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Association of Professional Piercers Conference 2023 Las Vegas

Under any other circumstances, Las Vegas is one of the last places I’d opt to visit. I don’t cope well in heat or humidity and gambling is not my jam. But in January 2023, under guidance and support from Aiden, Andre and Loreia, I submitted my application for the 2023 Legacy Scholarship to attend the APP conference, hosted at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas, Nevada.

The process included filling out an application, having two industry peers write a recommendation, a video submission and a series of interviews. These were examined and discussed by a panel of APP members and 12 people were chose as scholars (due to unforeseen circumstances, two scholars have been delayed until next year and so we were only 10). Despite all the support and reassurance from everyone around me, I never believed that by the end of February I would receive a call from Ryan Ouellette to confirm my place on the scholarship programme. The feeling was indescribable. I was excited, anxious, in a state of disbelief. It took awhile for the reality of the opportunity to sink in.

Vegas Babyyyyyyy

Cut to June 8th, I drove myself to Heathrow airport and boarded a 10 hour flight to Las Vegas. If you’d have told me last year I would be navigating a trip like this by myself, no way would I believe you. But I did it. A short taxi ride later, I was throwing my suitcase into Planet Hollywood and heading out to meet a group of piercers, headed by the wonderful Caitlin (back-bone of the conference and overall incredible human being) for some food and a wander around the Vegas Strip. Holy shit Vegas is wild. It’s huge, it’s overwhelming, it’s hot. The sheer amount of people, noises and lights at all times is insane. It’s not a city for the introvert. But I was swept away immediately.

The way Legacy Scholars were a diverse, tight knit group but we were welcomed with open arms and open hearts by the APP Volunteer Group. Piercers from all over the world, joined together as a little team to make sure the conference was a success. Every single volunteer was helpful, kind, thoughtful. It was incredible to be part of such a wonderful family. I miss you all always. Work started for us on the Friday evening, and over the weekend we helped to set up the conference area to be ready to host over 1400 piercers from around the globe for 5 days of classes and events.

Sunday night was registration and hundreds of piercers filled Planet Hollywood to register for the conference, collect their badges, purchase merchandise and catch up with friends they haven’t seen since the last event. After the initial rush of wrangling hundreds of excited people, the Volunteer Team had a pizza night to decompress and get ready for the first full day of classes Monday morning. I’m thankful for the quiet times with good people and good pizza. I’m especially thankful for Jammie Biggers for taking me around Vegas in his car and giving me a break from the bustle.

Legacy Scholars 2023

Monday started with a meeting at 8am and then right into attending classes, working class doors, assisting the attendees, working on the merch booth and at 8pm, we headed to the Flamingo for the opening pool party. I’ve never been to a pool party before, it was nice to see people in a more relaxed setting. And the tacos were good. I also met the legendary Brian Skellie which was a party highlight for sure! The volunteers cleared down the party at midnight and we headed back to the hotel to recover for Tuesday.

In between classes, I worked various jobs around the conference, always supported by other volunteers. It was a really wonderful experience to work and learn from new people every single day. I’ll insert a list of the classes I attended over the week here:

Outside of the classroom, I bonded with so many amazing people. I met a lot of people that I really respect and admire as industry professionals. I met a lot of people that I hope to see again soon. It’s really hard to express the impact that the Scholarship has had one me. As a piercer. As a person. I feel so privileged to be a part of something so wonderful. I’m looking forward to hopefully being able to start to repay this industry for the experience, knowledge, support and family that it has provided me with.

Oh, did I mention I went on a guided tour of the Punk Rock museum. Guided by Fat Mike himself! He liked my hair, I liked his sense of humour.

Until next time Vegas, thanks for having me.

The list of people I want to thank is endless. But I will list and link the profiles of the 2023 Legacy Scholars and their respective countries. But to each of the Volunteers both this year and all yeats, thank you for being the best family some of us have. Once a duck, always a duck, right? Wouldn’t be possible without ya.

Ebs from Birthright Adornment, Melbourne Australia

Honza from Atreya, Czech Republic

Jonathan from RAW, South Carolina USA

J’son from TATAU, Mubai India

Laura from Maria Tash, Paris France

Matt from The Tattooed Gent & Onyx, UK

Nate from Diablo Rojo, Texas USA

Tais from Gold Heart Studio, Sweden

Angy from Mayduna, Berlin

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High Quality? Part 16 – Piercing Associations

Piercing Associations might not seem like an important part of high quality piercing but our associations are what drives progression and spreads health and safety knowledge to the industry. As piercing in the UK is currently unregulated and only governed by local bylaws, piercing associations are the main way to look for high quality and safe piercers. This week’s blog will give a little history to our associations, explain their importance to the industry and finally help you understand why you should look for a piercer who is an association member.

In the Beginning there was the APP

APP - Association of Professional Piercers

Many piercing associations have come and gone since the piercing industry started in the late 80’s, early 90s. Only 1 organisation has managed to stay the course and that is the APP (Association of Professional Piercers). The APP formed in California in 1995 to try and create some minimum safety standards for piercing. Since then the organisation has grown to a global entity that has a conference with over 1000 attendees in Las Vegas every year and members all over the world and has been instrumental into raising safety standards globally.

Aiden's Safe Metals Class at APP 2018
Aiden’s Safe Metals Class at APP 2018

The APP’s conference has classes and seminars that cover everything from best sterilisation practices, piercing techniques and discussion about new equipment to discussions about the direction of the industry, history classes from those that were there at the time and anthropology classes looking at the modern and tribal world.

Aiden is proud to have taught the Safe Metals Class at APP in Las Vegas in 2017 and 2018 alongside some of his piercing heroes.

For more information about the APP take a look at their website here.


The UKAPP (United Kingdom Association of Professional Piercers) formed in 2015 to carry on the APP’s health and safety message across the UK. As the APP is primarily based in the USA it was difficult to keep up with legislation changes around the world so sister organisations formed. The UKAPP is a stand alone organisation that works closely with the APP.

UKAPP - United Kingdom Association of Professional Piercers

The UKAPP also has its own conference every year that brings in teachers from across the UK and around the world as well as piercers from across the

UK, Europe and globally. As a health and safety organisation the UKAPP’s aim is to raise standards in the UK for the safety of the general public and piercers too.

UKAPP conference 2017
UKAPP conference 2017

As well as educating piercers the UKAPP also consults with the CIEH (Chartered Institute of Environmental Health) and over governmental bodies to make legislative change for the industry. This is a slow process but the UKAPP has been successful in making change as Wales is currently putting in higher standards for piercing after consulting with the UKAPP. The UKAPP also campaigned to have Female Genital Piercing reclassified so it is no longer considered to be Female Genital Mutilation.

Aiden was one of the founding members of the UKAPP and was the treasurer from 2015-2018 and has taught classes at the first 4 conferences. Rogue will be a UKAPP verified piercing studio in the near future as we are proud of our high standards. We are currently not members as our store is still to young to join.

For more information about the UKAPP or to find a member near you check their website here.

Other Organisations

Other sister organisations to the APP have formed across the world. Notable organisations are:

VPP – Germany
LBP – Latin America
APPe – Spain
RuAPP – Russia


Around the world piercing is generally an unregulated industry. This means that safety standards can sometimes be worryingly low. Piercing associations offer membership which shows that the piercer or studio meets minimum standards that are much higher than local legislation requires. To be a member of a piercing association means that your piercer or studio agrees to:

First Aid and CPR training are requirements for association membership
First Aid and CPR training are requirements for association membership

  • Use sterile equipment
  • Use implant grade or historically safe jewellery materials
  • Use safe designs of body jewellery
  • Test their sterilisation equipment
  • Have a studio design based around safety
  • Have First Aid and CPR certification
  • Carry our Blood Borne Pathogen training

It might seem like a lot of the membership requirements should be obvious but the vast majority of piercing studios do not meet these requirements. By choosing a piercer that is a member of piercing organisation you are choosing someone who has pledged to carry out piercings in the safest manner possible as well as someone who wants to progress the piercing industry for the good of the general public and piercers alike.

Aiden was a UKAPP member before travelling the globe to expand his piercing knowledge and now that he has settled back in the UK will be joining again once Rogue has collected all of the required paperwork. We are excited to be members again!


So hopefully now you have an understanding of why piercing associations are required for high quality piercing. If you are looking for a new piercer then we recommend heading the your local piercing association website and looking for a member as you will be supporting piercers who want the best for you and who support the piercing industry as a whole.

That’s it for this week! We will be back next week to discuss custom ordering jewellery. Have a good week everyone!