Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the recruitment and selection procedures employed in the body art sector. Design/methodology/approach: Qualitative interviews were conducted with the owners/managers of eight body art studios located across the USA and the UK. Findings: The results suggest that recruitment and selection in the body art sector is characteristically informal and instinctive. It was also found that the use of formal methods of recruitment and selection in one of the case studies appeared to enhance difficulties in attracting and retaining talent. Practical/implications: The research corroborates the argument that smaller firms employ HRM strategies that are distinct from larger firms. But, more importantly, it also suggests that firm size could be a red herring in light of the various other factors that simultaneously influence HR service delivery. Originality/value: This paper explores HRM practices in a hitherto unstudied sector of the economy. It also adds another layer of complexity to the academic debates surrounding HRM in small- and medium-sized enterprises.