I got into the piercing industry in 2005, I started the proper way, with an apprenticeship at a near-by shop that was higher end on piercings. I then started my long days of watching and helping around the shop, and my longer nights researching different piercings, methods, and parts of the anatomy. But all that hard work in my mind would be well worth it, as I had looked at a lot of other jobs, and tried a lot of jobs, but this was the only one for me. And to be frank, I don't have any heroes or inspirations. But I do have admiration for those who know more than I, those experienced in this industry, and I take everything they tell me seriously.
Q. Is the industry like you thought it would be ? What surprised you about it?
Not at all. Before I started, I thought every shop got along, everyone shared tips, and respected each other... Not really the case.
I learned through an apprenticeship and through practice on myself, then friends. If I couldn't do it on myself first, I shouldn't be doing it on other people.
Q. Did you start off piercing full or part time?
I started off full time, but it wasn't for a little bit I actually started piercing.
Q. Was it difficult to build a portfolio?
I'm still not done building a portfolio haha... It takes years to do it. I don't think I will ever be done building it either.
Q. How did you get in touch with clients initially, is it different now?
I just tried new things out on myself, new things I could do at least. And just found friends willing for me to practice on. Basically now, people just walk in.
Almost everyday, about 50% of clients are terrified about getting a piercing. The best way is to tell them the truth, tell them healing, pain. I find people who come in with there partners are usually a lot better, because they comfort each other. But just letting them know everything you are doing, and walking them through it, seems to be the best way.
Q. Do you prefer piercing men or women or doesn't it matter - who responds better?
I find women actually seem to handle procedures better, because they are more open to how they are doing, and more willing to inform me if they have passed out before during a piercing.
Q. Do you perform all piercings or are there some you just won't do - is it ok to turn a customer away or direct them somewhere else?
I perform most piercings, with the exception of obvious ones such as the Sub-Clavicle, it's a high risk procedure with almost guaranteed complications. Other ones I won't do are the Tongue Fraenulum (web), and if the anatomy of the person will cause future complications I will not do it.
Q. How important is using the right equipment, and how did you afford it initially?
The right equipment is crucial to the success of a piercing. If they jewellery isn't long enough, embedding may be problem. If it's to thin for the placement, tearing of the skin could be a problem. And that's just with jewellery, not taking into account different types of metal used in the production of the jewellery. And I could only afford a little bit of equipment at a time. However when I started working at the new studio, my boss pays for my equipment.
Q. How important is hygiene?
Hygiene is extremely important in this industry... We are dealing with open wounds. Blood borne pathogens are a major concern, with the safety of yourself and the client.
Q. What was the hardest thing to learn technically?
Getting over the fear of screwing up, because everyone in this industry has a *** up now and again, it's impossible not to have one. But trying to get over the fact, and realise what made it screw up, so you can correct it in the future.
Q. What advice would you give on how to find work as a piercer?
Just basically research an area, see if piercings are in demand or not, and check prices on basic piercings with other shops. It will give you an idea of the demand. If basic piercings are a low price, then demand probably isn't high.
It is a extremely competitive industry, most other piercers almost hate each other. It seems common to bash other studios. I don't have a problem with anyone who isn't *** up someone else's body. If there is a piercer putting out high quality work... They are fine by me, because it's the quality that counts.
Q. Do people treat you differently when they find out you're a piercer, how did your friends and family see your choice of career?
Not really, they are usually more pulled back by my appearance. My family wasn't very happy with my choice, but they support it. However my friends usually get jealous of my job haha.
Q. What's your proudest piercing achievement so far?
Probably being able to tell a customer everything that goes on with the piercing.
Q. What are the best & worst things about the industry?
Worst thing is probably that this whole industry is at the mercy of the local economy. If people don't have money, they won't be getting work done. The best thing is probably being able to travel and work around different areas.
Q. What would you like to achieve in piercing in future?
I will never be the best in the world, but I will try to be!
Q. If you had one piece of advice to give people who want to become a piercer, what would it be?
Work hard! You will never improve, unless you try to learn. We are never done learning.
You can see more of Apollo's work here
People are waiting to help.