"Tattoos will be with you until the day that you die."
All of us have heard some form of that sentiment over the years. Sometimes you hear it from a concerned friend or parent attempting to convince somebody that maybe they should rethink getting that Furby tattoo. Other times you hear it from tattoo artists explaining the importance of doing things the right way. The point is, anybody who has ever even considered getting a tattoo has heard it a million times.
What if I told you that it was all bullshit? Two morticians are out there trying to prove that tattoos won't last until the day you die, they'll actually last much longer than that.
Mike and Kyle Sherwood have created a way to remove, preserve and display tattoos after a person has passed away. Dealing with the dead has been the Sherwood family business has been for three generations, but this father and son duo have figured out a way to use their expertise outside of the funeral home.
The pair started Save My Ink Forever in 2016. In an interview with The Toledo Blade, Kyle explained how the idea came about. “One of [my dad’s] buddies approached him and brought up the idea of preserving his tattoo,” Kyle Sherwood told The Blade. “We kind of laughed it off at first, but he was serious, and the more we looked into it, the more we saw the drive to do this. We thought ‘hey, this is actually a unique way of memorializing someone.’”
It took a bit of practice to figure out the proper process. But how does a person get access to tattooed skin? It seems like a conundrum, but the Sherwoods figured out a pretty ingenious idea. They offered to pay for people's cosmetic surgery—tummy tucks—on the stipulation that the person agreed to be tattooed first and that they were to receive the skin once it had been removed.
Save My Ink Forever has branched out to work with funeral homes in 20 states. Once they are contacted about a person passing away, they send a kit out to the funeral home, where the home's staff will be able to removed the tattoo and start the preservation process. In roughly three months, loved ones will receive the preserved tattoo, framed and safely behind UV glass.
The process is not cheap—it can cost between $1,600 and $100,000 depending on the size of the tattoo. But to many this would be a small price to pay to have a truly unique reminder of their loved one.