Golden Fleece Tattoo & Piercing, a new, local tattoo and piercing studio has accomplished no easy feat — launching a new local business in the face of a global pandemic.

Co-founders Paul “Flatfish” Ulrich and Daniel Sayegh, opened their business in December 2020. Their new shop, located at 5 Court St. in Downtown Binghamton, provides the services of both Ulrich, the resident tattoo artist, and Sayegh, the resident piercing artist, who have a combined 10 years of experience in the body modification industry. Ulrich says that Golden Fleece Tattoo & Piercing is an establishment backed with passion, cleanliness and extensive experience.

“Our goal is to create a bright and welcoming space for people and the community to come and get a great tattoo or piercing experience in Downtown Binghamton, with a focus on clean and sanitary practices,” Ulrich wrote in an email. “Our love and passion for Binghamton goes deep, and we wish to put that forth with our studio!”

Ulrich explained how running this type of business has been difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic, but asserted that the sanitation standards have always been high for the two artists.

“We have both been taught by some amazing mentors — all of whom are skilled veterans of the industry — on how to keep a studio clean and sanitary per session,” Ulrich said. “We regularly check the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and New York state’s updated guidelines to ensure we are providing safe and allowable practices to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our clientele. We use as much single-use materials and [personal protective equipment] as possible to prevent any cross-contamination between appointments, disinfect all working surfaces and sterilize all tools after each use.”

Because of the current public health crisis, Golden Fleece Tattoo & Piercing has added new safety precautions, such as halting certain services that would put their clients and other employees at risk. Ulrich stated that “mutual safety is a primary concern for us.”

“We’ve also tried to limit the number of guests and in-person consultations and do not take walk-ins to ensure the minimal amount of people are present at a given time,” Ulrich said. “We regularly get ourselves tested for [COVID-19] and always appreciate when our clients do the same as well! In fact, some procedures require a negative-resulting test before we feel any safe action can be taken.”

The dedication to safety protocols and the artists’ work itself has caught the attention of some Binghamton University students. Madison DellaMedaglia, a junior majoring in economics, said Golden Fleece Tattoo & Piercing’s work is not only well done, but safe.

“All of the artists’ work, judging from their Instagram page, is incredible,” DellaMedaglia said. “I could see myself going there for either a tattoo or piercing service, specifically there, because, again, I appreciate their [COVID-19] protocols of only having one person besides the artists in the shop at a time. They seem to take their safety extremely seriously, which helps bring comfort to customers especially during these scary times.”

Anna Shaheen, a senior majoring in environmental science, received a piercing service from Sayegh. Shaheen “highly recommended” the shop to those wanting a piercing or tattoo as a result of the professionalism she experienced during her appointment.

“[Sayegh] was so kind and professional and showed me all of the sanitization requirements of the tools, and explained each step of the piercing process,” Shaheen wrote in an email. “I have many other piercings, but this was the first one where I fully invested in quality jewelry. The options for jewelry were very diverse and artful. Although my piercing was quite expensive, I feel it was worth it, as it is healing wonderfully. [Sayegh] gave me saline cleaning spray for it as well. Overall, [Sayegh] is someone who wants to provide a great experience for his guests — he told me this himself.”

Shaheen expressed her support for the business and, based on her experience, believed that Golden Fleece Tattoo & Piercing is a reliable business for college students seeking body modification services.

“I love when new business comes into Binghamton,” Shaheen wrote. “College students love body modification, and it’s reassuring to know that they’ll go to a place that’s safe and professional. I know many college towns that have cheaper options and leave students with infected, botched work that they regret later on.”

Looking forward, Ulrich said Golden Fleece Tattoo & Piercing plans on growing as a business with the COVID-19 pandemic beginning to be remedied by the vaccination effort.

“We hope that vaccinations will continue to rise in Binghamton, and, over time, possibly ease some measures for our clients as the conditions of the pandemic changes so that they can have a more relaxed experience during their time in our studio,” Ulrich said. “[Golden Fleece Tattoo & Piercing] is still quite new, so there’s still plenty of work to do in order to flesh out the options we will have available for anyone interested in our services, including an expanding array of quality body jewelry and roster of tattoo artists to select from.”

For those interested in Golden Fleece Tattoo & Piercing, more information can be found on their Facebook page, “Golden Fleece Tattoo & Piercing,” and their Instagram and TikTok accounts @goldenfleecetattoo. They can also be reached by phone at (607) 217-4040.