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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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Repiercing 101

We are often asked if it is possible to pierce in the same spot as an old piercing. There seems to be some misinformation floating around that says that if you have had a piercing in X location, you can never have a repiercing in the same place! This is not the case and we will explain why, but also talk about which conditions need to be met in order for your repierce to go smoothly.

What Is Scar Tissue?

Your piercing scar is made of scar tissue. Scars are a natural and unavoidable product of your wound healing response – There is little you can do to prevent the growth of scar tissue! Healing a piercing is a careful balance of healing a scar in a certain way to support jewellery. A piercing is a wound, after all. That scar tissue is avascular (has no blood vessels) and is made mostly of collagen. The collagen is not assembled into the organised layers that undamaged skin is, but is quite jumbled and rigid. This is why you might feel a little solid ‘lump’ where your old piercing used to be – That is the scar tissue that formed the piercing channel of your old piercing. As your scar matures, the amount of collagen drops by as much as 20% and you can feel the scar get softer and softer, until you might barely even notice it. This is what we are waiting for when we ask you to remove your jewellery and wait for a re-piercing!

Everyone heals at a different rate. There is no set time frame for when your old piercing has settled enough to repierce. Interestingly, it may take longer for young people to be ready for a repierce as our immune systems are too good at healing! The re-epithelialisation stage of wound healing is when the collagen for the scar tissue is produced. The younger you are, the more energetic this response is and the more collagen you produce. The more collagen you produce, the heavier the scar tissue will be and the longer it will take to settle and be ready to repierce. People over the age of 50 tend to scar less, as their immune response is lower and they do not undergo such an overproduction of collagen. You can read more about the healing process here!

When Am I Ready To Repierce?

This is different for everybody. The best way to know if you are ready to be pierced in the same spot is to head to your piercer and allow them to assess the area. We know what to look for in a scar! Is it hard and granular still, or has it softened enough to repierce?

Repiercing before you are ready can cause issues. Like I mentioned earlier, scar tissue is avascular. This means that if we repierce before the scar tissue has diminished, then there will likely be less blood flow and nutrients to the area which can significantly extend the healing time of your repiercing. Not only would your healing time be extended, but piercing through hard scar tissue is not fun! If the old piercing fistula is still open, you can also have issues where the new and old piercing channels interact and cause issues with draining of fluids.

As a general rule, we recommend waiting:

  • At least 8 weeks to repierce soft tissue like a lobe or navel piercing.
  • At least 12 weeks before repiercing ‘soft cartilage’ like a nose or septum piercing.
  • At least 6 months before repiercing hard cartilage, such as daith, helix or conch piercings.

This is not a hard and fast rule though. Everyone is different! Check in with your piercer if you are unsure, and always wait longer than you think you need to. There is no rush to repierce! A good piercer will produce a great piercing that will last you the rest of your life.

A beautifully settled and repierced second lobe piercing. When done well, you wouldn’t even know that this has been pierced before!

Taking Care of Your Piercing Scar

After removing your old piercing, you shouldn’t need to do anything special to it. No special cleaning, no lotions and potions. The piercing itself will shrink down and seal over fairly quickly, and needs no special care even if the piercing was very new when you removed it.

If your scarring is particularly obtrusive, we recommend that after you remove your jewellery you begin a daily routine of very gentle massage. Use a non-scented natural oil such as Jojoba oil to lubricate the skin, and gently massage the scarring between thumb and forefinger. This can effect how the scar remodels over time, and can break up the scar into softer, more pliable, tissue. There is not a huge amount of evidence (besides anecdotal evidence, which should always be taken with a grain of salt!) that scar massage is super effective, but keeping the area moisturised and stimulating blood flow will not hurt you either. If you have excessive scarring, like in keloid formation or large hypertrophic scarring, then a trip to the dermatologist wouldn’t go amiss. There are lots of things modern medicine has to offer such as laser, silicone patching, corticosteroid injections, and lots of other treatments that can soften and minimise scarring. A standard repiercing shouldn’t need all this special attention though! Time is the greatest healer of all.

As a side note, there is no discount in piercing fee whether it be a new piercing or a repierce. We use exactly the same tools and it takes exactly the same amount of time as a fresh piercing!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch via our instagram or email!

Citations

Bond, J.S., Duncan, J.A.L., Sattar, A., Boanas, A., Mason, T., OʼKane, S. and Ferguson, M.W.J. (2008). Maturation of the Human Scar: An Observational Study. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, [online] 121(5), pp.1650–1658. Available at: https://journals.lww.com/plasreconsurg/Abstract/2008/05000/Maturation_of_the_Human_Scar__An_Observational.19.aspx [Accessed 11 Nov. 2021].

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Piercing Under-16s

Childrens piercings are one of the most rewarding things that we offer here at Rogue. We think almost every person in the UK has had a negative experience with piercings they received as kids, so to be able to change that narrative and provide safe, hygienic piercings to under-16s is incredibly gratifying.

Our age policies allow us to pierce earlobes from the age of 8. We feel this is a great age to begin to pierce from as older kids are more aware of the process, more easily educated on proper care, and are often genuinely excited about the process! You can read our full age policies here. We require photographic ID for both the parent and child to prove legal guardianship. This is not a policy we will bend, so please arrive prepared to your appointment!

We do not, and never will use, a piercing gun. We use sterile, single-use blade needles for each and every piercing. Piercing guns are unhygienic and cause excessive trauma to the lobe. You often also end up with wonky piercings that are incredibly difficult to heal! You can read more about piercing guns here.

Is your child ready?

Piercing children poses a few technical challenges. Firstly we want to make sure your child is absolutely ready for the responsibility involved with getting piercings. This is a permanent change to your child and so we do like for the parent to pop in and allow their child to ask any questions they might have in order to make them more confident and comfortable in the process! Parents are always welcome to send us emails, or book consultations with us if they feel they need to.

It is worth asking your child a few questions to gauge if they are ready.

  1. Do you want your ears pierced? – This may be an obvious question, but a child who is not 100% sure they want the piercing is less likely to invest the care and attention required to heal them.
  2. Do you know this process might hurt? – This is often the bit that is tricky to talk about. No piercing is totally pain free, so it is worth talking to your child about how it might feel a little pinchy.
  3. Do you know that piercings require daily cleaning? – You will need to talk to your child about the commitment of twice daily cleaning. Depending on the age of your child, you may also need to commit to helping your child clean their piercings!
  4. Do you know that it takes about 6 months to heal? – Older children over the age of 8 are often a lot more prepared to take care of their piercings and invest the time and effort into healing them. Patience is required, and your child needs to know that these piercings will not heal overnight!

It’s so important for us to introduce children to the concept of bodily autonomy and consent at a really early age. Even if you are sure your child is ready for a piercing, the final decision is up to your child. If at any point they say no, or express that they don’t want to continue, we will stop. If this means that at your appointment they decide not to go ahead, we will 100% respect their choice.

Jewellery

We stock a huge range of jewellery, however our Titanium ranges are incredibly popular with younger people! Our most popular items are the Neometal Prong-Set Swarovskis and synthetic Opal Cabochons. These items are high-quality, implant-grade ASTM F-136 Titanium pieces set with genuine Swarovski stones that come in a myriad of different colours and sizes- Something for everyone! They can also be anodised, where we change the colour of the Titanium to make something totally unique! We do offer jewellery to every budget.

Often metal sensitivities are a common issue brought to us – Both ASTM F-136 Titanium and solid 14k/18k Gold are totally safe to wear permanently. You can read more about implant standards here, and how to spot quality jewellery here.

Our Neometal Opals are so colourful! We have so many to choose from in many different colours.

Healing Times

4 Weeks: 4 weeks after getting the piercings, we recommend you book a free 10 minute checkup so that we can evaluate how your child is healing, and potentially downsize the length of the jewellery once any swelling has diminished. You need to book this online through our website, and can select any time that suits you!

3 Months: After 3 months/12 weeks, the piercings are considered half-way healed. At this point you have the option to gently begin changing the jewellery out at home. This is not considered a full heal as the inside of the piercing channel can still be quite fragile at this point. Any piercer who promises fully healed piercings after 6 weeks is simply not being accurate – Read more on that here.

6 Months: Lobe piercings are fully healed after 6 months – This allows plenty of time for the inside of the piercing channel to heal and strengthen into normal tissue.

So there you have it – An introduction to first lobe piercings! If you would like to know more, or see more of our jewellery in action, then head to our instagram. We aim for this to be a relaxed and comfortable experience for your child, and do everything in our power to make sure your child has the best possible experience. Good piercings last a lifetime.