Monday June 11, 2012
Pairing tattoos with a cuppa
Story and photos by Sheila C. Leong
Dragonfly With Coffee In Love, is probably the only tattoo studio and cafe in the country. Tucked in a little corner on the first floor of Publika, in Solaris Dutamas, the outlet is an eye-catching one.
One cannot help but stop and look at the unique way the two-in-one outlet has been decorated.
A brainchild of co-owner Helen Hew, Dragonfly With Coffee In Love is anything but ordinary.
“Many shoppers have stopped to ask us what we do and equally as many have commented that the décor is interesting and that they have not seen something like this before,’’ said Hew.
Although Dragonfly opened its doors just about a month ago, it is the talk of the town as this new trend created by two other partners, Mabel Phang and Pat Tan catches on.
“We may be new but we are surprised that we have quite a strong following. Even people who do not want tattoos come in here for a cuppa. We are a boutique coffee place as well,’’ she said.
“Along the way I fell in love with coffee and took it quite seriously. I even attended a barista course in Sydney about two years ago. It’s my new passion now and I wanted to merge the two love of my life, thus this outlet came about,’’ explained Hew who wanted more than an outlet offering just tattooing and piercing services.
The coffee available is purely Colombian from an independent roaster in Australia.
“I like to support independent roasters as the coffee is of better quality and they do it out of passion just like me. I do not serve blends but single origin coffee only. It tastes better and is richer. We intend to get more varieties of coffee in future.”
“A latte is priced at RM7.50 while an espresso is priced at RM4.50 which is cheap compared to what is available at coffee chains. It’s a different experience here and we can educate people on how to appreciate good coffee,’’ she said.
Forty-two-year-old Hew is solely responsible for the décor and concept of the store including the drawings and graffiti. The 500sq ft outlet has a mix of indie, bohemian and a little gothic feel to it.
“I love the old as well as modern stuff and I believe in recycling. My outlet is decorated with old furniture, toys, crockery and photo frames. I believe the old stuff here lends a quaint atmosphere to the outlet. So it is really a mix of everything which gives this place the unique impression,’’ she said.
Hew and Phang started their first tattoo business in 1997 at Bangsar Shopping Centre and five years later opened another outlet in Jalan Telawi. The business expanded quite rapidly to 1Utama, Mid Valley and Ikano.
There are two tattoo artists at Dragonfly including Hew who does the permanent and semi-permanent tattoos. Dragonfly, which was set up with an initial investment of RM80,000 also offers piercings and air-brushed T-shirts.
“I am mostly here because of the coffee while Phang mainly takes care of the outlet in Mid Valley. The other branches offer pretty much the same services minus the coffee,’’ she said.
The outlet offers a free coffee with every tattoo done. To add to their uniqueness, Dragonfly With Coffee in Love also offers sweet sandwiches such as banana hazelnut chocolate sandwich.
Each cup of coffee is served with the traditional ice gems biscuits, sunflower seeds or Chinese soda biscuits.
“In the future, we intend to offer savoury sandwiches, muffins, cakes and breads as my customers usually like to have breakfast here,’’ she added.
Besides the distinctive décor, little details such as the type of biscuit, crockery and furniture that makes the outlet a rare gem.
Tattoos are priced from RM100 onwards while Dragonfly With Coffee in Love charges RM80 and above for a piercing and air-brushed T-shirts are sold at RM50 each. Semi-permanent tattoos are RM15 and above.
Dragonfly With Coffee In Love is located at 77A Level UG1, Publika, No 1 Jalan Dutamas 1, Solaris Dutamas.
For details, visit www.dragonflytatz.blogspot.com or call 03-6206 2265.