Returning with a koi carp tattoo from The Family Business

Doesn’t time fly when you’re stressed?! I can’t believe it’s been over two months since I’ve blogged, it seems like it’s been a couple of weeks and forever at the same time. I won’t bore you with the details of my AWOL adventures but if you missed me, make sure you’re following me on Twitter and Instagram, which are updated daily even when I don’t have time to blog.

The good news is I’m back now and I’ve got tons of exciting things to write about, but I’m going to start with sharing my latest tattoo. I recently blogged about the butterfly tattoo I got last year and since then I’ve been planning my next one, which I wanted to cover up the first tattoo I ever got. I had it done on a whim and didn’t think too much about the design and just walked into a studio – do not ever get something so permanent on a whim and without making sure they’re a good artist! I learnt my lesson and did meticulous research before getting my butterfly tattoo which really paid off.  

This time around, I wanted a Japanese-inspired tattoo and had a few ideas but the one thing I knew for certain is that I wanted Mo Coppoletta from The Family Business to tattoo me. As one of the world’s most well respected artists as well as a specialist in Japanese tattoos, it was a no brainer. After a lengthy consultation (cover up work is always pretty tricky), we settled on a koi fish with some cherry blossoms.

Koi tattoos are incredibly beautiful, the intricacies and angles always make for a really striking piece of proper art. Beyond aesthetics, I also really love the symbolism behind koi fish. They symbolise good fortune and good luck as well as strength and courage. This stems from a Japanese legend which states that a koi fish tried to climb up a waterfall on the Yellow River, persevering against a heavy current to reach the top of the falls to become a dragon. The addition of cherry blossom in the design softens a traditionally male symbol, working well both aesthetically and symbolically, as cherry blossoms bloom for an incredibly short time, thus symbolising the transience of life – for me it’s a reminder of the fleeting beauty of life and that nothing is permanent.

The story of overcoming adversity and having the determination to achieve really resonated with me. As much as the butterfly tattoo is a reminder to keep faith and embrace change and transformations within life, the koi is a reminder to endure through tough times and always strive for better while the cherry blossom enriches the meaning of both the koi and butterfly.

Several weeks on and I’m still absolutely thrilled with the result. Mo has done a fantastic job with the koi and I’m beyond happy with it, it’s better than I could have ever imagined. In addition to the being brilliant at actual tattoos, Mo and the team at The Family Business are a real breath of fresh air. I’ve been in tattoo studios before which are akin to going into a boutique on Bond Street; you just don’t feel welcome or at ease which is exceptionally important if you’re going to sit there for hours getting a tattoo. Every single person at The Family Business is so nice and welcoming, especially Mo who is ridiculously down to Earth and one of the most genuine people I have met in London. He knew I wanted to get my tattoo sooner rather than later and was super accommodating.

Needless to say, I’m already starting to think about my next tattoo and will without a doubt be visiting Mo. I could not recommend him orThe Family Businesshigh enough, if you’re in London and want a tattoo; this is the studio you need to visit.

Reena Rai

Reena Rai is a 30-something London-based fashion, travel and lifestyle blogger. She has been blogging for 10 years (!), previously at before launching her self-titled blog.



  1. Anonymous
    June 17, 2013 / 5:33 pm

    if you think that's a nice tattoo, then you are seriously mistaken

  2. WendyB
    June 17, 2013 / 5:38 pm

    Looks great! Did it make you nuts to have that one you didn't like all this time? I feel like that would make me go crazy!

  3. where did you buy that?
    June 18, 2013 / 8:52 am

    Thank God you're back! Where have you been?? ( er hem lol) Thoroughly missed habibi xx

  4. Emma Louise Layla
    June 18, 2013 / 12:49 pm

    Wow! Love that you've obviously thought long and hard about the design and what it means. Looks fab, ELL x

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