As we slowly start our transition from Summer to Autumn, and the pace in the studio slowly starts to change with the return of students and the hustle and bustle of city life, the team at Rogue are distracted with big plans. September is officially conference season! You may remember a blog from last September (Conference Time!) that was written by Gemma, detailing everyone’s learning experiences. Well, for this blog post I’m going to be sharing all my excitement from my very first conference (and travel) outside of the UK.
Earlier this year I attended the UK Piercing Trade Show alongside Inari Organics as a vendor. I got talking to the wonderful Damien from Neilmed and StockoThePiercer, who were both trying to convince me to travel to Germany for this years BMXnet. I had absolutely no plans to do any travelling outside of the UK this year, and definitely had my eyes set on the UKAPP’s conference in Manchester once again.
Around a month or two later during a monthly staff meeting, we were discussing this years conference season. It was decided that we as a team were all travelling to UKAPP together. Aiden, Breo and Kat are all teaching classes this year, and Gemma and myself are helping Hika (QueenofTheAshes Jewellery) on the vendor floor, as well as attending other classes. Because Gemma had recently travelled to the APP conference in Vegas (feel free to read about that here) after gaining a scholarship, and Breo has attended the the APPE conference in Spain, that meant that Aiden, Kat and myself got the opportunity to travel to Berlin for another conference.
And so I had to start planning. After only getting my passport in the January this year, traveling to Berlin was going to be my first time every leaving the country AND getting on a plane. I had absolutely no idea of what to expect (which does not work when you are a massive over planner).
I travelled to Manchester’s conference last year with a big suitcase and a big backpack, absolutely overfilled with everything I could possibly need. For Berlin, I had only a carry-on backpack! I genuinely thought it would be impossible. But, I did it! Packing only one outfit for each day, pyjamas, and a spare pair of shoes (which were very much needed in the 30+ degree heat) plus my very thought-out liquids bag. And thus the show began.
Alongside the three Rogues travelling to Berlin, the lovely Anna and her apprentice David from Revenant Tattoo were travelling for the Berlin Tattoo Convention. We got to book our hotel together, and we all got to be roommates in a sweet little hostel style hotel. They had a really good breakfast buffet included (although I did somehow manage to nearly break their toaster and start a fire by losing a slice of bread in the gap).
We also got to travel together, and even go an extra travel buddy with us too! Armelle from Death Ray Tattoo was also attending the Berlin Tattoo Convention and was booked on the same plane with us. We all met at the studio at 8 in the morning before getting a taxi to Manchester airport and flying out. I was super nervous about getting through the airport, it was very overwhelming and there was a lot to take in. Thankfully I was with very experienced travellers so I just had to follow the group and keep my cool. I got through airport security easy-peasy, and after only a small delay in the take off time, we were in the air! I was slightly nervous on the way up due to the pressure pushing me back into my seat, but once we levelled out I was absolutely fine! Well, until the descent… Everyone had forgotten to mention that I needed to ‘pop’ my ears, and on the way down I was not having a good time and was really struggling to hear for a few hours! Thankfully a nice comfortable sleep that night left me feeling well rested and back to normal. Once we got checked into the hotel we went and met Andre and Hika and a few other guys for a cheeky couple of drinks!
And so began my actual learning! Waking up at 7am Thursday morning, Rogue and Revenant split up. Aiden, Kat and myself caught the tram (the S-Bahn) to the gorgeous building where the conference was being held. Grabbing a Redbull on the way, we got to check in, grab our lanyards and some super sweet tote bags before going to town on breakfast. Scrambled eggs and bacon was a very much needed and appreciated start to my weekend in Berlin.
My first class was a really amazing bondage demonstration. We were outside in the gorgeous warm sunny air, and I genuinely couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. I then headed over to Andre and Jane’s class on the 101 basics of cartilage piercings, an Open Piercing workshop with Beppe, Cristiano and Sala, and finished off my first day with Nahuel’s history class on Body Piercing before the 20th century! Overall I couldn’t have asked for a better start. I had some super cheesy pasta for lunch, followed by cheesy potatoes for dinner and way too many Fritz-Kolas and Spritzers. Unlimited access to fizzy pop is a dangerous game!
In the evening Aiden, Anna, David, Armell and myself decided to have another cheeky pint in Berlin. We found a really cool little pub where we tried some German Bier, before deciding it was definitely food and bedtime. Doner Kebab in Germany is so much better than in the UK!
Friday was an absolutely insane day! I woke up feeling super ready, had some more eggs and crispy bacon and got started. I had some amazing classes such as the History of BodyMod in India by Jason (my absolute favourite class I’ve yet taken). I got to meet some amazing people and got talking to some new faces who I haven’t met yet! Friday was promptly finished with an early night in bed, fast asleep for 10/11pm!
Saturday morning I decided to take a browse around Berlin and have a small tour of Alexanderplatz. This was something I was really proud of. I’d never even left the country before and now I’m having a mini adventure in a random European city all by myself! I got myself an iced coffee and headed around. I got some sweet little fridge magnets for my family and got to see just how beautiful the city of Berlin is. I also took a sneaky little trip to the skate shop Titus, and had to stop myself buying a million new things that I definitely would not have been able to squeeze into my backpack!
I shortly headed back to the venue to finish off some more classes. I treated myself to some gorgeous new weights from Symmetry Body Jewellery (Queer/Revenge hearts), and some cute little Hinged Jewellery Hangers (The Ties That Bind) from Queen of The Ashes Jewellery! Saturday night was also show night, with performers from the Hullaballoo Cabaret, and it was absolutely phenomenal. I’m still absolutely amazed at the performances. 10/10!
Sunday was kind of heart breaking. Realising it was the final day, and the weekend was nearly over, I was determined to make the most of it. I attended some more amazing classes and spoke to some more amazing people before making the travel back home Monday morning.
With the sun beating down, and everyone basking in the heat like lizards on a rock, I even got a slight tan! Who would have thought! I had such an amazing time, I could talk about it forever (but this blog is already getting pretty long). A massive thank you to Aiden for giving me this opportunity, and to all the speakers, teams, volunteers and leaders at the conference who made it possible. I can’t wait to return in the future and do it all over again.
Four years ago, 6 Bridlesmith Walk was an empty unit. No floors, no rooms, just a man with a set of keys, two dogs and a vision. Today we are one of the largest UKAPP studios with 5 members, 4 piercers and the best clients any business could hope for. Rogue Piercing celebrates 4 years in Nottingham!
Rome might not have been built in a day but Aiden laid the floors, built the walls and had Rogue up and running in weeks. As a founding member of the UKAPP and an internationally travelling piercer and educator, he knew what he wanted Rogue to be. An inviting space for all looking for safe, high quaility body piercing performed by professionals who are passionate about their work.
As the team changed and grew, we’ve attended a number of international conferences, taught classes and met some amazing people. From Machester, Germany, Madrid and Las Vegas, our team have travelled a lot over the past few years. Anna of our sister studio Revenant Tattoo even visited Peru! Jet setting and #foreverlearning.
As our team has grown, so has our jewellery and our portfolios. It wouldn’t be a Rogue recap without a look back at some of our proudest work. Kat works hard as the Rogue jewellery specialist to order each piece of jewellery, specifically with our clients in mind. Catering to all aesthetics, budgets and colour schemes. Our cabinets are filled with hand-picked and hand-made pieces that are selected and displayed by Kat, purchased by our wonderful clients and installed by our piercing team.
Not only have we worked with some incredible pieces of jewellery, but Rogue has also grown to become one of the leading studios for large gauge and intimate piercing in the UK! Under the mentorship of Aiden and Breo, Gemma is now working on expanding her intimate portfolio. Although we won’t be showing any genital piercings here, we are eternally grateful for the trust of our clients and we are privelleged to a be a part of their journey. But hey, let’s have a look at some of the work we can show on the internet!
Jay is approaching their third and final apprentice year! They’ve tackled a lot since starting their journey but there’s no denying they have not only a passion but a genuine talent for body piercing. They are always striving for perfection and taking on board as much as possible to provide their clients with the most amazing experience. Next year Jay will be moving into the most advanced piercings available so keep an eye out for apprentice discounts and help Jay finish up in style!
Rogue has grown to be so much more than the team of five you see creeping around the studio. Over the years, we have welcomed a whole range of piercers into the studio for guest spots, events and general hanging out with industry folks! We’ve hosted Rae and Mari from Wales. Current UKAPP president David Angeles. Flavio from Brazil. Edu from Copenhagen. Jamie from San Francisco. Cat from London. Phebe and Olly from Norwich. Andre from Germany. Aiko from Belguim. And Alicia from Canada! That’s not to mention the amazing artists that Revenant has had visit and produce amazing art in their tattoo studio!
We also welcomed David to the Revenant studio! Although already established as an incredibly talented artist, David has joined Anna to begin his journey as a tattoo apprentice. We’re all very glad to have David and his snazzy shirts on board!
Over a decade in the making, Aiden has worked to create a space for practioners, facilitators and participants to come together do something awesome. Introducing the wonderful world of body suspesion to Rogue has been a long and life changing process but we have been fortunate enough to have amazing guidance and to bring that experience to the fine folk of Nottingham. The events hosted at Rogue have been a fantastic success and we aim to provide many more in the future! It’s been an uplifting journey so far. Pun intended.
Who knows what the next four years will bring. How the team will change. Where we will go next. One thing you can always be sure of, is we will continue to provide high quality, safe body piercings for every one. Rogue is a space you can be comfortable in. A studio where we are always striving for better. And we wouldn’t be here without our unbelievably supportive clients. Thank you to each and every person that has visited us over the years. Here’s to 4 more years!
It’s always daunting to speak with people that I really admire so I was incredibly honoured to spend some time chatting with Lynn Loheide and Ari Pimsler on behalf of the renowned archivist team at Sacred Debris. Sacred preserve and document all aspects of piercing and body modification past, present and future. Working alongside historian Shawn Porter to share the invaluable history of our industry, Lynn and Ari are integral entities in this world and it was a privilege to hear their take on body modification.
Lynn is a worldwide travelling piercer and educator. Ari works to support animal rights and piercers at Marigold Adornment in Vermont, USA.
G: Lynn, you’re involved in the body suspension world, do you want to talk a little about the global history of suspension?
L: I think one of the coolest things about being in suspension, especially modern suspension, is that it’s currently a very global thing. There’s teams literally all over the world. There’s international events. You can work with folks from everywhere. But also historically, it’s a very global thing.
I really like some of the more anthropological looks at piercing and modification. It’s so fascinating just how many different cultures had some variation or version of suspension or hook pull or flesh pull. It just really speaks to the amount of understanding and awareness. Of catharsis and awakening that the process of suspension brings to so many different people, across so many different walks of life. Across so much time, people still find so much solace in it.
The suspension community is a very small but pretty close knit community that does a really good job of working well with each other and sharing information.
G: What types of people do you meet in the suspension world, is it mainly body modification folks?
L: I guess I would actually say it’s a really even mix of people. If you work in the industry, you have easier access to suspension, to tools, to supplies, to knowledge. And to practitioners and groups through networking and connections.
But my team’s Skynthesis Body Suspension, particularly works with first timers. A lot of people would be surprised by how many folks are not really into body modification and are still called to suspension.
I think one thing that is very well proven, is that suspension is for most folks, a way of processing and dealing with trauma. Some of the really unique subsets of people we get in suspension, who aren’t in the piercing/tattoo/body modification industry, are a lot of veterans who’ve experienced PTSD. And people who experienced a lot of horrors in that line of work. A lot of folks who have different abilities or are disabled. Suspension can be a way of freeing their body or a way of experiencing pain that’s in their control. People who’ve experienced interpersonal and relational trauma and domestic violence.
There are a lot of piercers and a lot of tattoo artists and a lot of body modification enthusiasts and clients, but it’s also a lot of people who see the act of suspension and it just speaks to something very deep within them. I think that’s part of why we also have seen it so cross-culturally through all of history and so many different groups and cultures and religions have turned to acts like suspension as a way of dealing with trauma and processing difficult emotions and experiences.
G: How far back can we trace acts of body modification?
L: I would say it’s old as we have written history. We have one of the oldest recorded records of cultural piercing in the Bible. And we have records that date back further than that, there’s writings from the time of the code of Hammurabi where we think they’re talking about things that relate with either scarification or piercing.
We know that throughout history, piercing was not only a religious rite but also a business transaction. Piercing was a sign of marriage and it was used to denote slaves and type of slave and quality of slave. We know that that goes back to the Middle East and to Africa.
But if we expand our viewpoint on what constitutes body modification and we start to incorporate religious rituals that include acts of self-flagellation, removing of a limb, removing of a finger, removing a part of the scalp, trephination, foot binding, skull lengthening. All of these forms of body modification date back thousands and thousands of years. If you expand your perception of body modification outside of just tattoo and piercing, this has been happening for a long time. The oldest mummy we have has tattoos and 0 gauge ears.
A: There is a decent wealth of information on these things, it’s not a subject that’s necessarily shied away from. There are tons and tons of books both written by piercers and not-piercers that cover that subject -it’s very accessible. Early body mod history is fascinating for a lot of people, even if they want nothing to do with getting a piercing or a tattoo. I think that’s a big reason why we don’t tend to focus on that too much. If anyone’s looking for books, there are some great ones that are accessible. Marks of Civilization is a fantastic book.
L: Because that was stuff that happened far enough ago that now it’s interesting to people again, right? At the time that people were practicing this scarification and this piercing, it wasn’t really something that people thought to document very well because it was a very normal part of culture back then. Enough time passes and enough people die out, and we lose enough connection and then it becomes interesting again. Back then, whatever cool body modification they were doing was akin to writing a detailed journal about how you toasted your toast for breakfast in the morning. But we’ve had enough experience with watching history disappear that we know that if we as Sacred Debris don’t take our time now to document what happened in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, then we are gonna lose it.
Right now, people are looking at stuff way back then and also what’s happening right now and things within, usually the last 50 to 70 years, we look at it as too recent to consider. So what happens is, people have hundreds of thousands of photographs and journal entries and original tattoo art and blood play prints just sitting in bins in their garage because they’re from 40 years ago. And they think no one cares about it because It’s not old enough to be history and it’s not new enough to be cool.
Then that garage floods or then someone passes away and their kids don’t know what to do with it. They throw it out and 40 years from now, people are gonna go, ‘oh my God we have like five pictures of Bud Navaro and we don’t know anything about him, but we know he was cool. We’re trying to prevent those same mistakes that we’ve made in the past and document the things that to a lot of the people that we’re interviewing and talking to, is basically like talking about high school and remembering locker combinations.
We know that in a couple more years it’s going to be incredibly important parts of our history that we could have easily accidentally lost.
A: I think it’s also fair to chime in and say this is something that comes out of the queer and fetish community and you are always gonna have a significant whitewashing of things that come out of those communities.
You can go back and find plenty of records of things that as a community we like to say these things are ours – we invented it! Obviously things like scarification and piercing etc. are pulled from other cultures, but a lot of the gay and fetish community were doing that before piercing was a business and embraced it. So as progressive as our industry may seem in context to, for example, Wall Street and as progressive as we may be as more varied people and identities enter the field, you are always gonna struggle with getting a really coherent, unbiased look when the starting point comes from groups that have historically been under fire.
G: In your time researching the history of our industry and the subcultures that encompass it, what significant changes have you noticed over the last few years?
A: I feel like it’s hard to answer that without sounding too salty but it feels like piercing has gotten significantly more conservative. That’s not to say that after any experimental phase things start to get more dialled in and there’s less of a need for outlandish things because we know what has a better chance of working than others. But it’s that sentiment of this dogmatic mentality, that this is the way things are done, no ifs, ands, or buts, black and white right or wrong. You stifle the voices, whether it’s in person or online from trying to question or say otherwise, and in turn stifle creativity. It stops forward momentum.
I think a really good look at that is with jewellery. You have essentially the same few companies that we’ve had for years now. It’s wonderful that these companies are thriving but severely limiting input is actually to our detriment. The last true game changing innovation was with Neometal – thats 1997! Without new ideas and fresh eyes we’re doomed to just repurpose what’s already out there over and over.
If we are telling people it’s do or die, do not go outside the box or you’re gonna get dog-piled for doing it, that sucks. That makes it really hard for piercing to grow and evolve from where it is. We sure as shit could use a lot more kindness to make the sort of upper echelon “standard” that we want people to be at more accessible and inviting. It’s hard to want to be in the thick of anything when you know the attitude is borderline fanatical.
L: I think Ari is right. I would phrase it as like we’ve seen the commodification of body piercing, especially in the last couple of years. I would say the last five where body piercing, especially the piercing we look at and write about at Sacred Debris, was experimental. It was weird. it was a niche community of people doing something because they really loved it. It was kinky, it was queer, and now piercing is luxury and expensive, and it’s about how it looks on Instagram. Somewhere in between Instagram posts and Statim cycles, we very much became very conservative and very sanitised.
I do think we are seeing a resurgence, especially since Covid, that is mirroring what happened to piercing in the 80’s and 90’s during the AIDS epidemic where we are seeing a lot of anti-trans legislature, a lot of anti-trans rhetoric at the same time that we’re seeing this amazing growth in visibility for the trans community.
And just like what happened with the gay community, when one group was very harshly ostracised and pushed aside and told that they don’t matter and they’re not important. It’s really easy for people to say, ‘fuck you. I’m not gonna conform to what you want me to be’. I think we’re seeing, especially a lot of trans youth and trans clients, really starting to push boundaries. We’re seeing a resurgence of genital piercing, of cool large gauge, custom genital work, of people starting to talk online about how they can do weird, cool things with their genitals. And in the past it was gay men who wanted to do weird, cool, kinky stuff and now it’s trans kids who wanna have weird, cool genitals that don’t look like any gender.
These same kids are out there, getting and they’ve made rhino piercings popular in 2023! Paired centre eyebrows, large gauge cartilage stuff is on the rise. We’re gonna see that continue because for the last couple of years, it’s been trending towards skinny, conventionally pretty models in gold and diamonds. Now, we’re definitely seeing that resurgence in the trans community of people who are already willing to say, ‘well, you hate me because I look and express my gender the way I want to. You’re already gonna treat me like shit for who I am so I might as well get the fucking face tattoo, put the horns in my forehead and split my dick while I’m at it.’
I have a little bit more hope that it’s, once again, going back to queer and fetish roots, that we are gonna see that more. And hopefully it’s a less experimental, maybe more controlled experimental renaissance. Focus more on gender affirming work and what we can do with genital piercings and body piercings that push the boundaries in a safe way, but create specifically non-binary or masculine or feminine effects or looks.
While piercing has moved in a very commodified, very capitalist direction recently, I think we’re starting to see that cycle back.
G: I can only speak from my experience in the UK but we have certainly seen the increased demand for larger gauge and genital work.
L: And that aspect of piercing was always queer and kinky. I think throughout the late 2000s and 2010s, piercing became just mainstream enough that it was all nostrils, ears, gold and diamonds. And the industry really encouraged that narrative. It used to be that any piercing was pushing back against ‘The Man’. Then for a while any piercing was ‘The Man’, it was even cooler, more rebellious, not to have piercings or tattoos. I think now we’re seeing that resurgence of people who feel comfortable looking and having these really extreme modifications because they’re already dealing with discrimination for how they look.
We are also seeing that resurgence of queer fetish spaces. I think it overlaps with the fact that there was a sanitation of the queer community over the last 10 years. How much ‘Kink at Pride’ discourse have we all seen on the internet? We did see a sanitisation of queer spaces and I think also kind of aligned with the sanitisation of body piercing and body modification. Now that we’re seeing that swing the other way, I think it’s happening in piercing.
G: What would you like to see in the future of the body modification industry?
A: I think American piercing in particular has a real problem with working with children and they don’t realise it is not a worldwide view. I think if people really give a shit about safety then hopefully they will start to embrace working with children. It’s a really critical component of piercing. It’s one of the last sectors that is almost entirely experience based at a time when piercing has shifted to more heavily focus on the aesthetic end.
They are there to try something new. As a rite of passage its easily the most common and widespread in all cultures. It’s all about learning consent for their body and getting over something scary and a really incredible experience for them that I think lasts a lifetime, even if they take the earrings out at some point. It feels really sad that we exist in a place where not only do people not want to work on children, which caveat is fine if you are not comfortable with it, but it’s so hostile in some aspects that you can’t even get a recommendation on who to then go to. I think some people are actually worried about putting it out there because they don’t want blowback from the community, which in turn makes it difficult to get a network of people for certain age ranges together because they don’t wanna take a bunch of shit for it.
I would love for that to be something that we fix moving forward. That at least it’s a comfortable place where people who want to pierce young children, babies, anything like that, can be more open about advertising those services and help others who are interested in learning them.
G: We see it in the UK too, a lot of piercers aren’t comfortable with doing or discussing piercings on younger children.
A: For most populations it’s a tremendously important rite of passage. It’s something that no matter how much shouting the piercing community does you are not gonna prevent people from continuing that. And so to me the actual safe thing to do is to embrace it and provide a place where they can get it done in a sanitary environment with good jewellery, rather than saying “don’t fucking do that” which is really just pissing in the wind (and disrespectful to those communities).
L: As an extension of what Ari said, I would love to see folks approach each other with an assumption of at least neutral intent, if not good intent. Rather than always assuming bad intent. I feel like, no matter what you post about in a piercing only space, people immediately assume that you had the worst intentions or that you didn’t do anything right, that you didn’t care to run anything by your client. Even when it’s a really good, really well-respected piercer posting something like an experimental piercing they did or asking for help with finding a referral for piercing a child or a client in a certain situation. There is a lot of automatically assuming negative intent.
For me though, the really big thing I would like to see is the continuation of restructuring apprenticeships and front of house positions. I would love to see even more studios doing paid apprenticeships and taking better care of their apprentices. And I would love to see more recognition for front of house in the industry. I would really love to see the APP or the UKAPP offer, a membership type that is specific to the front of house, that acknowledges it as its own career. As opposed to just lumping everyone in this associate member form. I would love to see more classes directed towards the front of house and towards apprentices.
We’ve made a lot of strides in the last five years in regards to abuse in apprenticeships and mistreatment of apprentices. But I think we still have a long way to go before most of the industry is on board with that. I hope positive change keeps moving in that direction. And I hope people who have a lot of influence in the industry and organisations that have a lot of influence, step up and start acknowledging these positions in bigger ways. The APP released their apprenticeship guidelines, which are great and I hope that they do something similar to that in the future with front of house, and I hope we see that from the international organisations as well.
Words can’t express how grateful I am for the powerful insights and time that Ari and Lynn shared with me for this interview. I hope some of it resonates and that you enjoyed it as much as I did. Special thanks to legendary Shawn Porter for all of his support and for all the work he continues to do. Please consider supporting Sacred Debris and be a part of preserving the history of piercing, people and practices.
We are not currently offering a piercing apprenticship at Rogue. Please do not contact us to ask for one!
If you know anything about Rogue, you know we love a bit of data! Over the past 8 weeks, we have sent out a survey to over a hundred international piercers to fill out in order to gather data on the current state of piercing apprenticeships.
We all know that there are very few piercing apprenticeships being offered internationally – But why is a very big question! We don’t like to just give people a flat no, and we think its important that would-be apprentices know what they’re up against if they want a great start into the industry.
Of all the responses from the questionnaire, a huge proportion of piercers are active within the UK and USA. This means that any data collected will the skewed towards a more eurocentric response!
Most of the responses came from experienced piercers with close to, or over a decade of, professional experience. This means that the data comes from a place of knowledge.
This is where it gets interesting. Of the respondants, over 3/4 believe that there are not currently enough high-quality piercers offering apprenticeships to train the next generation. So… Why is that? The following questions were designed to ask why particular piercers, even those with over a decade of experience, do not take on an apprentice.
Despite a resounding cry for high-quality apprentices, with over 75% of responses saying that not enough apprentices are being trained, only 8.7% are currently looking to take one on!
Interestingly, 20% of the piercers who responded stated they would never take on an apprentice. The majority were planning on taking an apprentice sometime in the future – Within 5 years. This is really heartening to know! Even if the current climate is difficult, there is still hope for the future.
This is where it gets interesting. We asked why piercers weren’t taking on an apprentice, and the results were surprising! Very few simply didn’t fancy taking on an apprentice. Most were interested in taking on an apprentice in the future, however due to personal, experience, or financial reasons were unable to.
Some of the responses were:
“There currently isn’t enough work for us to justify taking on another piercer – plus, training can be super exhausting.”
“I hate 99% of people and couldnt imagine working with anyone.”
“We only train piercers when we are looking for new staff and can offer a job at the end of the apprenticeship. I think there’s too many people willing to train up people and then they’re left with no career at the end of it.”
“I don’t have enough of a consistent work load to be able to offer a full time position to someone once they have completed an apprenticeship. I could really use a second piercer for a few months of the year when it is the busy summer season but other than that my workload is really slow paced. I don’t think it would be fair of me to take on an apprentice for a few years then not have work for them to be able to support themselves at the end of it. It wouldn’t really be financially viable for me either.”
“My Studio isn’t up to standard.”
These are all really valid reasons not to take on a piercer. As much as we stress researching your potential mentor and making sure they are experienced enough to teach you, its also really important to remember that piercers are only human. Piercing is a business. Taking on an apprentice is often a huge financial risk, and to do so ethically requires a lot of forethought and financial planning.
Employment and business structure is a huge reason why many piercers don’t take on an apprentice. Of over 100 piercers, almost half are employed by another person. This means that frequently the decision to take on an apprentice is out of their hands. Even if they wanted to take on an apprentice, their boss may choose not to for a number of reasons.
And again on the other hand, if a piercer is self-employed, they may struggle to finance an apprenticeship. Especially in the current economic climate, many self-employed folks are feeling the squeeze. They are not paid a set wage each month, rather are often paid a proportion of any turnover. Splitting that money with another person may not be financially viable. Even if an apprenticeship is unpaid, many apprentices will still cost the business money in one way or another.
Something that came up a lot in this questionnaire, and in further dialogue with indivudual piercers, is the concept of ‘The Blind Leading the Blind.’ Given the boom in piercing over the last few years, many people joined the industry in a short space of time. A huge proportion of would-be mentors are still in the infancy of their careers themselves, and are passing down their bad education or bad habits without even knowing it. In addition to this, younger piercers are less likely to have the experience and skill to teach the vital ‘unusual’ piercings, like genital work, large-gauge piercings, and surface piercings. This means that over time, these skills can very easily be lost and die out. We are already experiencing this as it is!
Something to consider as well is the Dunning-Kruger effect. In our experience, younger piercers are more likely to consider themselves ready to teach well before they are ready because they simply don’t know what they don’t know yet. This is why we recommend considering both the portfolio of your potential mentor and the years they have served. A healthy mix of both is ideal. The majority of responses to the questionnaires recommended a mentor should have at least 4-10 years of experience before taking on an apprentice. Here at Rogue, we sit in the decade club where we believe that a solid 10 years of piercing experience makes for a much better educator. Mature piercers will often have travelled and attended conferences http://safepiercing.org, and have excellent links within the industry. It’s often not what you know, but who you know that can allow your career to take off!
Final Thoughts from the Piercers
Here we choose to share some of the thoughts of the piercers interviewed, in order for you to see exactly what they are thinking when they think of apprenticeships.
“I feel it (whether they take an apprentice on or not) depends how the piercing apprenticeship is approached. I had never considered teaching someone. My soon-to-be apprentice has been working with us for 2 years as Saturday help & Receptionist. She has always wanted to learn and we became friends over the past couple of years and so I started to consider helping her. She will continue to work in the studio to earn a wage. To start with I will be training her out of hours meaning she won’t be paid but neither will I. It’s all about both putting in the time. Once she starts piercing, however long that may take I would offer her a portion of the total. We will then continue on from there to ensure that she is well looked after and gets every bit of experience she needs of the next few years.”
“I wish more reputable piercers were taking apprentices. We are lacking a quantity of reputable piercers, my studio is currently looking for one but we haven’t found anyone just yet who fits our criteria but quite a lot of half trained people who either had poor, unfinished apprenticeships or they did a piercing course.”
“Safe and ethical apprenticeships are key, and not every apprenticeship is effective or healthy. After meeting an apprentice at another studio near me, it feels important to bring up that there are apprentices in some studios that have fulfilled their training requirements in unpaid positions, who are manipulated into thinking that they still must work for free. Apprenticeships are the most effective way for someone to learn our trade and it is unfortunate that some abusers use the dynamic of piercing apprenticeship to lure and trap their victims.”
The biggest issue I see here in our industry is that being a good piercer does not make you a good teacher or mentor (same with business ownership). All too often I see these roles interchangeable – where they are each in their own right, different skillsets. I’m not about gatekeepers whatsoever and am a firm believer in paying it forward, it does however need to make good financial sense for a studio but also the potential mentor needs to have good training skills (as well of course as being a good piercer). The other issue I see a lot of is students teaching students – basic fundamentals that mentors don’t have down, yet are passing these gaps in knowledge down to the newer generation.”
Piercing Apprenticeship Conclusions
That’s a tonne of data and industry information! We genuinely believe that there is hope for the piercing industry if we just pull ourselves together and take the jump. Taking on an apprentice is often terrifying, both for the mentor and learner. It’s a big commitment for everyone involved, and there is no way to predict the outcome. A mentorship is based on mutual trust, respect, and often deep friendship. Having an apprentice can feel sometimes like adopting a child! Not only does your mentor shape your piercing skills, but they will shape your attitude and relationship with the industry. Your mentors reputation can often follow you for the lifetime of your career.
So, what do piercers want would-be apprentices to know? I think the main takeaway is that piercers are human beings. We are just as prone to bias, issues and mistakes as the rest of the population. It’s very easy to see piercers on social media as ultra-cool aliens or internet personalities, but at the end of the day we run small businesses and are often sleep deprived and stressed!
The number one thing that we need to stress is this: We get dozens of messages and emails a week from would-be apprentices asking if we are taking on an apprentice and if they can come and apprentice with us. Sometimes these emails are really polite, sometimes they are straight-up demanding! Especially if you have read through this blog, you will understand how much we care about our industry and how high-stakes taking on an apprentice is. The number one way to get blacklisted by a studio is to send unwarranted, demanding messages asking for an apprenticeship. No high quality studio will take on an apprentice via DM. We need to know you as a person! You can read more about apprenticeships on our dedicated ‘Apprenticeships’ blog category. The blog ‘So You Want To Be a Piercer?’ will also make for great reading. We aren’t saying that you have to come and get pierced every week for three years, or spend £xxxx amount of money with us to ‘earn’ your apprenticeship, but building a relationship with a studio is key. It often can’t be forced, either. You can’t push a friendship and expect an apprenticeship to fall out the other end, y’know? Body piercing is often seen as a ‘casual’ industry, where you don’t need to follow the standard rules of employment. What other industry would you expect to enter via DM? The general opinion is that people who DM studios for apprenticeships are not taking it seriously, and don’t have the professionalism to make it in the industry. Don’t fall foul of this social faux pas.
If you have had a response from a studio when you’ve cold-messaged them on instagram, take a moment to consider what kind of situation you might be putting yourself into. You don’t know them, they don’t know you. Oftentimes they will just be looking for a couple of months of free labour and you will leave with nothing.
So there you have it! Some more thoughts on apprenticeships, backed up with some decent data. If you’d like to read more on the subject, we have plenty of blogs covering all kinds of topics so just hit the link above to go have a deep dive! If you have any questions, you’re welcome to drop us an email. Make sure to follow us on instagram! And final reminder…
We are not currently looking to take on an apprentice at Rogue. Please do not contact us to ask for one!
Since being at Rogue, I have decided to remove three of my piercings and have repierced them for a variety of reasons, and I thought I’d share my experience on them! If you want to know a bit more thorough detail about re-piercing, and not just a personal story, I can highly sugesst giving “Repiercing 101” a read!
The first thing I got repierced at Rogue was my bridge. I had had it pierced about a year and a half previously, with improper jewellery. It was an externally thread curved barbell, which had just created issue after issue, and had never settled down. After having my 19th birthday party at university, I had given up and just decided to retire it as the bumps were just not worth it.
Upon joining Rogue I had discovered the reason it had never settled was due to improper jewellery, and very outdated aftercare advice (homemade salt water). In December, Krista had come to Rogue to do a guest spot, and as an early birthday present from Kat, she repierced my Bridge for me using Peoples Jewellery Titanium Bullet Claw ends with pale Pink Fauxpals. I was obsessed. However, I did not downsize it in time, which caused an irritation bump, and because I am super clumsy I was constantly snagging and catching it on jumpers, my glasses, and even my own hands. I eventually retired it again in March, as I had to take it out for an x-ray on my jaw, and it was just the easier option.
To everyones dismay, I would like to re-pierce it a third time in the future, but we’ll get to that when we get to it.
In 2023 I had another repierce – my jestrum. I initially had it pierced by Aiden about two days after finding out that I was going to be his apprentice. I booked my appointment and already had my heart set on the Neometal flower in fancy purple, and Kat then talked me around to having a Neometal opal on the bottom to match and I was in love! Unfortunately, this guy did not last very long! After already having to reinsert jewellery after a jaw x-ray (wisdom teeth suck…), I woke up one morning to my jewellery gone, and somehow had never found it since – I’m blaming my cats for this one – and despite trying to reinsert a taper in it only a few hours later, the piercing channel had completely closed.
In December 2022, so about 7 months or so after letting it heal, I let Gemma repierce it for me. I was super nervous, as it definitely wasn’t one of my favourites to have originally pierced! Gemma was also super nervous as it was her first jestrum, and I had to reassure her it’s the same as every other vertical lip piercings she’s done, including 2 sets of ‘angel fangs’ (paired vertical upper lip piercings). I had complete and utter trust in her. And she absolutely smashed it. We even made a super cool reel about it. It was definitely a little spicy, but definitely not as bad as I had feared, and I found the healing much easier than the first time around. I only had very minor swelling, and downsized it rather quickly, then about a month or two later we had to downsize again. It’s now sitting pretty well and just waiting for me to insert some super fancy jewellery.
My third re-pierce was my nipples. When I first joined Rogue, I had had them pierced for 3 years. One was beautifully healed, and the other one was just constantly crusting and being annoying. After getting a little bit worried about it, I asked Breo and Kat to take a look, and they advised completely pulling it as it looked like it had started to reject. The piercing itself had orignially been pierced too deep, through the areola, which is why it had never settled. I decided to remove both nipple piercings so I could have them both repierced together to allow them to look more in tune with each other.
And then came the day I asked Breo to do it for me. It was a Monday morning, I’d just had a bad weekend following a break-up and I thought there is nothing that screams ‘move on’ and ‘love yourself’ more than new nipple piercings! After a very eventful day, Breo anodised my barbells pink and got them sterilised. I was super nervous, and after Breo talked to me regarding the scar tissue, and creating a new channel through the scarring, I was definitely a little bit more tense. We did the one that needed the new channel first as I thought it would hurt more, and it honestly hurt nowhere near as much as I thought. It just felt like pressure, with a bit more of a tight pinch on the exit. It was almost like a fresh of breath air, and I was super excited to repierce the second.
…But then, we didn’t! As Breo was super happy with the depth and placement of the original piercing, he decided to test the waters out to see if the piercing channel was still open. He gently fed an insertion pin through the fistula to feel what was happening on the inside. The answer was… nothing. Despite having worn no jewellery for 7-8 months, the piercing was still open, and with a tiny stretch up we managed to reinsert the jewellery straight back in! I then went home to chill and relax, and my housemates cat (Peep) stood straight on it. Not fun!
After they settled, I got to downsize the length of the bars and upgrade the jewellery! After ordering a matching set from Peoples Jewellery, I used the orignial jewellery for my bridge. A pair of pink opal threadless bullet claws, super cute!
I also chose to remove my Navel piercing. I had originally had it pierced at The Endless Knot in Hartlepool while I was at university. Originally it had just been pierced with a plain internally thread curved barbell! It was super comfy, a nice heal and I loved it. After moving back to Nottingham I started working at a little pub, and re-wearing high/mid waisted jeans. The constant pressure across my navel caused it to be super irritated and I began battling irritation bumps. Eventually, it did begin to settle and I had a lovely well-healed navel piercing.
So, I decided to stretch it. My long term goal was to have a little ring stack full of charms! I stretched it myself to 2mm (12g)! It was super easy, and I was on my way to a large gauge navel. After a few weeks, maybe a month or two, I was slightly concerned about the placement and where it was sitting. I discussed it with Kat and Gemma who advised to just remove it. It seems like it had started to reject, and it was better to retire it sooner rather than later. Gemma was also super excited, and told me to just let her re-pierce it at a larger gauge. So I did. Eventually…
After Gemma returned from APP conference in Vegas, her first piercing back was my 5mm (4g) Navel! Honestly, it was so much easier than the first time I had it pierced. I’m not sure if this because I had learned how to breathe through the pain or because my pain tolerance was better, but it was such an easy piercing to sit through! I’m absolutely obsessed with it, and I can’t wait to stack it! Also an amazing thank you to Gorilla Glass for this super easy peasy single flare curved retainer!
If you would like to get in touch via repiercing a well healed over piercing, just get in touch with us! You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org , send us a direct message via our Instagram RoguePiercing, or just book directly with us here.
Thank you for reading! We will be back again next week with another blog, so stay tuned!
This week we’re taking a look at nose piercings and all the cool options you can choose from! There is a nostril piercings suitable for everyone who has a nose. The only thing anatomy might determine is where we place them! However, there are a variety of options above and below the crease that we can pierce! So let’s dive in and take a look.
Traditional Nose Piercing
Quite often when people ask for a nose piercing they want what we might call a ‘traditional’ nostril piercing. This is when the jewellery is pierced roughly 8mm up from the bottom edge of the nostril, but still below the crease. Often we will pierce at this measurement so if in the future the client would like the option of having a snug fitted ring, the piercing is placed so that a snug fit is possible. Of course this can change from client to client as everyones noses are slightly different, and this should always be taken into account by you and your piercer when you agree on the markings. It is always a good idea to discuss any future plans with your piercer beforehand!
If you are deciding on rings for your nose piercing, it’s always a better idea to be pierced with a stud first, and swap over to a ring after a minimum of 4-6 months, or until it is fully healed around the 6-9 month mark. The straight bar allows space for the initial swelling, while leaving room for drainage. It also has less movement than a ring – that is constantly twisting – so holds a much lower chance of irritation.
Pairs and Doubles
Paired nostrils have dramatically spiked in popularity over the last few years, with more and more people booking appointments for them! Paired nostril piercings are a piercing either side of the nose, normally under the crease and typically matching in height and distance although not always matching in jewellery. These guys can sometimes be seen with a chain connecting them across the bridge of the nose, for an extra wow factor!
Double nostril piercings are similiar to paired, however this time it is two nostril piercings on the same nostril. Often these can be seen with two rings when healed, or another popular look is one ring and one stud! However, no matter which way you decide to style them, they’ll always look amazing!
High and Mid Nostrils
Both high nostrils and mid nostrils are pierced above the crease on the nose, and appear much higher up than a traditional nose piercing. These guys are not recommended if you want to eventually have snug fitted rings, as they will require a really large diameter ring to cover that distance. The difference between mid nostrils is that these are pierced a bit closer to the crease of the nose, where as high nostrils are typically pierced as high as possible!
These guys can be pierced as their own duo, or can be paired with already exisiting ones for the ultimate look!
Forward Facing Nostril piercings:
Just when we thought we’d run out of places to safely pierce on the human body, did we start to see a few more exciting placements! One of these are the ‘mantis’ piercings. These guys are paired, and typically pierced forward facing into the tip of the nose. They often look really cute, and worn with small and simple jewellery (though not always).
If you’d like to book in for a nose piercing, or just want to discuss the ideas and placements before commiting, you can book in with any member of Rogue here!
I first met Phebe when she came to guest with us at Rogue this year. Although she’s not been piercing long, Phebe has grown abundantly as a piercer and a person over the past few years. She has put herself out there, worked hard and flourished so much. Phebe is currently piercing at Factotum Tattoo & Body Modification Studio in Norwich, UK.
G: Let’s start at the beginning, when did you start piercing?
Phebe: So I started an apprenticeship in May of 2021 just after I turned eighteen. Everything happened very quickly which I wasn’t expecting as it usually takes some time to get into the industry. I’m so grateful that I was given the opportunity to begin my piercing career at a young age.
G: As always, tell us about your first piercing experience.
P: I begged my mum to let me get my ears pierced but she wouldn’t let me until I was 11. I got those done with a piercing gun in a hair salon as you do when you don’t know any better. In high school ear piercings started becoming quite popular. It took me a couple of years but I eventually convinced my mum to let me get another piercing. I went to see Olly Todd at Factotum and he pierced my helix. That would’ve been 2018 I think. I went on to get my rook and forward helix pierced later that year.
G: When did you decide you wanted to be a piercer?
P: Throughout high school I struggled a lot with my mental health, especially in my final year. When I left I intended to study languages at college but things didn’t quite work out as planned and I ended up being admitted to hospital.
Being in-patient – especially through Covid when all visits and leave were stopped – was really difficult. To try and distract myself I spent a lot of time watching piercing content on YouTube. As I found out more and more about piercing I started thinking about it as a career although I never thought it would become my reality. I never planned for a future because I didn’t think I’d have one so when I got my apprenticeship it was as though I’d been thrown a lifeline.
G: It’s strange, the roads that lead us to this industry. How would you describe your apprenticeship?
P: I didn’t really know what a traditional apprenticeship was to be honest and going into it I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t have a ‘mentor’ as such. I hadn’t even done my first piercing when the studios piercer left. Luckily one of the tattoo artists helped me with the basics and was on hand while I practiced. I started out using externally threaded, lower quality jewellery but quickly realised that this wasn’t ideal. My boss was really supportive and with the information I bought back from conferences and classes we made a lot of changes to how we did things, including switching over to using internally threaded jewellery.
However, I eventually got to a point where I needed more support piercing-wise. Although my colleagues were wonderfully supportive, they couldn’t teach me to pierce which is what I really needed. It was spending time with other piercers that changed things for me. Seeing how other people do things is invaluable and that’s what made me realise that I needed to move on.
G: Shadowing is super important, it allows you to see and learn from other people and share their experience as well. I mean, you taught me some stuff when you came up to shadow at Rogue. Everybody has something to offer.
So you start piercing in May 2021 and then took yourself to the UKAPP conference in September?
P: Yes, I went to UKAPP a few days after I’d done my first ever piercing. It was the best thing I could’ve done for my career and it really opened my eyes as to what piercing really was. I missed out last year due to illness but I’m volunteering this year so I’ll definitely be there. I’m very excited.
G: It’s unbelievably brave of you to attend a conference alone when there’s people there who have been piercing longer than you’ve been alive. And at 18! You should be incredibly proud of yourself Phebe!
P: It was so scary, you know, going in and seeing so many people there. Especially when you’ve just started piercing and you don’t know anyone. You feel as though everyone is so much more experienced and knowledgeable than you which can be pretty intimidating.
G: Do you have any advice for people attending the UKAPP conference?
P: Look after yourself and do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel comfortable – for me that means bringing a Jellycat to sit with me and putting my headphones in when my brain gets too loud.
While it’s important to try and socialise, try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Take as much time out as you need. I took the opportunity to go outside for walks between classes to decompress which I found really helpful.
I know it can be scary but try and talk to people, even if it’s just one person a day! As you start getting to know those around you everything will become easier.
Take a notebook and pen with you – and try not to spend all of your money on jewellery. 😉
Also, remember – going to conference is a massive step in itself so just by being there you’re doing great.
G: Good advice! Last year was my first time attending and I definitely took as many toilet breaks as I could to just have a moment to breathe and decompress.
I do think it’s important to try and show your face at the social events, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
P: Absolutely! I found the social side of things easier at the Piercer Trade Show this year as I knew a few more people. I actually went out for dinner and did things with others. At my first conference I was far too scared to do any of that because I didn’t know anyone and everything felt quite overwhelming.
G: Itis such a small industry and it’s easy to start comparing yourself to others but everybody’s on a different journey. There’s piercers that are highly regarded today for using the most advanced practices and top quality jewellery that used to pierce with acrylic and not wash their hands properly. We all start somewhere.
How have you found the industry so far?
P: Everyone that I’ve encountered has been so supportive and helpful. For example, you lot at Rogue have been wonderful. You make me feel so welcome and I learn so much from you when I come to visit. Similarly, when I went to shadow Mike at Broad Street in Bath he took me to his home and treated me like family. He gave me so many useful tips.
I hung out with Dawn, she pierced a massive heart on my back with 72 blades. That was so much fun. So much fun. I also experienced body suspension when I visited Ipswich which was magical! This industry is so full of beautiful humans – I could go on forever.
G: How are you finding your new position as Junior Body Piercer at Factotum?
P: Amazing! Everyone – both staff and clients – are lovely and I’m really enjoying it. Olly and Joe are great! They answer all of my weird questions and have been very patient with me while I settle in and find my feet in a new environment.
They’ve also been supporting me when it comes to making progress with piercing by taking the time to demonstrate new techniques and support me as I try new things.
G: Aside from volunteering at UKAPP this year, what’s on the cards for you?
P: I’m not sure I’m confident enough to take on guest spots yet but I’d love to do more shadowing. I’m planning to return to Rogue but also want to branch out and visit some new places. I’ll be at the Piercer Trade Show later in the year and at UKAPP conference in September as a volunteer.
In terms of piercing, my main focus is on expanding my portfolio. I’ve recently started piercing eyebrows and navels and will soon begin working on nipples. I’ve also begun transitioning from cannula needles to blade needles – something I’ve not felt confident enough to try in the past. Long-term, I really want to perform some large gauge piercings. I also love working with kids so I’d love to gain more experience in that area and make piercing as comfortable, safe and accessible as possible for younger clients.
On the side I’m definitely going to do some more suspension and play piercing as it makes my heart so happy!
G: What advice would you give to younger piercers and also to people that want to move studios?
P: To younger piercers: Baby steps! Don’t feel like you have to do everything all at once. As long as you’re making small steps to better yourself that’s all that matters. If you can’t use verified jewellery, work on your angles and techniques. If you can’t make it to conference, join some Facebook groups. All and any progress counts, no matter how small.
To those wanting to move studios: Be honest with yourself. It was very hard for me to admit to myself that I wanted and needed to move studios. Making the decision to leave was very difficult for me, I didn’t want to upset anyone or let anyone down. It took me a really long time to accept that it was the right thing for me to do. Ultimately it was my life and my career and if I wanted to move forward I had to move on. Try not to beat yourself up .. sometimes you need to prioritise yourself and that’s okay.
Most importantly, please look after yourself. Reach out for help, talk to people. There are so many of us out here who will listen – you are not alone. ♡
Phebe is a wonderful human and a very passionate piercer. Be part of her journey by booking in with her at Factotum, Norwich. Thank you for your time and your vulnerability. Your gonna go far, kid! <3
Rogue has become quite the hub for large-gauge piercing work in the UK! With a combined experience of over 30 years, the piercing team at Rogue can offer pretty much all body piercings at a larger gauge than standard. So, what is a large-gauge piercing and how do we do them?
What is a Large-Gauge Piercing?
We define large-gauge as anything pierced initially at 10g (2.4mm) or higher. Large-gauge piercings can also be achieved via stretching, however this is a much longer and more labourious process that can take many years to achieve.
Most piercings can be performed at a large gauge, the most popular being:
Lip Piercings (Labret, Philtrum, Snakebites and many more)
Depending on the piercing, we need to perform an anatomy check. This is done to ensure you have the appropriate anatomy for the piercing you would like, and to double-check that your intended piercing size is suitable.
We also like to talk to our large-gauge piercing clients in advance, as there are sometimes multiple methods available for some piercings. In addition, we always want to talk to our potential clients about what to expect, and ensure that you are ready to choose a large-gauge piercing.
How is a Large-Gauge Piercing Done?
Large-gauge piercings are performed the same as most other piercings – We simply use a larger needle, and custom-made jewellery. As previously mentioned, there are sometimes alternative methods available which can be discussed.
To prepare for your appointment, we recommend eating a good meal with complex carbs and protein involved. We also strongly discourage drinking alcohol for 24/48hrs before your appointment.
At your appointment, we will firstly double-check the anatomy and decide on an appropriate placement for you. Depending on the piercing location, we will also discuss this placement with you. Some piercings have ‘wiggle-room’ for placement, such as conch piercings, whereas others really require precise placement. We are happy to chat about this with you to make sure you’re happy!
We will then clean the piercing placement again. We use a double-cleaning method to first clean and secondly disinfect the location.
We usually pierce you laying down – This ensures your comfort and prevents extra movement. It’s also good for clients who might feel a little faint due to the piercing process!
Once we are happy with the marking, we will don our sterile gloves. We use sterile gloves for all piercing procedures for optimal hygeine and cleanliness.
We may then take a short time to decide on our positioning, so there may be a short 2-3 minute wait while we prepare ourselves to pierce. This is to ensure the piercing itself is the quickest, smoothest process.
Once we are ready, and you are ready, we will instruct you to take a nice deep breath in. On your exhale, this is when we will pierce you!
It is super important to keep your breathing relaxed and even. Holding your breath and clenching your torso can only make the process feel more intense and increase any feelings of panic. Nice, even, deep breathing is key.
Once the piercing is performed, we then insert the jewellery. The entire piercing process itself will take less than a minute.
You are more than welcome to take a break at this stage – There is no rush to jump off the piercing bed and take a look! We will always move at your pace.
Why Pierce and not Stretch?
This is a super common question we get! There are two main reasons that you might want to pierce (or repierce) at a larger gauge instead of simply stretching a standard gauge piercing.
Firstly, it can expedite the process and allow you to get to your goal size a lot faster. For example, if your end goal is an 8g septum piercing, that might take upwards of 2-3 years to achieve by stretching a 16g piercing. That’s 6 months post-piercing before you can make your first stretch, and then 2 years of stretching a single size at a time with the recommended 6 month wait time in between. You can read more about septum stretching in more detail here. This is a very long time indeed! That time can be shortened significantly if you choose to get pierced at 8g – You are immedietely at your goal size.
Secondly, it is less traumatic to your body. This may seem counterintuitive, but I hope I can explain this fully! Each time you stretch a piercing, even if you do so under ideal conditions using perfect technique, you can cause the generation of scar tissue. This scar tissue is a lot less elastic than normal tissue, and we need to wait for this scar tissue to soften before you make your next stretch. This is one of the reasons why you need to take stretching really slowly. That being said, even if you wait forever, some scar tissue will still remain from your previous stretches, and this can begin to accumulate. The maximum size that your body can accomodate will depend massively on the amount of scar tissue you generate during your stretching process – After a certain point, your scar tissue will not allow you to stretch to a larger size without damage occuring. If you simply got pierced at a larger size, you can avoid the scar tissue that would have otherwise been generated during the stretching process. For example, if your goal size for your earlobes is 1/2″ (approx 12mm), that is usually 12 stretches that you will need to do. 18g to 16g, 16g to 14g, 14g to 12g and so on. That is 12 opportunities for scar tissue development, even under ideal conditions. And who among us can claim to have always stretched their piercings absolutely faultlessly? Very few indeed. So, if your goal is 1/2″, you can skip 50% of the stretching process by getting pierced at 6mm (2g). This means that a) Your stretching process is shorter and b) You will usually end up with healthier, happier earlobes at the end.
Thirdly, (I know I only said two, but here we are), piercing at or near your goal size allows you to control the final look and placement of your piercing a lot more. When you stretch, you are naturally causing the distortion of tissue. Inserting larger jewellery forces the tissue around it to move and adapt. Over time, especially in body piercings such as navels and nipples, this can sometimes result in thinning tissue or a wonky piercing. Getting pierced at a larger gauge minimises issues with migration, and can prevent a ‘stretched out’ look. This can be especially important to consider in oral piercings like labret piercings, where some people do (and others really don’t!) want the super stretched up distorted look.
A final addition to this answer would be a financial one! Stretching piercings, especially genital or other body piercings, can be expensive. You will usually be expected to purchase multiple sets of jewellery that you will be wearing for a relatively short time before discarding. If doing this properly and wearing high quality jewellery, this can easily cost many hundreds of pounds. Getting pierced at or near your goal size will save you a heck of a lot of money, and who doesn’t appreciate that!
Where Does the Tissue Go?
A classic question! Many people are under the impression that needles remove tissue. So, when you push the needle through, there is a little chunk of flesh on the inside that is no longer a part of your body. Nobody likes a flesh thief! However, this is absolutely untrue and is a bit of a classic piercing myth. So, what happens when you get pierced with a needle? This short video gives you a good idea of what happens.
Does it Hurt More?
Excellent question! Having experienced large-gauge piercings, performed many hundreds, and worked alongside them for many years, we can confidently say that they are never as intimidating as you are expecting. Yes, they can feel a little pinchier than a standard piercing, but they are performed just as quickly and leave no long-term discomfort. They often heal better than standard gauge piercings, too!
I have an existing piercing. Can I be repierced at a larger gauge?
Yes, you totally can! What you need to do to prepare depends on the piercing location and the method by which we repierce you. As a general rule, we usually recommend removing your existing piercing, and waiting at least 12 weeks before booking in for your large-gauge piercing.
Repiercing hurts no more than an initial piercing, and the healing time is not usually extended by doing so.
How Long Do They Take to Heal?
This really depends on the placement. That being said, most large-gauge piercings only take about 10-15% longer than a standard piercing to heal. So for example, if a standard lobe takes 6 months, then a large-gauge lobe will take 7 months. This varies from person to person, but they are not going to take years and years!
Large gauge piercings can be a really, really useful tool in your piercing toolbox. Sometimes they are the only way forward (such as in most genital work), or they can be an excellent option depending on your piercing goals!
The most important thing to know is that you have a lifetime of support from the team at Rogue. We are large-gauge and genital specialists, meaning that we always have a member of the team on hand every day of the week to answer your questions. Don’t hesitate to get in touch via instagram or email, and make sure to head to our booking system to get booked in for your next piercing project!
Lip piercings are arguably the piercing that has such a range of options for placement. From the lower lip to the top, singles and pairs, whatever you like we can probably make it happen.
Now, lip piercings are still anatomy dependent and there is a lot for your piercer to consider when helping choose placement, however the antomy checks will vary depending on the type of placement and piercing you choose.
Single “Standard” Lip Piercing:
I’ve put the word “standard” into quotation marks beause we are going to talk through all the different placements of a single lip piercing that passes through the inside to the outside of the lip. There are so many to talk through! Some piercing placements even have fun names, although you don’t need to know those names in order to get the piercing.
For a standard lip piercing your piercer will be checking the anatomy on the inside of the lip, for where your frenulum sits, and will also be checking their markings on the outside aswell so that when you are relaxed, the back of the labret is sitting in a comfortable place that does not rest directly on your teeth. If you’re planning rings in the future, be sure to let your piercer know, so they can mark up appropriately. Initially, these should be pierced with straight labrets. Rings in fresh piercings can cause a lot of irritation.
Labret: Center of the bottom lip, sitting below the lipline.
Philtrum or Medusa: Centre of your upper lip, resting just above your cupids bow.
Side labret: Sitting one one side of the bottom lip, below your lipline. Often seen paired together as snakebites!
Monroe: Pierced above the upper lipline on the left hand side.
Madonna: Pierced above the upper lipline on the right hand side.
Vertical lip piercings are exactly what they sound like! They are pierced with curved barbells, passing through vertically top to bottom of the lip. For this piercing, your piercer should be checking for the prominence of the lip, that will allow the curve to sit comfortably. This means that your lip needs to stick out enough, and be full enough, to support jewellery. Not everyone can have all vertical lip piercings.
Traditional Vertical Labret: Pierced vertically through the centre of the bottom lip.
Upper Vertical Labret: Pierced vertically through the centre of the top lip. Also known as a jestrum.
We’ve recently seen an increase of vertical lip piercings, especially being paired together, and they just look badass.
Paired Vertical Labrets: Two vertical labrets paired together on the lower lip. Typically seen close together, and on either side of the lip.
Paired Upper Vertical Labrets: Two vertical labrets paired together on the upper lip. Typically seen with a bit of distance between them, just on the outer edges of the cupids bow. Also known as angel fangs.
Pairs, Doubles and All the Fancy Names!:
Over the years, piercings have gathered all sorts of commonly used slang names, but lip piercings by far are notoriously known by their slang names, especially when it comes to multiples!
Dolphin Bites: Two lower labrets pierced below the lipline of the bottom lip, quite centered and close together.
Snake Bites: Paired labrets pierced below the lipline of the bottom lip, but quite seperated/typically seen either side.
Shark Bites: Double and paired labrets either side of the bottom lipline. (Think of them as double snake bites!)
Spider Bites: Paired labrets, pierced one one side of the bottom lip.
Angel Bites: Paired labrets pierced above the top lipline, typically seperated eitherside of the cupids bow.
Canine Bites: Paired upper and lower lips. Think of Angel Bites and Snake Bites.
Now of course these aren’t all the possibilities of lip piercings. These guys have been around for years, and will hopefully be around for many more!
The Fun and the Rare:
Theres a few more we havent touched on yet. The ‘Ashley’ and ‘Inverse Labrets’, large gauge, and low/highbrets.
The Ashley – A piercing that passes through the centre of the bottom lip, horizontally. Can be seen as pairs or by itself. Highly anatomy dependant, and either a curved or straight barbell. Your piercer should be looking for a ‘full’ and ‘prominent’ lip that would support a bar passing through.
Inverse Vertical Labrets – Very similar to a vertical labret, only it sits on the inside of the lip rather than the outer. Usually pierced with curved barbells.
Large Gauge Lip Piercings – Of course, just like any other piercing, we can pierce lips at a higher gauge too! An absolute perfect way to start if you wanted to stretch in the future.
Lowbrets/Highbrets – Typically these are just labret piercings pierced either much lower than the lipline, or much higher! Its a hybrid word of ‘high’ or ‘low’ and ‘labret’! Super cool.
Above is photos of Andre’s inverse vertical labrets that he had pierced many years ago and has healed them beautfiully.
We’d absolutely love to do more lip piercings at Rogue, so don’t hesitate to contact us or book in to discuss ideas or placements!
First piercings are an important rite of passage, and at Rogue we want to make sure that first experience is a positive one. We want all of our clients to feel comfortable, confident and safe no matter their age. So let’s take a look at what to expect when you bring your children for their lobe piercings at Rogue!
Age and ID
You must be 8 years old to have your ear lobes pierced at Rogue. Any client under the age of 16 must bring their own ID, plus a parent or legal guardian must be present also with their own ID. If your child does not have photographic ID, we cannot pierce them so please ensure they have ID in time for their appointment. This two-item ID system is needed as you must prove you are the parent or legal guardian in order to legally consent for them to be pierced. If you and your child do not share a surname, you must bring a third form of ID such as a birth certificate with your name on it.
Accepted ID includes: Passport, Driving License, or valid UK Citizencard.
We do not accept: Library cards, school ID cards, bus passes etc. If in doubt about whether we would accept your ID, please contact us in advance of booking. We explicitly do NOT accept photographs, photocopies, or video calls of your ID. You must have the original document in your hand at your appointment.
At the Appointment
Anyone under the age of 16 should book in for a Children’s Lobe Piercing. So, what should you expect?
Children’s Lobe Piercing is it’s own option on our booking system, this appointment is 40 minutes long and allows plenty of time for you and your child to browse our jewellery collection, ask any questions and build themselves up to the piercing. It does not cost any more than a standard pair of earlobes, but that extra time is a bonus for our younger customers!
We will start by checking everyone’s ID and your consent form. The consent form is emailed out to you prior to the appointment, please ensure you read through each section carefully fill out your information correctly. We recommend waiting until the appointment to fill this one in, because we need to act as a notary for the consent form.
We understand that first piercings are a really exciting time for everyone! We politely ask that we keep the energy in the studio calm and relaxed and suggest keeping additonal family members/friends to a minimum. In the piercing room, we have a chair set up for a single Parent/Guardian to sit. As much as we like to involve you in the process, the piercing appointment needs to be focused on the client (your child)! We may ask that you remain seated for the duration of the appointment. We can also set the room up so that you can hold your child’s hand during the process.
Safety is paramount for us. If we ask you to step away from the piercing area and take a seat, it is for the safety of yourself, your child and our piercers. As UKAPP members, we work to a high strandard of health, safety and hygeine. Please remember, we want you and your child to have a wonderful, positive experience!
Consent is our top priority. At every stage of the appointment, your child has the inalienable right to retract their consent to be pierced. If we feel that your child is not ready, or if your child says that they do not want to continue, then we will stop the appointment then and there! We will always offer to reschedule if necessary – At no stage do we want your child to feel pressured. Please keep this in mind when being a supportive guardian – Nothing sours the experience more for your child than feeling like a disappointment, or like they have failed you, by not getting their lobes pierced. You are their cheerleader, and they need to leave feeling like a little rockstar wether they get one lobe, both lobes, or no lobes at all pierced!
A Smooth Experience
When it comes to the piercing, there will be one piercer performing the piercings one at a time. All of our piercers are very experienced working with a variety of young clients. If you would prefer that the piercings are performed in tandem (two piercers performing both piercings at the same time), please email us at email@example.com before booking the appointment so that we can discuss if this is possible. Bear in mind that there will be an additional fee to book out two piercers and it may only be possible on specific days.
We use top quality blade needles to perform your child’s piercings. No guns in here! Each blade needle is pre-sterilised and single use. They are designed specfically for piercing to allow the smoothest, sharpest procedure. We will never intentionally show a client the needle but we are more than happy to demonstrate how the needles work and answer any questions you may have – just ask!
You can read more about blade needles here and we also wrote a blog about piercing guns and why we do not use them here
It is important to familiarise yourself with the aftercare instructions. At the appointment, we will explain them to yourself and your child and ensure you understand what to do to look after the new piercings.
TO CLEAN: First, wash hands with antibacterial soap and water. Spray a small amount of sterile saline onto both the front and back of your piercing to soak and soften crusties. Use a piece of non-woven gauze or clean, folded kitchen roll to gently remove any debris. Once the piercing is clean, gently dab away any remaining moisture.
Do not use any extra products, homemade remedies or chemicals.
Do not twist, turn or fiddle with your jewellery! This introduces bacteria, damages the healing piercing and can extend your healing time.
Do not soak or submerge your piercing in the first 4 weeks. This means you must avoid swimming, bathing in bathtubs, hot tubs, saunas etc. Please keep this in mind when booking your appointments.
Please follow downsize instructions and book a checkup when your piercing is 4-6 weeks old. See the bottom of the page for downsizing timeframes for your specific piercing.
If you’re unsure or have questions at any stage, then please don’t hesitate to contact us! We’re more than happy to help. Contact us via email or through our instagram.
See you soon!
At Rogue, we want to make every experience a great one. Children’s lobe piercings can be crucial moment to learn about autonomy, self expression, confidence and responsibility for taking care of yourself after a procedure. If you ever have any questions or if you would like to bring your child to view the studio and meet the team beforehand – please do not hesitate to get in touch!