“I’ve always loved adding alcohol to my dessert and with Rick having a bartending background, we naturally gravitated towards boozy licks and cakes,” Kit explained how it all tied up.
The founding team behind Licky Chan are 5 individuals: Kit and Rick who handle operations, Penny and Shin for architecture and design, and Brian for ice cream production and managing the tattoo studio.
“Only Brian has experience in making ice cream and he is a trained tattoo artist too, the rest of us are highly skilled at eating and drinking,” Kit joked.
Licky Chan began operations on February 13, 2021, so they’re only a month old since they started.
Enticing Customers To Get A Tattoo
Currently, there are 2 full-time tattoo artists, Reid and Jasper, who work in the tattoo studio called The Poke Guy.
The Poke Guy is in its own section in the premises, and customers can look through the windows at people getting tattooed. However, they won’t be able to see it close-up as they’d get in the way of tattoo artists and their clients.
Their tattoos start at RM150 and are priced according to size and colour. Kit and Rick also explained that this price is the average local market rate.
While their artists use tattoo guns, they’re hoping to include guest artists in The Poke Guy in the future that specialise in hand-poke or other specific signature styles.
“There have been people who come in to get their first tattoo or came for ice cream and got a tattoo spontaneously. Custom designs need time to create, so often guests come in to enquire and make an appointment for another day,” they shared.
Nothing Vanilla About This Place
While boozy ice cream isn’t a new concept in the country, it’s uncommon enough that it’s harder to perfect during the R&D stage because there isn’t much to reference.
The amount of booze they could use in the flavours had to be exact or else the ice cream wouldn’t set. Because of that, they were challenged with how to get enough flavour of alcohol in their ice cream.
“None of us had experience with ice cream-making of this scale and there was a lot of learning with getting everything to be just right and what we were willing to compromise on,” they shared.
“We created a vegan piña colada soft serve, which took weeks to perfect. Every bad batch was 3L of wastage and these are not just one dish or cocktail.”
While the Licky Chan team wanted to be experimental with their ice cream, they also made sure they were inclusive towards lactose-intolerant customers who wanted to enjoy boozy ice cream.
Hence, they created a range of lactose-free and vegan ice cream and made all their cones gluten-free and vegan as well for free of charge. Their ice cream prices range from RM9.80 to RM16.80 per scoop, which tend to be just a little higher than average.
And in case you’re wondering, they don’t serve vanilla ice cream, which is a very common question they get from their customers, besides ones about delivery (which they also don’t have yet).
The Response Was Unexpected
Licky Chan is making rounds on social media, which is to be expected with their appeal amongst the millennial and Gen Z groups.
“To be honest, we didn’t anticipate this response and how quickly it spread through word-of-mouth. It was a little overwhelming and we are still learning a lot about the ice cream business,” Kit and Rick shared with Vulcan Post.
“We have an amazing team, though, and couldn’t be more proud of what we have already achieved in this short period. There are people who love what we’re doing and some that really don’t.”
As a space that’s meant to make tattoos more inviting and less intimidating though, Licky Chan hopes their work will be able to remove some of the stigmas that society has on tattoos.
As for their upcoming plans, they’d be introducing more flavours into the list and looking for collaborations.
Featured Image Credit: Kit Yin Chan, one of the founders of Lickychan / haaangryeats