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How to Plan Piercing Curations

Today we’ll be discussing a common question – ‘I want to curate my piercings, but I have absolutely no idea how to start!’ We will cover the concept of a piercing curation, how to start planning them, and what to expect from the process!

This White Gold curation is one of our favourites. Everything is custom ordered to fit our clients unique taste.

What is a Curation?

A curation is a thoughtful collection of piercings that were high-quality jewellery in a cohesive style. Some curations are themed, some are more eclectic, but what connects each curation is a singular line of thought that expresses your personal style.

Some people say that curations are only for ears, and should only be done in solid Gold. This is absolutely not the case! As in my previous definition, there is zero mention of a sky-high budget or fancy ears at all. A curation is simply a considerate collection of good jewellery, worn in well-placed piercings. Our most common curations are actually produced in Titanium! Curations can involve the ears, the face, or the entire body. It all depends on what you want from your curation.

This dinosaur themed curation is super cute!

How do I plan a Curation?

The best way to plan a curation is to first see what you already have, and look at your personal style and what you want from your curation. The best way to do this is to book in for a jewellery consultation with us, so that we can provide you with an expert curation experience.

There are so many questions to ask! Do you have lots of existing piercings? Do you have a few piercings? Are they well-pierced, well-placed, or would you be open to removing or repiercing a few of them to improve the overall effect? Another major thing to consider is what you want to see from your curation. You can scroll instagram for hours and hours looking at other peoples collections, but a curation is a truly personal process. Do you prefer Gold, or Titanium? Do you like Yellow, White or Rose Gold? Do you like the look of anodised Titanium? Do you like gemstones, or no gemstones? If yes, then which gemstones or gem colour schemes do you like? Do you like a more masculine look, or a more feminine look? Are you a fan of big, chunky jewellery (our favourites!) or do you like a smaller, more dainty pieces? This all needs to be considered when planning out a full curation.

Noses are a great place to start your curation. When it comes to the centre of your face, why not wear beautiful jewellery?

As important as what you do like, is what you don’t like! We love to see what you don’t like – What doesn’t fit your style. Showing us both what you do and don’t want to wear gives us a really good idea of where to go with your curation.

Once we have a rough idea of what you would like, we can go onto picking out individual piercings and individual jewellery. The best thing to do is to plan out a couple of statement pieces, and then work around them with complementary items. Centring your curation on a handful of piercings is a really nice way to ground the look. The best thing to do next is to head to the websites of our jewellery companies and have a good old scroll! We perform curations using BVLA, Anatometal, and Neometal. Keep in mind that every single piece of jewellery is handmade to your specifications – Choose the gold colour, the gemstones, the size, everything! If you are unsure as to what exactly you’d like to wear, Kat can give you a huge range of suggestions that you can start to choose from.

This sounds like a lot, but honestly it is an incredibly easy process when you have the support of the Rogue team!

Getting creative with Titanium is a fab way to get a cohesive, thoughtful piercing curation.

Getting a Curation

We think the most exciting part of the piercing curation is actually ordering, receiving and installing the jewellery. Depending on the jewellery maker, this can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 6+ months to arrive. When it comes to curations though, the wait is always worth it. Having your perfect jewellery takes time, but that time will pass anyway!

Depending on the jewellery you have ordered, we will sometimes recommend getting the healing process started before your final jewellery arrives. This is especially important with longer-healing piercings such as daiths, rooks, and cheek piercings. However sometimes we recommend waiting until your final jewellery has arrived so that we can place it absolutely perfectly! This is especially the case when it comes to big, chunky ends or unique placements. It all depends on what you have ordered and what your end goal is.

Lip piercing curations are an absolute favourite of ours. We would love to do more of them!

With curations, it definitely falls into the ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day!’ category! Depending on which jewellery brands you want to wear, wether the gemstones are semi-precious or precious or synthetic, and a huge amount of variables can impact the pricing. Some curations can range between £300-£15,000. We absolutely work within more limited budgets – Titanium curations can be so neat and beautiful and can be super affordable too. Even plain Titanium beads can look impactful when skilfully used! The main thing to keep in mind is that a piercing curation is a patience game – You don’t need to buy everything all in one go, or even in one year. Some clients build collections over the course of many years and this is often the best way to do it!

We have a full blog post detailing the custom order process which you can read here!

So there you have it, a full rundown of curations. How they work, how you go about it, and what to expect. Plus links to other blogs where you can continue to learn!

If you would like to book in for a jewellery consultation with Kat, head to our booking system. We can also do remote curations via email! Head to our instagram for a whole lot of inspiration.

-Kat

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Piercing apprenticeship in a UK APP studio.

6 months into my 3 year piercing apprenticeship.

It’s officially been 6 whole months (and a bit) since I started my piercing apprenticeship here at Rogue, so I’m writing this blog detailing my time so far here. Mainly so I can document how far I’ve come and what I’ve achieved, but it’s also good for those of you wanting a piercing apprenticeship to really know all the stuff that goes on, even before you pick up a needle. Piercing apprenticeships (especially good ones) can involve a lot more than initially expected, and your day to day activities can majorly vary from what you may have considered.

 So let’s start from the beginning, before I was allowed anywhere near the inside of the piercing room there were a million and one things I had to learn, and my first memory was spending an entire day doing the Blood-borne pathogens training. The BBP training was an online video course set up by the APP that I was able to do from the studio and from home. It was 8 hours in total, in which I had to watch videos separated into different topics, such as donning and doffing PPE, the difference between contaminated, clean and sterile, and Epidemiology and Exposure Management and then answer questions about that section. This was my first sort of introduction into keeping myself safe at work, preventing cross contamination, and working in a sterile environment.

My first week also consisted of a lot of shadowing, and watching Aiden prep for piercings, watching the piercings happen and how he uses different techniques. 

I also spent a lot of time with Kat, learning how desk works! At first it started off with doing the post office runs, and learning the aftercare speeches, taking trips out to get stuff for the shop, learning all the different jewelry, even learning how to take photos of jewelry. This also included how to set up the shop in the morning, and close the shop at the end of the day. Everything from doing the helix tests, hoovering and mopping, running the water distiller etc. It was really surprising to find out how much stuff went into everyday life of piercing, without even doing actual piercings! My favorite example piece to talk to people about is changing bins! Because of contaminated waste, there’s a whole procedure to safely change out the clinical waste bins to keep yourself safe, but also prevent any type of cross contamination. It definitely was not something I expected to have to learn. 

The biggest challenge that completely exhausted me, was when I first went through the process of cleaning and sterilizing the jewelry, while doing stock takes, and making sure everything is still in date. It has become a huge part of my day to day work life now here at rogue, but when i first started the task i spent a solid two days doing it, and it was a lot mentally! Now I don’t think twice when doing it, and can do it a lot faster and with greater precision.

The first few months of my piercing apprenticeship were very repetitive as I learned the ropes! Every week I had a new section of information to study and learn, as Aiden had written a sort of learning manual for me! Each week was a new section, which I had to read through, physically demonstrate, and then answer a small quiz! This ranged from lots of things, from sterilizing jewelry and tools, to learning COSHH and MSDS safety protocols! 

My favorite stuff I started to learn along the way, is the ongoing learning of piercing history! The traditions, culture, heritage, and the origins of body piercing. It’s really amazing to learn where piercings have originally originated from in different cultures of the years, how the industry as a whole has made body piercings very westernized, and how over the years it’s slowly started to become more socially accepted. The learning of piercing history is not something you can sit down in a day and learn, it’s an ongoing teaching session through your career, and that is genuinely so fantastic to me. 

The month leading up to Christmas was a very interesting time! Rogue introduced another guest piercer to the shop, which was the lovely Krista! This was my first time meeting another member of the industry outside the studio. This was really interesting to me because Krista is not a UK piercer, she’s a traveling piercer, and a resident in Honolulu, Hawaii! Her whole vibe and atmosphere is so kind, caring, friendly and energetic! Definitely a little bit different to the calmer, quieter, more ‘introverted’ UK atmosphere. It was an absolute pleasure to work alongside someone who works in a slightly different manner, with different experiences. It’s always exciting to meet other industry members and learn new things! 

Krista also repierced my bridge piercing for me, and introduced me to marking piercings as she helped me and let me draw the markings for my own bridge! This was my first proper physical introduction into piercings, rather than just watching and learning, and being really involved in my own piercing was really gratifying. 

Coming back from christmas was very exciting, it was the first introduction of me picking up needles! We originally started with larger gauge needles and sheets of foam, looking at how bevel theory works and how to pierce without removing tissue, just displacing! Working with larger gauge needles initially was very helpful in terms of being able to see what I needed to do and how to do it with the shape of the needles! This then gradually moved on to me piercing bananas and oranges. I pierced the fruit with the skin on and off. This is because it was similar to working with skin in terms of feel and movement. Working with the skin on helped me get a feel for depth of layers in the skin, and also the toughness of skin. 

And then, it was time! I got to do my first ever piercing! Aiden got to be my first ever client as such, and we started off nice and easy with a helix piercing! We did a mid helix, with Neometal high polish threadless balls! He talked me through the entire process, showing me how to mark, how to work with the client, how to check my angles, and where to place my fingers for my own safety! I was definitely nervous, however I also felt super confident thanks to all the gradual training, and when it was done I had every right to be confident! For a first ever piercing, it was super impressive. The angles were super nice, and it came out straight! There was a slight bit of bruising during the healing process due to my technique, but definitely nothing to complain about for number 1!

That first piercing was then followed by a second helix piercing on Kat! I was definitely more nervous for this one, probably due to the adrenaline rush from the first one, but this time it was a much smoother process, and healed even better! And then Gemma also enlisted her trust in me, and she let me do my first ever conch! This was then followed by Gemma piercing my flat for me, learning new techniques! And then later in the week, I got to perform a double lobe piercing on Breo, which was slightly more challenging due to Breo already having stretched lobes. It was a really good bonding moment for the studio.

And then, we got to open my calendar and I started offering apprentice piercings! Starting off nicely with helix piercings, and then conch piercings! It was really great meeting new clients, and previous clients, who trusted me enough to perform new piercings on them!  I was pretty confident from the start, although I definitely did have my nerves, but I think it was mainly because I have such a supportive and knowledgeable team around me! The most nervous I have been for a piercing so far was my first ever pair of nipples! It was my first freehand piercing, and it was also a slightly different technique than I was used to, and it was also one of my close friends! A lot of pressure! It went pretty well, however I did have to re-pierce one as it did not come out horizontally. Thankfully, my client was super amazing about the whole thing and her patience and kindness was highly appreciated. I’m still working on nipple piercings, alongside nostrils and lobes as well. My favorite lobe piercings I’ve done so far are the couple I’ve done working around already existing larger gauge/stretched lobes. I love seeing the second and love adorned with something small and contrasting to the larger piercing! It’s definitely a style favorite of mine. 

Alongside my piercing apprenticeship with Rogue, im currently being tasked with helping the social media accounts! I’m working on weekly instagram reels, in terms of filming, editing and uploading!  If you’ve been a fan of the current How It Works series, then thank you! Having to be the brains behind it was not as easy as I expected. I used a variety of apps when I first started experimenting with the design of how I wanted the reels to look. I’m still playing around with the design, and trying to make them more inclusive! I’ve recently found closed captions which was a really important addition. I’m also working on building a Rogue tik tok account, which I want to make the vibe for this one a little less serious than the instagram! I want it to be a bit more loose and for people toi laugh and have fun, and see the not always so serious side of the shop! 

We’re currently moving forward to opening my calendar up one day a week for junior piercings! This means I’ll get to work 1 on 1 with clients, without full supervision as I’d have completed my training on these piercings with the current technique! And that’s not the only exciting thing to look forward to this year. In September we are heading to the UK APP conference which is very exciting! It’s going to be a really great opportunity to meet new piercers across the industry and make connections, and to learn so much more stuff! The future is definitely looking shiny.

Good piercing apprenticeships can be very hard to come across, and they’re not necessarily what you think they might be! There’s so much information that really helps further your training than you would think. A good piercing apprenticeship should take between 2-3 years, with a very experienced mentor. If you’d like to understand why, read our other blog post detailing why they take a long time!

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Interview with a Rogue – Jay Abell

Tell us about your first experience with piercing?

My first ever experience with piercing was when I got my lobes pierced, but I was too young to remember, so my first actual experience was when I got my helix pierced. I think I was around 14, and my mum had got her daith pierced, and I begged her to let me have my ear done. Knowing what I know now, it probably wasn’t the safest piercing I ever had, but it was a new experience and I kind of just didn’t stop from there.

What’s your favorite piercing you have?

My favorite piercing I have currently is the one in my chin, probably because it’s more of a “fun” piercing, very short term and not viable. It’s a fun challenge to see if I can heal it, but in the meantime it’s just really cute! I love watching people’s reactions when they see I have a piercing in my chin! 

How did you get into the industry?

I got into the industry through gaining my apprenticeship with Rogue. To be honest, I was extremely lucky with how I landed it. I left university and came home to Nottingham, got a local bar job, followed by a second job at a cafe. During this time I started visiting Rogue and slowly started to upgrade my jewellery to brands like neometal. (I was wearing a lot of odd sizes, and different materials like plastic). Upon talking to Kat and Aiden, I told them I was wanting to become a piercer, but I was working other jobs. I interacted with the studio online, but I also did a lot of home research. I started learning more about the APP and UK APP, and how they work and things like that.

I actually had a folder at home, with lots of their stuff printed out!

From there I got offered an interview with the studio, spoke about Harry Styles and One Direction a lot, and was just honest the entire time about what I  liked, what I knew and didn’t know and fortunately, got offered the apprenticeship.

What’s your favorite thing about working at Rogue?

Probably the environment. The clients are absolutely lovely and always make you so excited to work with them. There’s no pressure to wear anything I’m uncomfortable with, I can be myself, I can also have a couple of biscuits with my tea if I want to. There’s the right level of pressure, do your job and do it well, make sure your stuff is done, keep moving forward and working and aspiring harder. 

What are you most proud of in your career so far?

To be honest right now I’m just proud of making it this far. Every single day I learn something new, or I do something new and it’s all so exciting. Honestly, I’m just super proud of how far I’ve come since a year ago. 

Jay’s first ever piercing, performed on Aiden

What does the future hold for Jay?

The future probably holds a lot for me but to be honest I hate thinking about it! I find if I make any sort of long term plans it always changes by time I get there! Plus I just really struggle to think that far in advance. I like to take every day, and every week as it comes by, and I just work with what I’ve got and what’s coming.

What are some challenges you’ve faced as a modded person?

To be honest, I’ve been extremely lucky when facing any challenges. I wouldn’t say I’m heavily modded or anything like that, although I suppose I might stand out a bit more in a crowd than your average person. I’ve been extremely lucky with working jobs where heavy makeup, and short dyed hair, and piercings were never an issue. They’ve also been a great conversation starter for people as well! My biggest issue has been with people asking if there’s other places I have pierced that they can’t immediately see, or purposely pointing out tattoos on my legs and chest which can be quite uncomfortable. Either that, or remarks from family, or people slightly older telling me I’d look much nicer without it all.

How did your family/friends react when you became a piercer?

I first wanted to be a piercer when I was 17 and was going to leave sixth form. My mum was really supportive and was behind me pursuing what I wanted to do. She’d just make sure that I knew what I was doing and that I had back up plans! For example, I was working a part time job as well. And then when I told my family I was dropping out of university to pursue it, again everyone was really supportive and happy that I was doing what I wanted to do. They’ve been really proud of me every step of the way, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Top 3 movies?

That’s such a nightmare question, I don’t watch movies a lot, and when I do I can never remember them afterwards! 

What’s on your playlist?

The song I’m obsessed with rightnow is ‘Friendly Sex’ by Caity Baser. But overall it’s a really weird mix of 80s, 90s, and early 2000/2010 love songs. Although if you ask me again in about a week it’ll probably be something completely different!

What advice can you offer to aspiring and established apprentices?

Be yourself, and work hard. When wanting to be a part of a world that thrives on ‘being yourself’ it can be really easy to be swept up with trends, or what other people might be doing. It can be really easy to lose yourself when trying to fit in, and in the long run it doesn’t benefit anyone. You’ve got to stick to your guns, and be unapologetically yourself.

You’ve also got to work hard, whether that’s at your apprenticeship or the other stuff you’re doing. I worked two jobs before I gained my apprenticeship, and dropped out of uni when truly realizing it’s what I wanted to do, but every step of the way I continued to work hard. I finished my year at uni, taking every last exam and meeting, even though I knew I was leaving. Working hard is a really good way to prove your commitment to things, but also if and when you do eventually leave, it’s always good to keep those connections in life.

What’s some of the most valuable advice you’ve been given so far?

“It’s amazing what you can learn when you stop talking and start listening”

What’s your favorite snack?

I really struggle with having favorite things, I just normally fixate on something for a few weeks and then never touch it again! My latest one is probably magic stars. wonderful.

Favorite drink?

Obviously redbull.

If you weren’t a piercer, what would you be doing? 

That’s a tricky one. I think if I’d never had realized I wanted to do piercing, I’d probably still be at university studying acting. However, if I’d never have gotten my apprenticeship when I did, I don’t think much would be different. I’d still be working in the pub and the cafe, still trying to gain one!

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Interview with a Rogue – Breo Hoek

Hey Breo! Can you tell us about your first experience with piercing?

My very first experience with body piercing was when I was 17. It was on my left nipple, and indeed, a bad idea. It never settled down after years due being pierced in the wrong spot with wrong jewellery. I’ve learnt, like most. the hard way.

How did you become a piercer?

The tattooist doing my rib piece in my hometown told me he would pay for my initial courses and certificates if I agreed to join him at the new studio he was about to open. This was in 2006/2007. I traveled to Madrid and Barcelona to do a couple of courses and I started right away. Not the best way, but back then we had no social media and the access to piercing information was almost unreachable for us, so learning by trial and error was the main resource we had.

What was your experience like coming to the UK?

It was a little bit random. I was living in Barcelona, I had no job at that time, and a friend of mine offered me to go to work in London. I didn’t hesitate, I needed a change, I wanted to work speaking English (that would give me the opportunity of working anywhere in the world in the future), and it was very clear I had to do it alone, for self growth. I’d been in London for 3 years. After that, I worked in Shrewsbury, at a shop called Adorn. I was there for 4 years. Then, the pandemic hit us, and I started working abroad with a jewellery company called Maria Black. Here is where I traveled more than ever in my life. And since about a year ago, after several months as regular guest at Rogue, I became a resident piercer officially at the beginning of this year. It’s been a hell of a journey, but I wouldn’t change a single thing even if I could.

How has the industry changed since you joined?

When I started, the lack of information was the main issue we all had. Piercers would never help you, I guess because the fear of being judged. Poor jewellery quality, poor aseptic techniques, poor customer service and worse work quality. Shops with loud heavy metal music, dirty walls and aggressive looking staff was the average thing. It was just a matter of being able to go through with a needle and fit something through after. 

Nowadays, EVERYTHING counts. From how you look, to how you express yourself, from what you use and how you use it when you do a piercing procedure, every single detail counts. Nowadays we only call them piercings once they’ve healed. Before that, it’s just the ‘project’.

How does the UK industry compare to the Spanish one?

The british piercing community is bigger than the Spanish one, and more active. 

Not too long ago, the Spanish piercing scene was split into two groups. The ones that care about the body piercing as a community, and the ones that didn’t. Nowadays, I’m seeing spanish young piercers with really high standards from the start of their careers, and that makes me really proud. It means that those winds of superiority are long gone and the willingness to learn from each other is bigger and stronger than ever.

You have LOTS of certificates, can you tell us about them?

To me, they only tell you that you attended seminars and classes. It is true that the more certs you have on your walls, the more obvious it is to clients that you have put time into your education. They will show how much you care about what you do, and those that can read in between the  lines can appreciate it. But what counts the most to me is the trajectory. It’s all about growing not only as a piercer, but as a human.

What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career so far?

I’m proud of my determination. I have been living in several places around the globe, always because my job, and there is not a single decision that I have taken and regretted after. I am a person with very strong convictions and perseverance. So if I decide something, I’ll do anything that is possible to achieve it.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a piercer?

Traveling alone is a challenge most of the times, but the biggest one was the fact that I have to live far from my family and old friends because of my job. After all these years, sometimes it feels like you are from nowhere, but luckily the close people to me always remind me that I’m loved here and missed everytime I go away for a little, making me wanting to come back soon every time :’)

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as modded person? (does that change from country to country?).

I am lucky enough to be modded and most of the times respected, regardless of my appearance. But I remember once that I was called a distraction at a wedding in a church, for having visible tattoos. Nothing serious, it made me laugh.

Tell us about your experience traveling.

I’ve been a traveler since I decided to be a full time piercer. I traveled all around Spain, UK, Denmark and some other European cities. All my travels made me stronger, maturer and wiser.

I have attended countless seminars all over Europe, sometimes several times a year, just to keep myself updated about how to do my job better, and I plan to keep doing so forever. Self growth is essential as human beings, and one of the best ways to do so is traveling.

What’s your favourite piercing you have?

I think it’s my philtrum piercing. I can’t imagine myself without it anymore.

What’s your favourite piercing to perform?

I love conch piercings. I literally could spend the whole day doing them.

What’s your top 3 favourite movies.

Top 1: Gozu

Top 2: Akira

Top 3: Brother, where art thou

Favourite thing to snack on.

I love cookies. And gummies.

How do you take your tea/coffee.

My tea is green and raw. My coffee has to be thick, I want my spoon standing up, mayonnaise-like texture. Jokes aside, I like it strong and just one sugar, with oat milk preferably

What’s on your playlist.

I’m probably the most eclectic person I know in terms of music taste. I keep enjoying the same music I used to listen to 15 years ago. I think it’s easier to tell what I dislike: Latin music/reggaeton (I can’t deal with it, sorry not sorry🙃), techno, or anything that sounds comercial and for the masses, like pop music, dance, etc. 

What are some of your hobbies outside of work? 

I love videogames. I used to play PUBG Mobile at a competitive level, but now I just play for fun. If you like the game and want to add me to your friends list, let me know!

I also started enjoying the gym, it feels good and rewarding after exercising.

Do you believe in unicorns? 

If you do not believe they exist, you are a horrible person without a meaning in this world. Unicorns are rare, not imaginary. 

What’s your favourite part of working at Rogue? 

The best at Rogue is, of course, the team and the customers. I love being part of this team of weirdos, always motivated and full of positive energy, and I love the city because every year we meet new people due being a university town. We know people from all around the globe and that’s awesome!

Check out more of Breo’s work over at Instagram by clicking here

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The Basics Transition

At Rogue we pride ourselves on using the best jewellery, equipment and techniques that we have access to, to give our clients the best service we possibly can. A lot of our regulars will know that I (Aiden) used to be a Mechanical Engineer for the MoD and specialised in metal standards and that this knowledge lead me to be a driving factor in the creation of the Material Standards for the UKAPP. Keeping up with progression is an important part of any piercing studio and any piercers career and the time has come for us to progress again.

Since the beginning of Rogue our basic range jewellery has been produced by a UK based body jewellery manufacturer who has responded well to demands from piercers to keep improving. It has come to our attention recently that this company hasn’t been as open to progression and their quality has been dropping and this has left us in the tricky position of having to change supplier. There currently isn’t another option in the UK working to the standards we require so we are beginning to import our jewellery all the way from America.

So, What’s Different?

For us to be confident to install new jewellery into a fresh piercing we must know a lot of information but by far the most important is the grade of the material. The grade of the material is connected to a standard which tells us exactly what mixture of metals make up the alloy and the exact process for how the material was made. It is quite common for piercers and clients to get hung up on the chemistry of the material but that only tells us part of the picture.

Chemistry Test

An example of a Chemistry test for body jewellery. This example shows how only a tiny sample batch is tested.

A chemistry test is used to prove what the alloy is of a specified piece of metal. A chemistry test isn’t suitable for implanted materials because it only proves the chemistry of the single piece tested rather than the entire batch. We need a higher level of guarantee that body jewellery is safe to go in the body. In the industrial world a chemistry test is fine but as every single piece of body jewellery must be safe for use in the body we need a more detailed form of guarantee.

As the item has to be ground and damaged in order to be tested, it would be unusable after the test is complete.

In the image to the left, note the sentence at the bottom “Samples submitted by customer, results relate only to items tested.”. This means that even the testing laboratory agree that this test is only suitable for the exact test piece rather than the entire batch.

Mill Certificate

Mill certificates tell us the exact process that was used to produce the metal and guarantees that all metal produced in the process will be homogeneous (Definition: Of uniform structure or composition). This is vitally important when installing jewellery into the human body.

The UK piercing industry has been specifically requesting Mill Certificates (not Chemistry tests) from all of our suppliers since the formation of the UKAPP. The reason for these requests is that in the past Titanium sourced from certain mills around the world has been found to have falsified their paperwork for Titanium used in surgical implants. This non-compliant metal only revealed itself to be unsafe when people that had medical implants started to have reactions to the metals and in a few extreme cases the implants were rejected by the body. Legislation for Body jewellery is not nearly as stringent as legislation written for medical implants, but the body can have just as serious reactions to non-safe body jewellery as it would to a non-safe medical implant. As Piercers we want every piercing to be happy and healthy so having a guaranteed safe material is of the utmost importance to us.

Important points to note on a mill certificate are:

  • Material Country of Origin – For DFARS approval
  • Material Grade – To show the designated grade of the material from this melt
  • Melting Process – To show the process the mill followed to produce the material
  • Heat/Melt Number – For batch control and material traceability
  • Material Dimensions – To show which supplied raw material came from the batch
  • Total Material – Shown in either weight or length – To show how much raw material was sourced

DFARS

Multiple Launch Rocket System (M270) | Lockheed Martin
An M270 MLRS (Multi launch Rocket System) produced as a product between the US, UK and French defence industries. The materials used to manufacture this vehicle are all controlled y the DFARS agreement.

DFARS – Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement

Due to some Titanium Mills falsifying their paperwork and producing material not of the grade stated the Body Piercing Industry started to search for a form of guarantee that material sourced is of the grade advertised. There were very few options available for this and the final choice was the DFARS agreement.

DFARS is a system used by the US Defence sector. It was originally laid out to allow the American Defence Industry to source material from outside of the US and still guarantee that the material is of the correct grade. I used to work within a similar framework when sourcing Armour for the British military. As the American Defence sector is incredibly specific about the metals used in their products this was the perfect system for the body jewellery industry. This system may seem like it doesn’t apply to body jewellery but as there aren’t any systems for material guarantees outside for the defence world, the DFARS agreement is currently the best system we have.

Rather than have individual companies or metal mills be compliant with DFARS, different countries will claim compliance. This means that any material sources from these countries will have a guarantee it was produced using a process specified in the material grade. Current countries in the DFARS agreement are:

AustraliaGreecePortugal
BelgiumIsraelSlovenia
CanadaItalySpain
Czech RepublicJapanSweden
DenmarkLatviaSwitzerland
EgyptLuxembourgTurkey
EstoniaNetherlandsUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
FranceNorway
GermanyPoland
Notable nations missing from the DFARS agreement are China, India and Thailand.

The UK is a DFARS compliant nation, but as we have no Titanium Mills here we must source our Titanium from elsewhere. Currently the vast majority of titanium is produced in China but as China isn’t a DFARS compliant country we CANNOT accept this as safe for use in body jewellery. Currently most verifiable implant grade Titanium is sourced from US or Italian mills.

Polish

SHOP TIPS #293 Surface Roughness Finish 1 of 2 tubalcain - YouTube
A Roughness Scale used in industrial applications to compare surface finishes

At Rogue we are constantly shouting about surface finish. This is because there is a direct link between the quality of the surface finish, the ease of healing and the long term health of a piercing. The suppliers we are switching to achieve a much better polish so this will be a big improvement on our current basic range. A better (more shiny) surface finish improves your healing process. We discuss this in lots of details in our dedicated Surface Finish blog!

A super-shiny mirror finish on an Anatometal 18k Dome is a perfect example.

Thread Quality

Screw Thread Terminology Explained | Assembly Fasteners, Inc.
A Diagram of the dimensions required for a screw thread to be produced

The new suppliers we are moving too also have a much tighter Quality Control system. this means that there will be less issues with jewellery coming unscrewed, being lost or being damaged. We would love to live in a world where products are 100% perfect all the time but sadly this isn’t realistic. The companies we are switching to also want to live in a world where products are perfect 100% of the time and we are excited to be working with companies that have such pride in their products.

Cost

With higher quality Titanium, better quality control, international shipping, import tax, inflation and the damage to the supply chain that COVID has caused we will be seeing a price rise on our basic options. We never like having to put our prices up but during this time we are going to have to. We will give all of our clients plenty of notice so we can all prepare for the change.

We are not in the business of changing prices without giving you plenty of notice! We are aiming to change our basic range jewellery to new, higher-quality basic jewellery in January. Any appointments after this day will have a different cost for basic jewellery – Our high-end prices are staying the same!

As always we will be striving to be the best piercers we can be and will continue to do the best we can for our clients. That’s it for this week. We’ll be back next week with a blog all about circular barbells. Have a good week everyone!

Thank you for reading. If you have any questions, you can contact us via email or instagram.

Aiden

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Shadowing and Guesting: Why is it Important?

Shadowing and Guesting might seem like a piercer jolly but it is much more important than you may realise. You may have noticed that over the last month there have been some friendly new faces around Rogue. All of these lovely piercers have been here to guest spot or to shadow.

Guest Spots

Guest spots are when a piercer goes to work in a different studio than their usual resident studio. These piercers can sometimes be permanent travelers or just heading to a single studio. Guest spots can be helpful to a studio for multiple reasons, with the most common reasons including holiday cover, illness cover and studio growth. Aiden was a permanent travelling artist before setting up Rogue and had spent 2.5 years globetrotting across the UK and Europe. Guesting and working in new studios can really push you to try new techniques to fit with that studio’s style, and increases the speed at which you learn. Guest spots are often well-paid and you are expected to be piercing the entire time. It’s a great way to earn money and travel across the world! Guest spots are often for highly-skilled piercers who have the flexibility to work in whatever situation they find themselves in.

Shadowing

Shadowing is the process by which piercers will attend another experienced piercers’ studio in order to specifically learn a new technique. It’s like a mini-apprenticeship! For example, Rae has been with us for the past three days to learn new techniques for forward helixes, tragus and daith piercings. Shadowing means that the learner watches everything the experienced piercer is doing, and the new techniques are explained in detail. This is a great way to brush up on new skills and confirm your own knowledge. It’s so important to realise that most piercers work alone and do not often have the chance to share knowledge or improve their techniques without visiting other studios.

We welcome piercers of all experience levels to shadow at Rogue. Get in touch via aiden@roguepiercing.co.uk if you would like to shadow us!

Who’s visiting?

Marianne has been our main guest this last month, and has been spending her Fridays and Saturdays working alongside us in our second piercing room. It’s been lovely to see her confidence grow! Marianne has been piercing for 9 years. She was trained just down the road from Rogue in Pierce of Art in Alfreton, so that’s the necessary Nottingham connection. Mari is currently in the process of opening her own studio in Bangor, North Wales!

Rae has been spending much of this week shadowing Aiden to hone her skills. She has been piercing just south of Cardiff for 7 years, but felt it was valuable to come and see another experienced piercer work. While she was here, we happily pierced a set of supremely high nostrils on her! We are looking forward to seeing these heal over the coming months.

We used a set of princess-cut London Blue Topaz ends from BVLA for these high nostrils for Rae. What a treat!
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August Guests!

Hi everyone! Today we’ll be talking about some exciting stuff that will be happening at Rogue in the coming weeks. We are pleased to announce a rota of guest artists who will be calling Rogue home between now and Autumn. We hope you look forward to meeting them as much as we are looking forward to hosting them!

In August we will have two new guest artists! You will be able to meet Marianne, and the wonderful David Angeles of Talisman Tattoo.

David

David will be our main piercer on the week of August the 17th to 21st.

How long have you been piercing?

I’ve been piercing full-time for five years, and running my own show for two. I currently work out of Talisman Tattoo. I’ve always pierced in Devon (Exeter, Ashburton, and now Plymouth) except for a few guest spots elsewhere. Really excited to add Nottingham to the list!

What’s your favourite piercings to do?

Nostrils! Bring me all your nostrils. Especially the paired ones! Daiths and kids lobes are a close second. Whilst I’m at Rogue, I’d also be absolutely gassed to do some large gauge lobes as there isn’t so much call for this in Devon.

What’s your favourite piece of jewellery at the moment?

Ah, I’m not wearing most of my jewellery at the moment. I took most of my piercings out a few years ago to “start again” and I’ve got loads of jewellery waiting to go in fresh piercings that haven’t gone in yet! I’m currently only wearing the Jolly Roger from Tsar, and three Junipurr seam rings stacked in my conch! I’ve got a Body Gems Spider, and a Buddha Jewellery Kite Shaped Bezel waiting for me that I can’t wait to install! I’m sticking with a yellow gold with black stones theme so; Onyx, Black Swarovskis, and Black Diamonds! On the market in general, my favourite piece of jewellery is (and very likely always will be!) the BVLA mini-olympus! I’ve literally just got a BVLA account, so that piece will 1000% be in my first order. And it will be going directly into my septum.

Marianne

Mari will be guesting with us every Friday and Saturday in August – Some of you have already met her!

How long have you been piercing?

I’ve been piercing for 9 years as of the first of August! I was trained just down the road from Rogue in Pierce of Art in Alfreton, so that’s my Nottingham connection. I’m currently in the process of opening my own studio in Bangor, North Wales!

What’s your favourite piercings to do?

My current favourite is any ear curation. It’s great to take the time with my clients and get creative with them! Especially with clients who haven’t got many piercings, it’s fun to work out a full plan with them and start the process of arranging a well thought out selection of piercings and jewellery that all work well together.

What’s your favourite piece of jewellery at the moment?

I think my favourite thing right now is the first piece of BVLA I ever used! Today I got the pleasure of piercing a long-term Rogue client with a BVLA Mini Kandy, set with genuine Chrysoprase. It’s absolutely stunning.

The next few months will be an exciting time for Rogue, and we are really looking forward to sharing this new direction with you all. We feel that having many talented artists work with us can only be a good thing as we share techniques, teaching experiences and meet other good piercings from around the UK. We will be confirming new additions to our permanent team soon, but in the meantime we hope you enjoy these new faces at Rogue!

-The Rogue Team < 3

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The Best of April

Well, what a welcome! You have all be utterly wonderful and we cannot thank you enough for being so supportive, kind and generally lovely during this first week of piercing.

Today I’ll be giving you a highlight reel of some of the piercing work we have done this month! We have experienced everything from the excitement of first lobe piercings, to the more unusual including vertical scaffolds and intimate piercings. 

Aiden

A perfect bridge piercing with a mirror-finish Titanium barbell.

My personal favourite piercings that Aiden has done this month are the weird and wonderful. Anything to do with big needles makes me so happy! Large-gauge lobes are the perfect way to skip the hassle of stretching lobes. We can pierce up to 5mm, and clients often find it easier than standard stretched lobes to stretch up to 8-10mm once healed. You can see some photos of these badass guys and their cool new additions below!

Vertical scaffolds are so fun! This one is now happily healing out there in the world.

We have also had a run on bridges recently. We think it’s due to the currently mask mandate. It’s one of the few facial piercings we are offering right now, and one of the few that are visible when you wear a mask! Bridges are a complex piercing to perform simply because they have to be aligned and even in three planes of view.

Jess

Jess has been working hard on her apprentice piercings for the last three weeks! She has been doing an amazing job working on rooks, navels, forward helixes and scaffold piercings. She still has a few slots left for apprentice-rate navel, scaffold and forward helix piercings! Get in touch via her work account to claim your slot. There are only a limited quantity of each, so get in quickly!

Aside from apprentice work, Jess has been working with some beautiful anatomy recently. We love that every single client is different. It’s what makes this line of work so exciting! Gold jewellery has been very popular this week, and you can see a stunning example below. 

This was a fun one! This conch piercing looks stunning adorned with a BVLA Sophie Tear set with a genuine Diamond.

We love using BVLA jewellery. It adds a special touch to any piercing, no matter how simple. Our next BVLA order deadline is Sunday, May 16th. Get in touch before then in order to secure your place! Custom ordering from BVLA is no more expensive than if the item was in our studio, and you can customise the item to even the smallest minutiae.

Kat

I have been working hard behind the scenes – I may not be a piercer but I have been carefully curating all of our jewellery orders for over a year now. It’s a wonderful feeling to see a client fall in love with a piece of jewellery that you also adore. We have recently received our latest Anatometal order, and I happily chose a few statement pieces that can be purchased both in store and through our website! 

An Anatometal 4-Gem Marquise Fan set with rainbow Swarovski crystals in solid 18k Gold. You can purchase this here!

Again, we can’t believe the wonderful welcome we have received from the lovely people of Nottingham. We might make this a monthly series where you can see the best of that months piercing portfolio!

See you soon,

Kat

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Reopening Rogue and COVID-19

Well, it’s currently Friday the 9th of April and we reopen in 4 days on the 13th. I think it’s fair to say that it’s been a long wait and a very long time in the making. Being closed for another three months means that we have been forcibly closed for a total of about 36 weeks since March last year. It has been touch and go at times but we are proud to have made it out the other side of yet another National Lockdown. Hopefully this is the last long lockdown we have to endure, and we look forward to flourishing in Nottingham in the coming months and years!

Today we’re talking about what the COVID-19 policies will look like in our studio when we reopen. For a short summary, look on our instagram.  We have reopened our booking portal, so click here to book your appointment! We remain an appointment-only studio, so do book to avoid disappointment as we do not take walk ins.

Before Your Appointment

We send out all the consent forms and relevant details to you within your confirmation email. It’s super important you fill these out before you arrive for your piercing, as it takes up valuable time in your appointment which can be used for much more fun things like picking out Gold jewellery! Not only that, but we do need to be precise with our appointment timings in order to avoid overlap with previous or newly arriving clients. Please fill in all documentation before your appointment slot!

We aren’t doing orofacial piercings, but here is some inspo of piercings we can do! A beautiful daith pierced with an Industrial Strength Odyssey Clicker.

As always, we recommend you eat a good meal and drink plenty of water within 4 hours of your appointment. We find it makes the whole process much easier when you are calm, well-fed and alert! This also makes the risk of feeling a bit woozy much smaller, which I think we can all agree is a good thing.

When we reopen, we will not be performing any under-the-mask services. This includes piercings, checkups, jewellery changes and troubleshooting. This is for the safety of our staff and other clients. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, and we feel it is reckless and irresponsible to be offering these types of oral and facial piercings during the pandemic. We will be closely monitoring the Government guidelines and local infection rates during the coming months, and will make a science and law-driven decision on this policy in the future. We do not currently have a provisional date for the reopening of under-the-mask services.

When You Arrive

We ask that you arrive a maximum of 5 minutes before your appointment. Normally we don’t mind if you arrive early (and bring snacks for us!) but at the moment we cannot have a waiting area and that means you will be turned away until your appointment time. We firmly stick to a one in, one out policy as it greatly reduces the risk of viral cross-contamination and gives us time to fully decontaminate all surfaces, door handles, anything that might have been touched by the previous client. 

Nipple piercings do count as intimate piercings, so you can have a chaperone for them. This pair was pierced with gorgeous Neometal threadless barbells set with Capri Blue Opals.

We also politely ask that unless you are a parent bringing a minor into the studio for their first piercings, or a client arriving for an intimate piercing or intimate piercing consultation, you must arrive alone for any piercing appointment. We do not currently allow groups or friends into the studio unless they are there to chaperone your intimate appointment. If you arrive with a friend or partner, they must wait outside the studio for the duration of your appointment. Please take this into consideration if you have booked 40 minutes of appointments and it is cold outside! If you arrive in a group, all with appointments back-to-back, then we will only allow one client in at a time to select jewellery and get pierced. This is regardless of social bubbles or family groups, this is simply to allow us to be able to socially distance from our clients within the studio and is entirely for the health and well-being of our staff.

As in previous opening periods, we will have our NHS Test and Trace QR code on the door and you must scan this before setting foot in the studio. This means you will need to download the Test and Trace app in advance of your appointment if you have not already. If you refuse to scan this, we also have a manual register on our tablet which you can fill out. 

The wearing of a medical mask is compulsory for the entire duration of your time at Rogue. This means you must not remove your mask for any reason. If you feel breathless or need a minute, we are more than happy to guide you outside where you can have a breather. If you refuse to wear a mask in Rogue, you will be asked to leave. If you have a genuine medical exemption, then please get in touch with us before your appointment and we will see if we can make reasonable alterations to our service. Our general advice in this instance would be, if you are mask exempt, to wait for a time where masks are no longer mandatory before booking for a piercing. Along the same vein, if you are medically exempt, this does not mean we will perform facial piercings on you. The same rules apply to everyone that we will not be performing any oral or nasal piercings on any clients until the laws on close-contact services are updated in the future. 

So there you have it, an introduction to the current policies at Rogue. It sounds like a lot, and it is! We are closely following current Government guidelines, and there is even more regulation that is recommended by the Association of Professional Piercers that we also follow which is more piercer-focussed and behind the scenes. You can put your trust in us as we are going above and beyond to make your visits to Rogue a safe and educational experience.

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Why Does a Piercing Apprenticeship Take So Long?

Today we’ll be discussing why apprenticeships take so long and why you shouldn’t pay for online or in-person piercing schools. A full, comprehensive piercing apprenticeship lasts 2-3 years. In this blog we delve into why that’s the case, and why you shouldn’t settle for anything less.

What is an Piercing Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is the best way to learn to pierce. During an apprenticeship, you will be trained by an experienced older piercer in all aspects of safety and technique. Choosing your mentor is a big decision as their experience and reputation will follow you into your professional career. Make sure your mentor is qualified, experienced and a respected member of the industry. For Aiden’s rundown of piercing education, click here.

Aiden has been working in this industry for over 10 years, and was a founding board member of the UKAPP. This is the kind of experienced mentor you should be looking for! (However we might be a little bit biased.)

What do you Learn during a Piercing Apprenticeship?

In short, you learn an awful lot!

You will first learn all the safety aspects of piercing: Bloodborne pathogens training, cross-contamination, how to clean and sterilise jewellery, how to safely reprocess tools, which chemicals to clean your station and clients with, and the correct use of a sterile field including sterilised gloves, needles, tools and jewellery. This first stage prepares you to confidently handle a clean environment and prevent infection of yourself and your clients with harmful pathogens. 

The second stage would be learning to handle your clients, organise your day, organise jewellery orders and keep up to date with the financial side of piercing. You will need to know how to take bookings, organise your finances, handle your clients from the moment they step in the door and how to keep a polite and respectful environment to work in. Most piercers work alone or in small studios, so it is important that you know how to be self-employed and confidently run your business. It’s vital that we take care to teach our apprentices everything there is to know, and how to become a good piercer.  Not only this but it is vital that we teach our apprentices about the history of the industry and where we come from. If we don’t pass on the knowledge of Jim Ward, Fakir Musafar, Mr Sebastian and all the founding greats then we are at risk of losing our history altogether.

The third stage of a piercing apprenticeship is the piercing itself. You will be taught how to prep your clients skin, how to open and handle your sterilised gloves, how to approach your client and how to correctly pierce them. You will be taught which jewellery is appropriate for which piercings, how to safely fit them and how to manage your clients when they come in for their checkups and downsizes. Learning to pierce straight, at the correct depth, angle and with your clients anatomy in mind is hugely important for a successful piercing and an uneventful heal for your client. You will be taught to pierce and master a few basic piercings such as conches, helixes and lobes before moving on to more complex piercings. This can take months of work and practice!

Finally, once you have shown you are adept at all piercings and can work cleanly and safely, you will fledge and become a junior piercer. It may take upwards of two years to get to this point. Yes, upwards of two years! There is so much more to piercing than simply pushing a needle through a client and taking their money.

In addition to piercing ears and noses, to be a solid piercer you do have to consider piercings other areas. Intimate piercings are an important part of what we do and if we don’t pass on the knowledge of how they should be pierced, then we risk letting intimate piercing die out in the UK. Being taught to be an ‘ear piercer’ only is a dissatisfying apprenticeship.

Why You Should Never Attend a Piercing School

At Rogue we have seen many piercing schools come and go, but we are yet to see a single school provide a course that gives its learners an acceptable skill level to begin piercing. There are far too many piercing schools or other people who feel that they can teach piercing but they simply do not grasp the scope and depth of knowledge that must be learnt.

Piercing Schools are not the way to go. Don’t fall into the trap!

The average piercing school course in the UK lasts 6 days. 6 days! 6 days is not enough time to learn the basics of hygiene, nevermind become a fully fledged and skilled piercer! There is no way that you will become a confident, adept and knowledgeable piercer with only 40 hours of training. Often these schools are teaching outdated techniques and training you to use low-quality jewellery. As a learner, you may not even realise you are being taught dangerous techniques until it is too late.

Apprenticeships are usually unpaid and usually free of charge. You should not be attending a piercing school that costs thousands of pounds to end up with a ‘qualification’ that actually devalues you in the eyes of the piercing industry. Most high-end piercing studios will reject applications for work or apprenticeships from someone who has taken a piercing course. Some piercing schools claim that a short 2 day course is enough to prepare you for an apprenticeship, but this simply isn’t true. A good studio will think twice about taking you on as an apprentice as they will have to sink time into retraining you out of bad and potentially dangerous habits. It’s simply not worth it.

So How Do I Get An Apprenticeship?

We understand that apprenticeships are rare and incredibly competitive to get. It’s like applying to a university that doesn’t tell you what A levels or grades you need! However, you should not get discouraged from trying to enter the piercing industry. 

In order to secure an piercing apprenticeship, you must first find a piercing studio that is qualified to give you the valuable education that you need. The best way to do this is to find your local APP or UKAPP member studio. This proves that they are working to a high standard of safety and do not compromise their clients safety in order to increase their profits. Some studios are not members and yet exceed the standards set by the UKAPP, so do your own research if you cannot find an APP studio. An piercing apprenticeship from a low quality studio that is not willing to teach you to be a high quality piercer is no apprenticeship at all. Be careful of studios that simply want unpaid labour!

A huge amount of an apprentice’s work is behind the scenes. It’s neither glamorous nor flashy!

Once you have found a studio, it is important that you attend the studio and get pierced by them regularly. Studios are often overwhelmed by apprenticeship requests, often from total strangers, so it is important that you become a recognised and valuable client first. If you have the funds, purchasing high-end jewellery and showing you appreciate high-quality items is a very good way to set yourself above the competition. Becoming a known client is good in that even if that particular studio doesn’t take you on as an apprentice, they can often recommend you as an apprentice to a studio who is looking to take someone on. At this stage you should also be familiarising yourself with high-quality jewellery. Read up on internal threading or threadless jewellery and why external thread is dangerous. Learn about ASTM regulations and why ASTM F-136 Titanium is the safest metal! Find out why sterling silver is not a safe material, and why jewellery must be a certain gauge or thickness in order to be safe. If you really want to impress, memorise the conversions between gauges and inches and metric millimeters!

From becoming a valued client, the next step is to offer your services. This is not a guarantee of an apprenticeship! You can simply ask the piercer if you can help clean up at the end of the day, answer the phone and generally make yourself useful. Quite often as piercers work solo, they will appreciate your offer!

From here, you can ask about an apprenticeship. Taking on an apprentice is a huge financial burden to a studio as you often cost them more money than you make. It’s a big decision to make and your studio may have to think about it. If they offer you an apprenticeship- Congratulations! You are taking the first step to becoming a piercer. If they refuse your offer, don’t panic. They may not be in a position to offer one to you now, but they may reconsider in the future. If not, you can always ask them if they would recommend you to another studio who can take you on. 

As an aside, piercing is a very hard job both physically and mentally. Yes, you can look however you want and be the person you want to be but only to a point. Even within piercings there are limits to how extreme you can look and still maintain a strong client base. Piercing is a fairly unstable job, and the pandemic has only made this more obvious. You don’t become a piercer if you want to be rich! Piercing is also a hugely demanding full time job and a lifestyle. Burnout is very real and mental health issues are a topic of constant conversation within piercing. Make sure you are certain that you want this life before delving into an apprenticeship.

So there you have it! A pretty comprehensive review of what a piercing apprenticeship looks like, and why you should not fall into the trap of piercing schools and courses. Thank you all for taking the time to read this and we will see you again next Friday for a new blog!