Sara Fitzell and her son Jurell opened S.F Ink Kanohi me Tinana just four months after the country came out of lockdown.
It's what earned them a nomination last year in the Rotorua Business Awards.
This year, the family owned and operated business has been nominated a second time for the NZME People's Choice Award.
Fitzell says following the death of her eldest brother, she had a "huge reality check" catapulting her into what she's currently doing.
"At that stage everybody was in a real bad state. If it wasn't him, it would have been me, at that time, and just seeing the devastation to the family," she said. "After that I ended up leaving the job I was at. I was then pregnant with my second son, and we were struggling, we were struggling really bad."
During lockdown, Fitzell had trouble finding work from home, so she decided to do something about it.
"During Covid I decided to make face masks. I have lots of friends that work in supermarkets, the hospital and all of that, so I then started making them face masks.
"We ended up making over 1000 masks, and from that we were able to open up S.F Ink," she said.
The business' newest tattoo apprentice is Fitzell's 18-year-old son Jurell. He also designs their label, Royal. Although school didn't suit Jurell, he discovered that he loves design.
"I've always loved drawing. Then Mum started doing tattoos, so I started getting into that. Now one of my dreams is to become a tattooist."
Jurell has suffered from ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) for much of his life, and has a message for other young people on the spectrum.
"There will be a job out there that's linked to what you are good at and what you might want to do, so keep going," he said.
Voting for the People's Choice Award closes on August 9.
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