Whoever tattoos and gets a tattoo cannot get past Cheyenne. Within a few years, the German brand Cheyenne advanced to the market leader for professional tattoo equipment. This was achieved by concentrating on three simple but essential goals: quality, innovation and user focus.
Cheyenne did not originally come out of the tattoo world, which is criticized by some traditionalists. MT.DERM GmbH based in Berlin is the company behind the Cheyenne brand and has been active in the fields of medical technology and cosmetics for over 20 years now. Shortly after the turn of the millennium the idea came up to use the know-how for innovative permanent make-up equipment to make the life of tattoo artists easier, safer and more comfortable.
In 2006, Cheyenne introduced the CONDOR, the first mass-produced tattoo machine whose drive concept is not based on coils but on an electric motor. Some early adaptors immediately knew where the journey was headed. With the needle cartridge system invented by Cheyenne, it was now possible to change needles in just a few seconds. You only needed one machine for your work and not a separate one for each needle configuration as before. In addition, a completely new level of hygiene and safety was achieved with these innovative needle cartridges.
With Cheyenne’s invention of the cartridge system, the needles are pushed out of the cartridge housing by the machine’s push bar and the safety membrane, a mechanism created and patented by Cheyenne, to retract the needle back into the cartridge. This biocompatible silicone membrane not only pulls the needles back into the cartridge, its critical function is sealing. Cheyenne’s safety membrane prevents pigment, blood and other body fluids from entering the grips as well as the machines and minimizes cross-contamination. This system is copied by almost all cartridge manufacturers today because Cheyenne’s invention is the best choice for safe tattooing.
Ganso Galvao, tattoo artist from Brazil, gets to the point when he says: “The needles are sharp, precise and hygienic. I never have to worry about ink flowing back into the machine, and the fact that I can change the needles quickly is a bonus.”
But the Condor still suffered from a few teething troubles. Its performance did not yet allow a comprehensive replacement of the equipment used so far. In addition, its handiness was still far from what one is used to from Cheyenne today. With the introduction of the HAWK tattooing was raised to a completely new ergonomic level. A significantly lower weight as well as hardly noticeable vibrations, compared to coil machines, allow long tattoo sessions with highest precision without tiring.
Sunny Bhanushali from India describes his experience with Cheyenne as follows: “When I first got my hands on Cheyenne tattoo equipment, it felt like a powerful extension of my hands. Super easy, light weight, powerful like a beast, but still calm and soft when it counts. I have not used anything else since. Anyway, I believe that German technology is far better than any other on the market, and the same goes for tattoo equipment. When you work with Cheyenne equipment, you spend very little time maintaining your machines. Instead, you concentrate more on your artistic skills.”
But innovation is not everything. Cheyenne owes its success to the work of a visionary. His name is Konrad Lackner. He recognized the value of the permanent make-up experience and saw its value to the tattoo market. Until then, motor-driven machines had only been used in the field of permanent make-up, and so many tattoo artists looked doubtfully to critically at the use of the rotary for “real tattoos”. When Cheyenne opposed the well-tried coil machine with the motor-driven rotary, Konrad was the one who could break the initial skepticism of tattoo artists by traveling the whole world and convincing tattoo artists to try the Cheyenne HAWK. Konrad Lackner helped Cheyenne go down in the history of the tattoo scene. Unfortunately, he passed away 3 years ago.
After the HAWK, Cheyenne introduced two derivatives: The HAWK Spirit with 2.5 mm stroke, which shows its strength in shading and the HAWK Thunder with 4.0 mm stroke for rich lines and sophisticated color packing. These machines are still in the Cheyenne range today. They form a very good basis for entering the world of rotary machines and are the most sold tattoo machines worldwide.
Jay Freestyle says: “My art derives from the combination of so many styles and techniques, I need a machine which is diverse enough to help me accomplish any technique, accurately and efficiently. From fine detailed lines, to thick bold outlines, solid color packing to soft shading, dot work to brush strokes, Cheyenne does it all. I’ve stated before that to me Cheyenne is the Apple of the tattoo industry, they are the market leaders in innovative technology. Being an innovative artist myself I need to work with a company that can create the tools needed to push the boundaries of tattooing.”
Felix Seele, Blackwork artist from Berlin, agrees: “Cheyenne is the perfect equipment for me, because as a new generation tattoo artist I am not so interested in machines and mechanical backgrounds. For me a tattoo machine is a tool to tattoo. Therefore, it is important for me that the machine and its handling is so easy. And these are the Cheyenne machines.”
To give this to the artist, Cheyenne introduced the HAWK Pen in 2014. For the first time, a machine was developed that follows the shape of a pen, blurring the boundaries between drawing and tattooing and ensure optimal freedom of movement. This innovative and award-winning design has been copied countless times to this day.
Bob Tyrrell, black & grey icon from the USA says: “Cheyenne have always been the game-changer in the business. They dedicate themselves to make the artists the best they can be. I use Cheyenne HAWK Pen, which is the only machine I need. Combined with the cartridge system, you just simply cannot beat the convenience. It also helps me save a bunch of time, my clients can thus sit better during sessions.”
In 2018 Cheyenne created a new product family with the SOL Nova. The SOL line now includes four models that are among Cheyenne’s most innovative tattoo machines. All models are equipped with high quality BLDC motors and perfectly balanced drive mechanisms for unmatched low vibration and quiet operation. The newly introduced Steady Mode ensures a constant and powerful hit at work despite all the noise. But if you like it softer, you can also switch Luna, Terra and Nova Unlimited to the Responsive Mode, you are used to from the machines in the HAWK line, where frequency and hit of the tattoo machine react to the surface conditions of the skin.
With the already mentioned SOL Nova Unlimited, Cheyenne was the first well-known manufacturer to introduce a battery-powered tattoo machine suitable for series production in early 2020. Due to the now missing power cord, tattooing has never been easier, more intuitive and freer – an unlimited experience, as Cheyenne writes in the advertising text. But removing the power cord is not Cheyenne’s only innovation that finds its way into the Unlimited. After all, a battery-powered machine must house all the functions of a power supply that Cheyenne makes accessible with just one button and motion control. Last but not least, its design was awarded the Red Dot Design Award.
In addition to Cheyenne’s claim to innovation and user focus, quality and safety are also of paramount importance. MT.DERM GmbH is the only company in our industry whose quality management system is certified according to the medical standard ISO 13485. This is another point, besides the innovative products, why the voices criticizing Cheyenne’s cosmetic background are getting quieter and quieter.
Justin Hartman describes his experiences like this: “After seeing the process, the needle cartridges go through at the Cheyenne factory, I never have to worry about the quality of the cartridges. I’ve never been disappointed in the product.”
And Benny Pearce from Australia sums it up aptly when he says: “Cheyenne is the top of the game for a reason!”
In about a decade, Cheyenne has managed to develop from a nobody to a gamechanger in a completely new market and achieve leadership. They owe this to a dedicated team, a disproportionately high reinvestment in research and development and above all the fact that they listen to the tattooists and translate their wishes into new products.
MT.DERM has been owner-managed since the beginning and defies takeover attempts of all investment groups in our industry to remain true to its goal: the best, safest and most comfortable tattoo equipment made in Germany, MADE FOR ARTISTS!