Crybaby is the forward-thinking, inclusive brand providing vegan-friendly and cruelty-free products to the tattoo community!

We love its tattoo glide and stencil bonds, which are available in both classic Crybaby and special edition Gothbaby designs.

We spoke to Nico Fedelle, owner of Crybaby products (as well as Crybaby Ink tattoo studio) about where the name came from, how the Crybaby glide makes tattooing in colour easier for the artist, and the story behind the brand’s Gothbaby collaboration with artist Mike Dazzo.

When was Crybaby first set up, and what was the initial idea?

My wife and I decided to open our own shop, Crybaby Ink. We went a non-traditional route and painted it in all pastels. I wanted to provide aftercare for our clients but I couldn’t find anything that matched the theme of our studio, so I decided to create my own. I thought it couldn’t be that hard but the formula ended up taking a year and a half for me to perfect!

What was your first ever product?

Our first product was Crybaby tattoo aftercare and glide.

Where is the company based?

In a little city in Oklahoma, USA called Tulsa. 

Where did the name “Crybaby” come from?

This is a good one.  I actually left a shop due to some differences in human rights. While we were trying to pick the perfect name, I would send my wife like 50 ideas a day. We landed on “Crybaby” since that term was used to describe people who felt like human rights of all kinds were important. Living in the south of the USA there’s a lot of controversy on the topic. 

Our brand stands for human rights for all. No matter who you are, the colour of your skin or your walk of life. Naturally when I decided the name for our tattoo products, I named it after the shop because I didn’t think we would even sell it outside of the shop. Until I posted it online and saw the need for something different and for more people to be represented.

How does Crybaby glide reduce redness while tattooing?

The secret is in the process. But it truly is an ointment that will reduce redness to almost nothing.  When I tattoo I forget that people even fight with redness since I only use Crybaby. The combination of oils and shea create such a soothing effect that it eliminates it right away.  I find I’ve had a lot of products that claimed to but never did quite as much. That’s not me trying to sell it, that’s the truth. I think that’s why we have become popular with a lot of portrait and anime artists who use a lot of flesh tones. Using Crybaby makes it that much easier to see different tones.

What makes your Stencil Bond so effective?

Lots of blood sweat and tears! Not really, but it was a journey.  I wanted to make something that would really work for people. I mean really work.  When I developed that, I probably had 50–80 different formulas.  It took 11 months to do and I had everyone in the shop try a different formula each day until I got it right. There was a lot of failure!

What is the tattoo scene like in Tulsa?

It’s nice.  We all know each other for the most part.  We are friendly with a lot of shops, which is nice to have in the community.

How do you choose your Pro Team artists?

For us, it’s not about how great you are or your amount of followers.  We have people on all levels of tattooing. It’s about the friendship we build and supporting each other.

Crybaby is more than another tattoo product. It’s a community. We all know each other and are able to have each other to talk to about techniques, shows , and just everyday life.  I’d say I’m close with a lot of the artists on the team and I’m very fortunate to have this kind of support.  It’s mind blowing.

How did you decide to do the Gothbaby collaboration with Mike Dazzo?

Mike is great. We actually had a random phone call and I was sitting at my kitchen table trying to design a dark label for my products.  I know a lot of people really love the pink, but it’s not for everyone. So I wanted to broaden so that I could have more to offer.  As I was on the phone with him, he said, “You need to make a goth version of Crybaby.” I laughed and told him I was literally doing that as we were talking but I was having some trouble with the concept. He asked if he could take it over.  I was like absolutely!

I’m a huge fan of Mike’s and that was so helpful to us. Everything I was coming up with I hated.  But I never wanted Mike to work for free.  I asked him how he wanted to settle up.  He said, I want to donate 2% of your proceeds from each jar to Breast Cancer Research instead.  And that’s what we agreed upon.  That’s who Mike is.  So go support him because he is one hell of a person. His mother had passed just a couple of years ago to breast cancer. So him donating to that is such an amazing thing to help so many others. 

We have donated quite a bit now and will continue to do so. And we hope to be able to donate to other research in the future with some of our other products.  Mike really had a great idea and I want that to also set the tone for the company as a whole. 

Why is it important for you that Crybaby is an inclusive brand?

Who doesn’t want to be included? It’s time for some change. I think that a lot of people get looked over for who they are.  What do we say? “A tattoo shouldn’t stop someone from getting a job.  It doesn’t define how they’re able to work.”

That’s the same with sponsorships or reposting. Who you are doesn’t matter to me. What matters is you’re trying your best and you’re good people. I don’t care about the rest.  That shouldn’t define if you get more or less opportunities. It’s just that simple.

 Can you tell us a bit about your studio, Crybaby Ink?

I answered about how we opened, but Crybaby Ink is the first and only LGBTQIA owned and operated studio in Oklahoma. It can be risky business here to do that.  I think the only reason we haven’t been messed with is because we are a tattoo shop.  It’s the one place where the stigma behind tattoo shops protects us a bit.  But it was important for us either way to make a home for people who needed it. To feel safe to get a tattoo.  Which is a crazy concept because everyone should feel safe.

We have a lot of clients who have just now started getting tattooed because they never felt safe enough to walk into a shop without being harassed, or they’re clients that have had really bad experiences in other shops.  It’s nice to provide a gentle, calm and safe place for others to be able to express themselves. And we all laugh because if they’re a “crybaby”, it’s ok.  I’m not here to tell you not to be!  Tattoos hurt and you’re in the right place. Besides, say what you will but anyone getting a tattoo has points in my book. That’s a gnarly thing to do and it takes a bit of guts to modify your body permanently.

What is the tattoo scene like in Tulsa?

It’s a very split batch. You have those who are about human rights and those who aren’t and aren’t afraid to let the world know. But outside of that, Tulsa has amazing artists. We are fortunate to have a lot of artists who are here to continue their education and learn more and more about tattooing to keep their skill set growing. It’s great to see so many in love with it.

 How long have you been tattooing, and what is your favourite style?

I’ve tattooed for ten years now. I think if I had to choose a style it would be mixed media because it allows me to play in a lot of styles at one time.

 How many tattoos do you have, and is there a favourite?

I have quite a few.  I’m not sure how many though I could always use more. I think my favorite tattoo would be a tattoo my wife did on my wrist that says “I got your 6” in her chicken scratch handwriting. It’s a great reminder that my best friend and wife has my back, and to keep pushing this company even on the days I’m tired.  Did I mention EVERYTHING is handmade ??? So her handwriting is a great reminder to work hard for us.

Which tattoo artists are doing amazing work right now?

Who isn’t ?! I’m bombarded with so much amazing work every day it’s hard to keep up with.  Also it makes me want to work harder for my own art. I love seeing all levels of tattooing and all styles.  Some of my favorite artists are of course Mike Randazzo, Alexandria Fische, InkbyPlush, Plushie Ink, Jay Freestyle, and Neon Judas. I mean, I could go on for days about how many artists I really enjoy!

 What do you think will be the next big thing in tattooing?

This is tough because it always takes me by surprise.  I’m sure it’ll be a mixed media type style with more twists and unique additions.

What do you get up to outside of work?

I love to shoot pool. I think between pool, vintage shopping and car shows is where we spend a lot of our time.

Will we see the Crybaby team at any conventions this year?

Yes! We do our home show Homeward Bound Tattoo Expo and we are doing the Orlando Tattoo Show as well as hopefully Anime Ink Con.

Can we expect any new products from Crybaby?

Of course!  We are always trying new things and working towards that. We really take all the feedback we can. So when something is lacking in the industry, we try to help out and see what we can come up with.

What’s next for Nico Fedelle, and for Crybaby?

Hopefully just doing this. I really want to see how far we can push Crybaby and how much we can do with it. I want us to be accessible all over the world.  It takes time when you’re a small business. And we are hopeful to be able to make it all happen!

Huge thanks to Nico for answering all of our questions and painting a picture of this unique brand.

Find Crybaby Glide and Stencil Bond on the Killer Ink shop, or follow the brand on Instagram for future updates and sick tattoos!