Edmonds’ Main Street Tattoo brings body art to Creative District

Owner Amanda Marie Giles (left) speaks to tattoo artist Rose Zachary as she works on her client’s arm.

Edmonds’ newest tattoo shop – Main Street Tattoo – opened its doors in November 2023 on 547 Main St., the former location of Stewart Family Chiropractic. Owner and Edmonds resident Amanda Marie Giles has been tattooing since 2015, starting her apprenticeship in downtown Everett. She later worked at Slave to the Needle in Ballard before opening her own shop in Edmonds.

“I recently learned that Edmonds is the original Creative Art District in Washington, so it made sense to open a tattoo shop in a community centered around art and expression,” Giles said. “I noticed that there hadn’t been a tattoo shop in this area yet, and I thought it was such a missed opportunity! Growing up in the Edmonds area, I’ve spent a lot of time here and have always loved the downtown.”

Born in Seattle and raised in Brier, Giles graduated from Mountlake Terrace High School in 2011 and worked at Dick’s Drive-in when it first opened its Edmonds location. After high school, she lived in South Korea for a year and in Colorado for a few years after that.

Owner Amanda Marie Giles (left) chats with two clients at Main Street Tattoo.

“I studied medicine in college, but continued to get tattooed and even show my artists the paintings I had made, searching for helpful critiques,” Giles said. “By the time I graduated, I had a full portfolio of paintings and I decided to pursue a tattoo apprenticeship!”

The art of tattooing is something that Giles was drawn to for a long time before she entered the profession. She said that the “biggest shocker” for her is the number of older people coming in for a tattoo. 

“They would stop by to take a peek, and they’re like, ‘We saw this coming up, I had to have a look!’” she said. “Oftentimes they come in because they had considered getting a tattoo for a long time, and now that we’re here, it’s convenient. It’s a sign. We popped up and they’re like, ‘OK, I’m gonna get a tattoo.’”

Giles said that most older clients tend to get tattoos that have a deeper meaning to them, and some even get tattoos along with their grandchildren. Other customers receive a tattoo because they had survived cancer or to honor a loved one. A few even asked for a tattoo of the Edmonds ferry to show “Edmonds pride.” 

Close-up view of the work by Rose Zachary.

“My favorite part of my job is the trust clients give me to create something permanent on their body together,” she said. “There are so many unique stories and ideas that clients bring in. The designs I create with their inspiration often (are) something I would have never thought to create on my own.”

Giles had challenges when she started Main Street Tattoo, including the remodeling of the building’s interior and learning about permits and hiring independent contractors. Fortunately, she had the assistance of her husband Derek, who had experience owning and operating grocery stores.“[He] provided an incredible amount of support, information and direction,” she said.

Giles also managed to create a space that feels more like a collective of tattoo artists, where everyone is referred to as a co-worker rather than an employee. One of her fellow tattoo artists, Rose Zachary, moved from Philadelphia to Edmonds recently and works at Main Street Tattoo. 

Main Street Tattoo had a soft opening in November before announcing their grand opening on Dec. 3.

“She’s an incredible artist, specializing in large-scale black and gray floral and Japanese tattoos,” Giles said. “We often have guest artists come visit, which is where a tattoo artist who works somewhere else travels to our shop for a few days of tattooing. It’s been really fun having different artists with a variety of styles come work with us for a bit.”

For millennia, people have adorned their bodies with tattoos, each design bearing unique meanings and symbols across diverse cultures worldwide. These include the Māori people, Arctic Siberians and Indigenous people in the Northwest. Even the 5,300-year-old Otzi the Iceman has a tattoo on his wrist.

“Many of the misconceptions I’ve come across are judgments that only certain types of people get tattooed,” Giles said. “It used to be a subculture – a bit more taboo – but today I would bet it’s harder to find a person without any tattoos than to find someone who has a tattoo. I feel many people outside of the [tattoo] culture began to see it more as an expressive art form.”

So far in Edmonds, Giles has not experienced any concerns or misconceptions expressed by her clients. But if someone has any concerns about getting a tattoo, she recommends that they wait until they are absolutely ready. “We always make sure our clients are just as excited as we are before starting,” she said. “If you come into Main Street Tattoo, you might also find my husband Derek stocking paper towels, or our counter person Asha answering the phone or singing to the music and painting dog portraits.”

Artwork adorns the walls of Main Street Tattoo, including a Japanese-style mask by Edmonds artist Bruce Rivera.

Later this year, Giles may clear out some of the plants and rocks in front of her shop to make a space for clients and passersbys to sit outside. When she’s not working, she and Derek spend a lot of time exploring and enjoying all of downtown Edmonds or relaxing with their two dogs, Lucy and Genepy.

“We can’t wait to really dive deeper into the Edmonds community and events,” she said. “I hope by next year we will have a full house of tattoo artists, and a long list of events and collaborations within the Bowl,” she said. “We’ve already partnered with businesses such as ArtSpot and our neighbor Kelnero for exciting events. Now we’re brainstorming so many more fun collaboration ideas within our community and can’t wait to explore flash tattoo days centered around events like the Taste of Edmonds.”

Main Street Tattoo is open from noon to 8 p.m. every day except Sunday. Appointments and walk-ins are welcome. Follow the business on Facebook and Instagram.

— Story and photos by Nick Ng

  1. congrats on your”e new shop it has a good vibe already with Dr Stewarts being my Dr I miss him so much, (the last people in the shop) good luck on your”e new venture. love and Peace! Allen Johnston

  2. Tattoos all have a story. In 1968 I took a road trip from MO to Newport RI. And Cape Cod MA Province town. We stopped in RH and spotted a Tattoo parlor with a window for walkers to watch as others got tattoos. We decided to go in and get a tattoo. First, we shared a bottle of Mateus Wine at a nice little bar (for courage). I looked at the wall in the parlor and I didn’t find what I wanted so I said I want a Rainbow no pot of gold just a small rainbow on my shoulder. At that time the rainbow symbolized peaceful protest and peace. I liked that idea. SO, I got one. Now it is really just a red slash but I know it’s there. I never regretted that tattoo. Then about 6 months ago my sis in law in Minneapolis told me she and my BIL and their 3 kids aged 25ish were coming home and they were all 5 going to get an acorn tattoo. Acorns have many powerful meanings. Strength, power, potential, growth. The potential that lies within us all. They even ward off evil spirts and protect those who carry them. I might go to this parlor in Edmonds and get my Rainbow re-inked. I support its original meaning and all of its meanings today.

  3. Thanks Kim. Perhaps when I go to get it repaired you can share a bit of wine with me haha. I would love to meet you.

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