Louisa Kleinert is a practitioner of the restorative arts.
Her journey has been anything but predictable, and still, she arrived at the exact place she was meant to be and is changing lives.
Born into a family of driven, compassionate healers Louisa grew up cultivating the desire to use her skills to make a positive difference in the world around her. Art was her passion and after completing an undergraduate degree at Centre College, she followed that passion to the Art Institute of Philadelphia, one of the oldest and most prestigious art schools in the country. She became a classically trained oil painter, adding beauty to the world one piece at a time. And she was good.
So good that she set out to make it her full time career and was successful until life threw a wrench in the plan, calling her home to Louisville by way of NYC, to care for her mother during a battle with breast cancer. It was that unexpected season that became the conduit to her current work, empowering survivors of breast cancer with post-mastectomy tattoos.
After a family friend suggested Louisa advance her training as a make-up artist in the emerging industry of permanent make-up, she set out to explore the world of body art. Art on the human canvas quickly ignited her creative soul, which had been tempered by the loss of her father followed quickly by her mother’s cancer diagnosis all in a short period of time.
She discovered that mastectomy tattoos, the creation of the image of a realistic nipple on post-mastectomy reconstruction patients, was her true calling. Louisa pursued advanced training and mentorship in tattooing and took steps to found a different type of tattoo shop in Louisville, that would specialize in nipple tattoos, plus permanent make-up and body art.
Bluebird Ink Beautique has its home in what she, and other residents, affectionately call BuLu, that strip of Main St. between Market and Washington, transitioning from NuLu to Butchertown. Nested above Red Hot Roasters, Bluebird is a haven for both women and men seeking a partner in the process of self-evolution and renewed beauty. The space is inviting, bright, open, and peaceful. She designed it that way on purpose, to be a place that anyone could feel comfortable, especially those who would not feel comfortable in most tattoo shops. This is especially important for those clients seeking closure on their cancer journey.
Bluebird Ink Beautique (Photo Credit: Mag O Lince Photography)
When a woman is referred to Louisa, primarily through word of mouth in the survivor community, she knows that they could be coming from a wide variety of places on the spectrum of emotions that accompany the stages of cancer diagnosis and treatment. Some are still angry, others sad, some accepting, all resilient and ready to reclaim an aspect of their femininity stolen from them by disease.
Louisa takes the time to hear every woman’s story, as much as they choose to share, learning who they are, what is important to them, and what they hope to receive through nipple tattoo reconstruction. She then talks them through identifying how they want their nipples to be. Maybe they want to recall the detail of their original nipples, from texture to color, reflecting every detail of what was lost. They are also free to make changes, or create a piece of art in place of the nipple, whatever they wish. The ultimate point is that the process empowers them to move forward however they choose to do so, owning the experience, celebrating survival, and stepping confidently into a future where they are every bit the women they were before…perhaps more.
Louisa shares these tattoos, per posting guidelines, on social media so that other survivors can know this restorative service is available, but Instagram and Facebook have been flagging her images and freezing her accounts repeatedly over the last year. We heard about this censorship and knew we had to help tell her story to be sure no woman missed out on the opportunity to have this life changing service just because it has become harder for Bluebird to spread the word.
Listen in on this week’s episode of the #502LeaderSeries Podcast as we chat with Louisa about her full story, the founding of Bluebird Ink Beautique, and her dreams for the future of this restorative art!
Clients of all genders seek other services at Bluebird. From busy women looking to streamline their daily routine through the addition of permanent eyeliner, brow or lip enhancement, to those seeking an addition to their personal permanent art gallery, Louisa meets each client where they are, seeking to give them results that will bring them joy for the rest of their lives. Appointments are recommended. Go to BluebirdInked.com or call (502)609-2395 to learn more or request a consultation/appointment. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org!