September has been a very busy month. The Rogues were very privileged to attend conferences in both Essen, Germany and Manchester, UK! Veteran conference attendees Aiden and Breo flew out to the annual BMXNet conference held in Essen to learn more about the fascinating world of body modifications, including suspension demonstrations and piercing technique workshops.
Almost as soon as they arrived back, the whole team drove to Manchester for the UKAPP conference. First time attendees, Jay, Kat and Gemma finished the Saturday shift and headed out – notebooks at the ready! A hectic month requires plenty of time to reflect, absorb and process and with so much learnt and so many new experiences shared, the team have taken a moment to jot down some thoughts about September’s conference season.
My first time away for a UKAPP conference was absolutely crazy, but in the best way imaginable! When we first arrived on Saturday night, I was super nervous and tired from a busy day at the studio, followed immediately by the 2.5 hour drive to Manchester. So I called it a night early and was tucked up in bed by 11pm (after a quick trip to Spar for some snacks)!
And then, it was Sunday morning! We got up, took Aiden’s dogs for a walk and headed to the venue for registration. I kicked off my first day with an amazing class by Edu Fernandez about the dark side of diamonds! I went off to Greggs, and this is where I started talking to people and making some friends. It really helped my confidence, and from there I introduced myself to as many people as possible!
The afternoon was kickstarted with another amazing class from Suzanne Wise, educating us all about health considerations with piercings – I got so many notes! This was followed by THE Paul King, talking to us about the history of pierced women in porn. This was a huge fan girl moment for me and I stayed behind afterwards to ask some questions! I nearly died when he shook my hand!
I couldn’t have asked for a better first start to the conference, which then got even better in the evening! After a lovely meal (thank you Aiden :)) we headed towards the Stiletto after party, where I got to talk to a few more piercers! And, HUGE FANGIRL MOMENT, I got to take a photo with AIDEN AND PAUL KING, on stage!! I was weak at the knees!
Day two, the excitement had definitely cooled down a little bit, however I got to do some more amazing classes! Huge thank you to Nahuel Burgos, Paul King, and Jess Sellars for their very informative classes.
And then before I knew it, it was already the final day! Started it off right with a trip to Starbucks and a great introduction to high-end jewellery class from Alex Wilkins! The afternoon was swiftly followed by a super educational class by the wonderful Helen Houghton, all about those lumps and bumps! And then we ended the day with another history lesson by Paul King, all about The Incredible Til of Cardiff! Afterwards, I got to talk a little more to him regarding how to start my own research projects and even got to give him some stickers! And that was it!
My highlights were definitely meeting Paul King, and making some incredible new piercer friends, as well as collecting loads of stickers! Huge shoutout to Lindsey at Neometal, and Damien at Neilmed! And the guys from People’s Jewelry! You were all so amazing, and lovely! I really wish I’d had more time to properly speak to everyone, but that’s what next year is for right?
It was my third time attending the BMXnet conference, my last one was back in 2016. There are a lot of friends that I only can see when meet up at this conference, so it was awesome to catch up with them after many years. It’s a huge event (this year we were around 470 participants).
The classes are more participative than other conferences, which is nice and the venue is just spectacular. We had free buffet (eat as much as you like), with plenty of vegan options. Classes start from 9am up to 8pm (around 2 hours each class), and with breaks in between so you can attend as many as you want. People come from all over the world to this annual gathering (we had a piercer that came all the way from Mumbai!). We met a lot of new faces indeed.
Jewellery vendors were distributed over 2 floors (the building has 6 floors), because there was A LOT OF JEWELLERY BRANDS selling! We got a few treats for ourselves, loved ones and friends. I only have good memories from this conference, it’s one of my favourites by far.
Now onto UKAPP, what to say… playing at home is always awesome. This year was very special to me, because not only did I have my partner in crime assisting as a vendor (Claudia of Inari) but the whole Rogue team was there. It was the first time for Gemma, Jay and Kat (just the first of many to come), with a special mention to Kat, who attended as speaker. Words cannot tell how proud I was seeing them talking about wound healing dynamics. Thorough and technical, just the way we like it.
Conference was at the Radisson Hotel, which is located in central Manchester. It’s smaller than BMXNet, but cosier. It was incredibly awesome seeing how the conference grew through the years, despite a global pandemic. There is nothing bad to say about the UKAPP Conference, maybe that it is just 3 days long. 3 days that, if you blink, you definitely will miss something! Usually there is so much going on at the same time at conferences, that it is hard to do everything you planned, but the UKAPP Conference is one of those that is structured in a way that all the classes don’t overlap with other activities on the schedule, which is great.
Like many people, I’ve struggled with social anxiety for over a decade and attending my first large conference was a really big achievement both professionally and personally. I cannot thank everyone enough for being so supportive and understanding. It’s been years since I’ve visited Manchester and it was great to return to the city (under wildly different circumstances).
Every class I attended was eye opening. From learning how to better identify the causes and preventions for piercing lumps and bumps thanks to Helen, seeing different techniques and approaches to nostril piercings from Stray, all the way through the three history classes presented by Paul King – every class I attended was full of fascinating information and helpful knowledge that I can’t wait to bring to my piercing. I particularly enjoyed Nahuel’s class on piercing before the 20th century and can’t wait to do some further reading on our worldwide history!
I met so many amazing people, from all over the world and it was great to hear their stories, opinions and accents. I’ve missed the North! It was overwhelming at first to meet so many industry professionals that I have admired, some from even before I picked up a needle. Everyone who took the time to chat with me was so lovely and I’m very grateful to work in an industry with such interesting people. I really loved spending time with Andre (@andrenalinbodyart) and Loreia (@unknownpleasurespiercing) and I can’t wait to see you both again soon (BMXNET 2023?).
This year was my first year attending the UKAPP conference. Although we were members last year, I was unable to attend due to covid restrictions so it was super exciting to be able to go this year! Although I was pretty nervous, I was also incredibly thrilled to be teaching a class this year. My class was ‘Immunology and Wound Healing Dynamics,’ which went down very well! The class actually topped out in attendance so I hope to be able to offer it again next year so that more people can attend that want to learn about science and piercing.
Aside from being a speaker, I also had the pleasure of being the chief purchaser of jewellery from the extensive jewellery expo! We have new stock from Dusk Body Jewellery, Sebastienne Jewellery, Industrial Strength and Anatometal which is all available in store and on the webstore as well. I really hope you all like what I’ve chosen! The classes were also awesome this year. I made a point to attend as many as my schedule would allow, so I attended classes covering Professional Boundaries (David Angeles), Jewellery Handling and Manipulation (Stray and Aiden Johnson), Better Basics (Stray Johnson and David Angeles), Initial Jewellery Standards (Brian Skellie), Ethical Gold (Edu Fernandez), and a history of the Incredible Till of Cardiff (Paul King).
Each class was incredibly valuable in their own right – I couldn’t pick a favourite! It was insightful to meet some of the names I had until now only seen and talked to over the internet. Brian Skellie was just as calm, well-spoken and intelligent as he is online! It was also very cool to meet some fellow members of the industry and get talking. Thank you to everyone who came up and said hi! My favourite moment was definitely the Themed Ball, where David Angeles attended dressed as a mermaid – David Clam-geles. I am very proud of that pun, just so you know!
Conference season came and went in a blur this year. Breo and myself headed to BMXNet first, where we got to spend time with some old friends as well as make some new friends. We took classes and waxed lyrical into the night with our European and international peers and it felt like returning home after all the lockdowns. Before we knew it we were making our way back to the UK for a quick intermission.
I did my CBT and motorbike theory tests (passed both!) and then it was time to pack the car and head to UKAPP. I couldn’t be more proud of how the Rogues handled themselves this year. Breo and myself are veteran conference attendees but the rest of the team were first timers. I was the AV volunteer for UKAPP conference again this year so I was generally busy setting up classes and making the tech work but every time I saw a Rogue, they were asking questions and introducing themselves to people as well as asking for interviews (well done Gemma!). Seeing Jay become a fan girl and go up on stage to get a photo with Paul King is one of my top two highlights of UKAPP. The other would be seeing Kat teach their first class and blow the minds of piercers. I was nervous taking such a large team but they all did perfectly and I look forward to them all returning next year!
To all the volunteers, vendors, board members and attendees at both BMXnet and UKAPP conference this year for making it a great experience for everyone. And thank you to our clients and industry peers, as without all of your support we wouldn’t have the opportunity to travel, learn and continue providing high quality and high standard professional piercing in the heart of Nottinghamshire. It means the absolute world to us to be able to continue to be at the forefront of safe piercing practices in the UK and across the world. See you all again next year!