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An Interview with Loreia – Unknown Pleasures Piercing

I first met Loreia at the UKAPP 2022 conference and immediately knew she was an incredible person. A hardworking, passionate piercer who owns Unknown Pleasures Piercing in Stuttgart, Germany and travels the world attending and teaching at international conferences. Loreia was kind enough to spend an evening talking with me about her origin story, her career path and her amazing insights into why we do what we do. Loreia is a powerhouse of a person and I am eternally grateful to know her. 
Loreia Unknown Pleasures Piercing

Gemma:  When did you first become interested in body modification and piercing?

Loreia: It was really early but sometimes you’re not aware that you’re interested in something until later when you find the label for it. As a child I really loved to play around with looks.When I drew myself, also as a little child,  I drew myself with a lip ring. I really liked to draw punks and people with coloured hair. So my interests go very far back.

When I was 13, my first piercing was a nose piercing and I just loved it. I really felt badass and from that time, my passion was growing. Early on in my life I became interested in corset training. I really love the way it shapes my body. So I guess this was really my first body mod experience because I had my first corset when I was 15 or 16.

Later, I started playing around with needles.

I wrote my bachelor thesis about why people try to change their appearance. Body modification is not just things like horns, implants, scars or tattoos and piercings. But also like dyeing your hair and playing around with your figure. Clothing could be kind of a temporary body mod because you can totally change your appearance, your height etc.

G: I had no idea about your bachelor’s thesis, what was your experience in education? 

L: Yes, I have a Master’s degree in philosophy. My Bachelor thesis was about why people are changing their appearance and what are their motivations behind it. Of course, I examined the classic bodymod scene that we are in, like tattoos and piercing but also the fitness industry, plastic surgery, cosmetics, diets etc. All the things you can do to really change your appearance. I looked at it from a philosophical point of view. It was pretty interesting. 

And for my Master thesis, about 5 years ago, I wrote about how to become the person you are –  I had a deep dive into Foucault’s  philosophical view of the world. Also, Nietzsche a lot. And I looked at the question of how you can live your life as a piece of art. The topic was: “How do I become what I am? – Self love and self care by Foucault based on the Nietzsche’s philosophy of the art of living.

I guess the first step was looking more at the physical appearance and how society affects this – so more an outside observation, and the second step was the personal state of mind and looking at your point of view of  the world – inner observation.

ear piercing curation
Beautiful work by Loreia

G: I have this conversation a lot about how body modification is not just the extremes like tongue splits and branding. There’s so many ways that people modify their bodies. It’s fascinating, humans are strange creatures. 

L:  Humans are totally strange creatures but so is society – because society labels what is good and what is bad and what is nicely looking and what is not. You cannot complain about the  person with the horns when you have lip filler and a boob job, you know what I mean? Because you’re kind of the same! 

G: Breast implants, absolutely fine. Horn implants, that person now can’t have a job.

L: Indeed. And it does not have to be this “extreme” look – fun fact: I grew up in the north part of Germany where I experienced people who were a bit more open minded to different looks and I moved to the south about 16 years ago now. Back then I tried to find a job just for the summer and I applied for a job in an ice cream parlour. I had blue hair at that time and people were like “no fucking way you’re working here with that appearance”. This was kind of funny and shocking at the same time.

The thing is, we are living in an oppressive system. Doesn’t matter if we are aware of it or not – we are.
And not everybody is able to free their minds and also to accept themselves as they are and their needs and how they want to be. Maybe because they never learned to, maybe they are afraid to face their truth and not to fit in this system anymore.

The result of that is that they often have a lot of anger, stress and real tension. I see people and they are maybe fascinated by someone who is living their life modified in some way, and I guess an inner voice tells them “you are not able to, or you’re not allowed to [have that piercing or hair colour or tattoo]” and then the anger really hits and this stored bad energy comes out. 

I really believe if people would, take care of their needs, like really see what they want and what they want to be and what they need and what they don’t and not give that much of a fuck about what societies want them to be – we would live in a more peaceful world.

G: What was it like growing up in northern Germany? Was your alternative aesthetic accepted?

L: I was an outsider. I grew up in a very religious family so I’m the black sheep. My parents split up when I was 13 and they sent me to a boarding school. Before that I really had a hard time at my school. In the boarding school I had a fresh start, I didn’t want to be there but It was the best thing that could happen to me when I look back now. It was a boarding school for talented kids, there was a  wild mix of gifted children and sports elite. 

G: What was your career path like?

L:  When I was in the boarding school, at 18 I thought “fuck this shit. I’m out of here. I don’t need any education at all.” I started an apprenticeship and after a year I met my now life partner. Because of different things that happened before in my life, I needed a fresh start so I moved to the south of Germany where I could continue my apprenticeship in another place and start a life with my partner. But over the summer I decided  to throw that path away, finish school and go to university. I had to finance myself and I started to do different mini jobs. I worked at Lush for a while, I worked in a creative market for paintings. I also did a lot of photo shoots, make-up and modelling. 

This went on and I became friends with a photographer and his girlfriend. She worked in a BDSM dungeon and I started working there with her while I studied. There, I actually started playing around with needles and also learned to work sterile because when you do, for example, a catheter, you really want to be sterile.

dungeon ropes
Loreia is a professional in all her roles

This is where I really began to be interested in piercing and a friend of mine in Munich at that time, she said she could show me some piercing things, as she worked in a piercing studio there. 

I’m totally self taught and this is also why I aim for more and for higher and for better. I had been to several studios in my area, but I didn’t like how they treated me as a customer. I knew I should be definitely better.This is how I came to professional piercing, I guess. 

After a while I had the idea in my mind to open up my own shop and when I have an idea I’m normally going to do it.. So I reached out to a nail salon, actually that had a spare room in the basement and that’s how I opened my shop.

G: I love that you became a professional piercer because of your experience in the kink world because those two industries are so intertwined.

L: I had the luck that sterile working was a natural thing for me because the ladies in the dungeon came from a medical background and so I was aware of the dangers working with needles and blood. This was a good start for me. Before I opened my piercing studio, I read a lot of anatomy books and internet forums. I was always on the hunt for better quality, nice looking jewellery and equipment. I did a lot of research but it was not that easy. 

My first contact with other professional piercers was the BMXnet conference in 2012. There I also met Mark from Neometal and he introduced me to safe jewellery and materials. I was so proud when I brought back my first little bag of high quality piercing jewellery.

Back in those days I also met Thomas Stolte, online first, who worked with jewellery from Industrial Strength –  I emailed him and he was super friendly, super kind and he really helped me to get things going. He explained to me what to look for and what to aim for and how to make a proper order. To place an high quality order back then was a bit like trying to cast a spell – you had long lists with ordering codes and put it all together by yourself including all the specifics of colours, gauges etc, crossed your heart three times that you did it all right and waited like a child for Christmas to get these shinies. Today everything is a lot easier with the online systems and lower wait times.

G: Tell me about your conference experiences.

L: The first conference you are going to, is often the one that has the most impact because you don’t know shit and then you’re aware that you didn’t know shit. Jane Absinth phrased this really nicely, she said when she was at her first conference, she really wanted to go back and just burn her whole studio. I really understood that.

I’m really grateful for the many people I have met through conferences and for the ideas that have helped me to grow and find my path in the community to better my career.

In 2015 and 2016 I was a scholar for the APP conference and it was my first time going to the “big one”. I applied first for the Al D scholarship [now legacy scholarship]. I was refused in the last round and I applied for the No Excuses Scholarship, which I got. Las Vegas was really, really overwhelming for me. It was really tough shit, but more on a personal level (is there anything “real” in Las Vegas?!).

I’m really grateful for the peers that made it possible for me to attend twice as a scholar to the APP Conference. I really worked hard to get to that moment. But at the beginning of 2016 my mother had passed away and I had to attend to those matters, the community came together and I was granted the scholarship for a second time.

Conferences are very important, networking is very important, but most important are the conversations you have in between and after classes. I’m an extroverted introverted person (INFJ) but I actually met my best friend for life, Jane, at my second APP conference in Las Vegas. 

She met me sitting a bit aside at the pool party and we started nerding out all evening. We got into some really deep talks about everything. This is what I appreciate about conferences: you have the opportunity to speak with people over days about topics that are in your daily life and maybe they can also change your point of view or give you a bit more inspiration 

G: What was the No Excuses Scholarship?

L: I really wanted to desperately go to Las Vegas and I was so sad that I was denied from the APP at the last moment. I guess it is my personality but when I don’t reach a goal, I get motivated to try and try again. Back then, to apply, I had to send a huge PDF with my reference letters and answers about who I got inspired by in the industry and why, and who am I and why do I need this and why do I need to go. So a committee of piercers decided that they wanted me to go. I thought it would be like the Al D scholarship and I would be part of a volunteer team but it wasn’t. I wanted to be there to work so I sneaked myself into the volunteer group and said “I’m here so I am working.”

G: Was that your first time outside of Europe? 

L: Yes and I am very grateful for the scholarship because it was a shit ton of money I had to spend for the flights so this was a really huge deal for me back in 2015. I had my shop, of course but I also did my studies and worked at the dungeon. I worked at my shop, appointment only, but I wasn’t booked all the time. I had to work out how to have enough money to manage all that.

Jewellery collection Unknown Pleasures Piercing
Unknown Pleasures have a wide variety of stunning jewellery

G:  It sounds like you’ve always been one of those people that has a goal and will work endlessly to achieve it. 

L: I guess it depends on what you’ve experienced in life. And if you have been able to make some decisions. When I graduated, I could have studied political science because I was very good at it and it would lead to a career. But I thought, I won’t do that, I will study philosophy to do what I am really interested in because I can earn money in whatever way I want. There was a point in my life where I decided I just wanted to do the things that fulfil me. I will not sell myself and will not do stuff that I don’t want to do because I experienced that a lot in my childhood and also in my teenage years And so, when I made the move to the South, I built myself a new life.

Of course, this sounds really powerful, but you know, sometimes you have to be powerful to keep yourself alive and protect your sensitive self.

G: You’re an incredible woman. How did you get involved with the VPP (Verband Professioneller Piercer)?

L: The VPP was the brainchild of Thomas Stolte and me. I was aware of the Ask a Professional Piercer group on Facebook and I wanted to do something similar in German. In this conversation, the idea was born to start an association that isn’t only about educating piercers but clients as well. I really love the idea to connect people, share some knowledge, grow with each other to set some standards and to avoid trouble for the client

We spoke to Andre about the idea and we started writing down our standards and guidelines. But to start an association, you need more people to be on board. So this is where other people came in to start the process.

G: You also host Now We Talk seminars at your studio, how did that start?

L: Actually, the NowWeTalks are clients aimed. Piercers are totally welcome, but they are client focused. I started with the hashtag #pussybling, because I did a lot of vulva piercings and I was so sad because I had so many wonderful women sitting with me who never ever had a proper look at themselves. I explained to them their anatomy and then explained how beautiful they are. Then I thought, okay, I have to do something. The first NowWeTalk was about vulva piercing and what is possible but most of the work I do is around educating clients about anatomy. 

It’s more for empowerment. I host female identified-only evenings but I also had a version where couples could come in, so that both can ask questions. It was really really nice, I started inviting other speakers like Andre or a friend from my philosophical study to talk on different topics and it grew from there

G: Especially in the UK, education around genital anatomy is so lacking. It’s really amazing that you are empowering people to learn more about themselves.

L: What I realised pretty early, and this is something I’m really grateful for, I was able to listen to Elayne Angel and also speak with her –  she always talks positively about genitalia and anatomy. And this is really something that I grabbed and started doing myself. I had more than one client who was tearing up because nobody had ever spoken that nicely about their anatomy before.

Studio space
Unknown Pleasures is a safe space for everyone

G: I think a lot of people with vulvas are made to feel like their anatomy is “wrong” because it doesn’t look a certain way. 

L: A client of mine, she came in with inverted nipples and she was really nervous about getting them pierced. We had a few appointments where we discussed it and when she finally had the piercings, I really had to stop her from running out of the piercing room to show her friends. She was so proud! At her aftercare appointments she said “I should have done this so much earlier. I’m so confident.” I really love what  piercing can do to you and how it can help you to really find peace and find beautiful things in your body.

G: There’s a lot of crossover between empowerment, piercing, kink, reclamation, gender identity etcetcetc. Can we talk about the links between your career as a Dominatrix and a Professional Piercer? 

L: I had the luck to work in a nice BDSM studio with a lot of really awesome ladies – a matriarchal bubble. And what I learned there for life, is to embrace yourself and embrace the way you are. That you don’t have to be ashamed of your body, you don’t have to be ashamed of your feelings, you don’t have to be ashamed of your sexuality. I had the wonderful opportunity to learn all that and this shaped me. It taught me that naked bodies are just bodies and of course, it can be arousing when you’re in a private setting but beside that, it’s just a body, you know? 

And this acceptance of bodies and being totally okay with however you are, is what I try to give to my clients of whatever gender. It also taught me about accepting that you don’t have to be friends with everybody, you don’t have to be like everybody, but you can accept the differences and you can see what you have in common and work with that.

The bottom line for both industries is acceptance and taking proper care of people’s needs. You’re the one in power, as the piercer or as the Domme. You are the one who is leading and who is responsible for a safe environment, for a safe experience. You guide a person through the process. And these are totally different processes but you’re guiding them through it.

You have to be really aware of your responsibility and to make the experience as nice as it can be. And “nice” can be defined differently, of course. In the piercing room, I do not want my client to feel pain at all. I try to breathe with them, I try to guide them, I really like to calm them. But when I work with my guests, of course it’s different but it’s all about trust. It’s not like, “oh yeah, I’m a sadistic person, so let me stick needles into you.” That is not what’s happening in either room.

In any setting, as a professional, you need to be aware of yourself and the different aspects of your personal needs and also your work environment needs.In both. In the piercing room or the dungeon room, you’re totally confronted with people that already have an opinion of you without knowing you.

For example, I’m highly educated. But when you tell random people that you are a piercer, people often assume that I must not be educated. I was a problem child with dyed hair who pokes people for fun, because there is no other option possible career-wise.

G: I never considered it that way, but it’s true. When you tell people you’re a body piercer, they immediately make an assumption about you. 

L: So I work piercing appointments only and of course people are asking me what I do the other days. A new client came in and she was referred by a friend. She heard that I work as a nurse when I’m not in the studio. I was like, “I do, but not as you think.”. It’s funny what people make up because they really, really need to put you in a box.  It’s something we definitely have to stop because it helps nobody to have predefined opinions of someone. 

G: How has the body modification scene changed in Germany?

L:  Well, it changed for good. This is what I can say. In Germany, there are more followers than leaders. People are more inclined to keep working and piercing the same way they have for the past 20 years and not update things. There’s also more education available for clients and I’m really happy to see how in the last few years things have changed. The new generation of piercers are aiming in the right direction and connecting to each other 

There was a time when piercers only connected to shit talk others piercers. And this is something I never liked. It’s now one of the VPP guidelines: “Der VPP kann nur als Einheit bestehen – dementsprechend ist kollegialer Umgang untereinander die Grundvoraussetzung.  Dies beinhaltet konstruktive Kritik anzunehmen, wie auch geben zu können ohne dabei persönlich zu werden.” 

“The VPP can only exist as a unit – accordingly, collegial interaction with one another is the basic requirement..This includes accepting and giving constructive criticism without becoming personal.”

Unfortunately there are a lot of people offering body modification services in Germany, using bloody and graphic IG posts and live streams to promote. Please, please use your brain and stop this! This can really fuck up things for the whole industry. Bodymod is more accessible in Germany but it’s not necessarily a good thing – so it is always important to choose the person that is allowed to modify you wisely!

I had a conversation about this at the APP conference, that all Germans are so modified and all are so extreme. We’re not. It is just as always: what you’re looking for, you will see. 

G: Especially in American and UK media, we’re presented with this “extreme” image of the German alternative scene. If it’s some freaky fetish hardcore shit, it’s probably German. 

L: Actually this is something that gave me a hard time as a young woman to be okay with identifying myself as a FemDom, because I had all these false impressions/assumptions in mind. I was trying to find who I was but basing that on these impressions of what I should be (or better what I definitely do not want to be). 

There’s social constructs everywhere. It doesn’t matter if you go to the supermarket, if you’re thinking about how life should be, if you’re thinking about how a relationship or sex should be. Or how the alternative scene should be – you face these ideas and impressions that have been constructed for you. 

Loreia Unknown Pleasures Piercing Stuttgart

I’m quite often asked why I don’t have a lot of facial piercings when I am a piercer. I have piercings for aesthetics, and this is, at the moment, the aesthetic I’m aiming for. More subtle, I still know my shit, I know how to modify your body more than you can imagine. I just choose right now to modify myself more subtly for my own aesthetics. 

Humans have this concept of people in their mind, and we really have to lose it because it doesn’t make sense at all. Preconceptions give you a hard time, but it also gives the other person a hard time.

Another example, when I started piercing, I just worked one day a week because of all the other stuff going on and because we have a health insurance policy that says you’re not able to work that much as a student or you lose your health insurance. A lot of piercers, and this is something that really happened often in my career, would question if I am a “real” piercer because my studio was only open one or two days a week. They’d say I would never sell only high quality jewellery because the customers wouldn’t want it. They’d tell me that appointment-only studios would never work. 

People really had this concept in their mind, how the (piercing) world should be and how it works. And didn’t believe that there would be anything outside of that.

I’m a living, happy example of being able to work two to three days a week with my clients in person in my shop. I’m happy that this allows me to really concentrate on my clients and connect with them and also be a little bit of part of their lives. I have a good work-life balance where I can focus on myself and my needs as well as those of the people around me. 

G: That is really fucking aspirational. You do a lot of ear curation projects, can you tell us about that?

L: This is the beautiful thing about body piercing, self expression can be wherever you want. It could be genitalia work, getting your navel pierced, facial symmetry, heavy mod work. But it can also be a finely curated ear with specific pieces and placements to suit that person’s anatomy. This is really beautiful because you can help people to be how they want to be and they are deciding the path. They decide what and they decide how to treat themselves for just being themselves. And as a piercer, you are a part of that. 

This is what I really love, I really love this kind of piercing client that is going for a concept. An artistic curation. 

I’m on the high sensitive spectrum. I can really feel what people feel. In both of my careers, I can enjoy the joy that people are having. And it’s really like flowing through me. For example, a client gets really excited about a piece, I’m really getting excited about a piece. I’m really thankful for all the trust that people put in me and my work and also my taste.

What an amazing person. I am forever grateful for Loreia’s time, energy and insights. A powerful lady that has a lot to offer of love and passion. Be sure to follow Loreia’s work online and visit her beautiful studio in Stuttgart! 

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Chapter 2.

I’ve officially finished my second year as a a ‘piercing apprentice.’ So I thought I’d use this chance to talk about all of the fun and exciting things I’ve done in my second year.

The first thing I got to do was my first-aid training. Now, first aid certificates are valid for 3 years, but the UKAPP requires that you retake your first aid training every single year. It helps keeps your memory fresh, so if anything does happen, you can be prepared! This year, we did ours with the wonderful Olly Todd of Cognition BAE. It was his first ever time doing a first aid course, and he did a wonderful job! We got to practice with some dummies for CPR, while roleplaying what to do in emergencies. We also got a vest with a ‘diaphragm’ that had a foam peanut in it, and we got to enact more roleplaying scenarios in event of someone choking. Overall, it was a very fun and educational day.

AND THEN CHRISTMAS ARRIVED! If anyone knows me, they’ll know I absolutely love Christmas, and this year I got to be the official party planner for the official staff Christmas party, and it was epic. I put together google questionnaire after google questionnaire that got emailed to everyone to fill in. That way everyone got to voice opinions on what they wanted to do, where they wanted to eat, what day worked better for them etc, etc. Eventually, I managed to pull it all together and we had pizza from Suede followed by an evening in Pirates Play Centre. It was magical. We got to invite friends as well, and it was a great night out. Being in charge of organising an event was definitely quite stressful, but I enjoyed it so much, and it was so worth it to see everyone have such a great time! I started planning this years party all the way back in April!

Pirates Play Centre

I then turned 21, and spent the day in pyjamas on the sofa, and ordered a Chinese takeaway. Absolutely fantastic.

Around February, I got to witness my first suspension event. This was the first ever time I’d physically ever been around and seen suspension, rather than just looking at photos or videos online. It was… a lot. In a good way. The air was tense, and warm, and it just gave you the chills. It was really inspiring watching people (especially those who had gone up for the first time) completely embrace and enjoy what was happening. There is absolutely no words that could describe the atmosphere, or anything that anyone was feeling. It is its own kind of liminal space. It definitely made me feel something new.

March was an absolute whirlwind, I don’t even think I registered it pass by. The first two weeks were all about moving into my own space. I officially moved into my own flat with a very good friend, and it was a lot to take in! I then gained my UKAPP official membership! After piercing for an entire year, and already working under the high standards of membership requirements, I officially became a member. I got to hang my own certificate on the wall, alongside everyone else’s.

I then headed off to the Piercer Trade Show at Manchester, alongside the Tattoo Tea Party Convention. This time though, I went alongside Inari Organics as a vendor instead of a piercer! It was definitely a weird experience being on the other side of the table, and selling jewellery rather than buying it, but it was an experience I’d 100% do again. I’m definitely classing it as part of my training in the industry. I still got to attend some amazing classes, such as David Angeles ‘Better Basics,’ and Elizabeth Moore’s ‘Neurodivergence in Piercing.’ I even got to come away with a gorgeous new Linear Cluster with Pink CZ’s from Inari!

April was surprisingly a quiet month, well at least at work. With Aiden being on his annual leave for a couple weeks, it was left up to us guys to run the studio and ensure it didn’t burn down, and I’d like to say we did a pretty alright job. During this time, not many people had booked in for apprentice piercings, but the day he came back and we were doing our first day together, the entire day had filled with apprentice piercings, it was like everybody just knew! I got to start working on forward helix piercings, and really started coming into all the fiddly ear work which was super exciting!

May and June were surprisingly chill. As students started exam season and preparing to go home for the summer, my apprentice piercings slowed down. Gemma returned from Vegas APP conference and of course on her first day back I asked her to pierce my navel at 5mm! I am currently still healing it – it is not as easy at it seems!

In July we started thinking about conferences in September, and we booked our tickets for the UKAPP conference. I then got the confirmation that I would be flying to Berlin for BMXNET. July was then focused on trying to pack a weeks worth of stuff (and more) into a “small” bag, and researching all the tips and tricks on how to nail my first trip out of the country!

It was the start of the summer holidays in August for plenty of young children across Nottingham, which mean full days of piercing kids lobes. Piercing kids is always a nerve-wracking experience. Personally, whether I’m piercing or just doing paperwork and jewellery choices, I just want to make sure they have the best experience possible.

In September, conference season was upon us! This year I had the privilege to attend both BMXNET in Berlin, Germany and the UKAPP Safe Piercing Conference in Manchester.

Attending BMXNET was a little bit of a whirlwind. It was my first time ever leaving the country, and I couldn’t be more excited at my destination. I had 4 full days of classes packed in over my time there! I took some really nice and light classes such as the basic ‘Anodising is Awesome’ with Brian Skellie, which dove into all the necessary basics that I needed to know about anodising! I came back to the studio super excited to share my knowledge with clients! I increased my knowledge with Jane Absinth and Andre Berg’s ‘Cartilage 101’ class, which discussed all the basic cartilage piercings, such as nose/conch/helix piercings and much more. It took a dip into different ways to mark, what to look for, placements, anatomy etc. I also took a lot of history classes. I absolutely love learning about the history of the piercing world and across different cultures too. One of my favourite classes was by Jason D’Souza which was ‘The History of Body Mod in India’ discussing how piercing rituals, suspension and scarification has travelled through the time of India for thousands of years all the way up into the current day. I also got to do a little sightseeing of my own. I took the Saturday morning off and travelled into Alexanderplatz to have a small walk around and do some tourist-ing.

A week and a half after being back into the UK and back at work, I was off travelling to Manchester for the annual UKAPP conference. I travelled on the Saturday by train to go visit Holier Than Thou for a quick piercing anatomy check, and got to talk to a few of the guys about pre-conference nerves and excitement. I then headed off the the Edwardian Hotel where the conference was being held. Because I was super early I offered a free hand to the volunteers and helped get a few things ready before heading off to my hotel room for a couple hours of rest and salted pretzels! A few more of the Rogues arrived slightly later that night and we headed off to Brewdog to find more piercers and have a cheeky drink.

And then Sunday morning, it was time for registration and to attend as many classes as possible. This conference I got to take many more technique classes and learned so many new things. One of my favourites was definitely ‘The Advanced Fundamentals of Lobe Piercings’ delivered by Jef Saunders. I personally am not the biggest fan of lobe piercings, and so I thought if I could learn something new or see them from a different perspective, I might have some more fun with them. And I was right! I came away with a whole new understanding of them, and ready to try out many new things. I also took Luis Garcia’s class on bridge piercings, because they’re always super tricky and complex, and I definitely came way feeling a little bit lighter with some newfound knowledge.

Something different about this conference was that I was also attending as a vendor. This was my second time assisting as a vendor at a piercing event, and I can honestly say I do really enjoy it. This time myself and Gemma were alongside Queen Of The Ashes Jewelry. Their stuff is absolutely gorgeous, from teeth to rats to nice and simple hammering textures there’s definitely something for everyone.

One of my favourite parts of conference is definitely the outside the classroom activities. On the Sunday night I went and Karaoke-d with the awesome guys from Neilmed and Peoples Jewellery, as well as the super talented Sam Holmes (she can SING!). And on the Monday night the guys from Junipurr and That’s The Point had set up a firewalking event. The theme of the annual party this year was wrestling, so of course me and Gemma did a fabulous couples costume and ended up doing a super fun fire walk dressed as Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley. It was fabulous.

October rolled around and finished up quite quickly to be honest. I decided to use some annual leave and take a couple of weekends away from the studio. Visiting Manchester (yet again) to go and see Blink-182, visiting Matlock Bath Illuminations, and spending some much needed quality time with the family.

This year has been so fast, and I feel like I’ve done everything and yet nothing all at the same time. It’s a scary thought to think that I am in the final year of my apprenticeship, and that soon I’ll be standing completely on my own two feet holding myself up and forward, but with a team like Rogue, I couldn’t ask for better support.

Thank you.

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As the Seasons Change.

As we slowly start our transition from Summer to Autumn, and the pace in the studio slowly starts to change with the return of students and the hustle and bustle of city life, the team at Rogue are distracted with big plans. September is officially conference season! You may remember a blog from last September (Conference Time!) that was written by Gemma, detailing everyone’s learning experiences. Well, for this blog post I’m going to be sharing all my excitement from my very first conference (and travel) outside of the UK.

Earlier this year I attended the UK Piercing Trade Show alongside Inari Organics as a vendor. I got talking to the wonderful Damien from Neilmed and StockoThePiercer, who were both trying to convince me to travel to Germany for this years BMXnet. I had absolutely no plans to do any travelling outside of the UK this year, and definitely had my eyes set on the UKAPP’s conference in Manchester once again.

Around a month or two later during a monthly staff meeting, we were discussing this years conference season. It was decided that we as a team were all travelling to UKAPP together. Aiden, Breo and Kat are all teaching classes this year, and Gemma and myself are helping Hika (QueenofTheAshes Jewellery) on the vendor floor, as well as attending other classes. Because Gemma had recently travelled to the APP conference in Vegas (feel free to read about that here) after gaining a scholarship, and Breo has attended the the APPE conference in Spain, that meant that Aiden, Kat and myself got the opportunity to travel to Berlin for another conference.

And so I had to start planning. After only getting my passport in the January this year, traveling to Berlin was going to be my first time every leaving the country AND getting on a plane. I had absolutely no idea of what to expect (which does not work when you are a massive over planner).

I travelled to Manchester’s conference last year with a big suitcase and a big backpack, absolutely overfilled with everything I could possibly need. For Berlin, I had only a carry-on backpack! I genuinely thought it would be impossible. But, I did it! Packing only one outfit for each day, pyjamas, and a spare pair of shoes (which were very much needed in the 30+ degree heat) plus my very thought-out liquids bag. And thus the show began.

Alongside the three Rogues travelling to Berlin, the lovely Anna and her apprentice David from Revenant Tattoo were travelling for the Berlin Tattoo Convention. We got to book our hotel together, and we all got to be roommates in a sweet little hostel style hotel. They had a really good breakfast buffet included (although I did somehow manage to nearly break their toaster and start a fire by losing a slice of bread in the gap).

We also got to travel together, and even go an extra travel buddy with us too! Armelle from Death Ray Tattoo was also attending the Berlin Tattoo Convention and was booked on the same plane with us. We all met at the studio at 8 in the morning before getting a taxi to Manchester airport and flying out. I was super nervous about getting through the airport, it was very overwhelming and there was a lot to take in. Thankfully I was with very experienced travellers so I just had to follow the group and keep my cool. I got through airport security easy-peasy, and after only a small delay in the take off time, we were in the air! I was slightly nervous on the way up due to the pressure pushing me back into my seat, but once we levelled out I was absolutely fine! Well, until the descent… Everyone had forgotten to mention that I needed to ‘pop’ my ears, and on the way down I was not having a good time and was really struggling to hear for a few hours! Thankfully a nice comfortable sleep that night left me feeling well rested and back to normal. Once we got checked into the hotel we went and met Andre and Hika and a few other guys for a cheeky couple of drinks!

Fresh and excited faces! Ready to travel!

And so began my actual learning! Waking up at 7am Thursday morning, Rogue and Revenant split up. Aiden, Kat and myself caught the tram (the S-Bahn) to the gorgeous building where the conference was being held. Grabbing a Redbull on the way, we got to check in, grab our lanyards and some super sweet tote bags before going to town on breakfast. Scrambled eggs and bacon was a very much needed and appreciated start to my weekend in Berlin.

My first class was a really amazing bondage demonstration. We were outside in the gorgeous warm sunny air, and I genuinely couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. I then headed over to Andre and Jane’s class on the 101 basics of cartilage piercings, an Open Piercing workshop with Beppe, Cristiano and Sala, and finished off my first day with Nahuel’s history class on Body Piercing before the 20th century! Overall I couldn’t have asked for a better start. I had some super cheesy pasta for lunch, followed by cheesy potatoes for dinner and way too many Fritz-Kolas and Spritzers. Unlimited access to fizzy pop is a dangerous game!

In the evening Aiden, Anna, David, Armell and myself decided to have another cheeky pint in Berlin. We found a really cool little pub where we tried some German Bier, before deciding it was definitely food and bedtime. Doner Kebab in Germany is so much better than in the UK!

Friday was an absolutely insane day! I woke up feeling super ready, had some more eggs and crispy bacon and got started. I had some amazing classes such as the History of BodyMod in India by Jason (my absolute favourite class I’ve yet taken). I got to meet some amazing people and got talking to some new faces who I haven’t met yet! Friday was promptly finished with an early night in bed, fast asleep for 10/11pm!

Saturday morning I decided to take a browse around Berlin and have a small tour of Alexanderplatz. This was something I was really proud of. I’d never even left the country before and now I’m having a mini adventure in a random European city all by myself! I got myself an iced coffee and headed around. I got some sweet little fridge magnets for my family and got to see just how beautiful the city of Berlin is. I also took a sneaky little trip to the skate shop Titus, and had to stop myself buying a million new things that I definitely would not have been able to squeeze into my backpack!

I shortly headed back to the venue to finish off some more classes. I treated myself to some gorgeous new weights from Symmetry Body Jewellery (Queer/Revenge hearts), and some cute little Hinged Jewellery Hangers (The Ties That Bind) from Queen of The Ashes Jewellery! Saturday night was also show night, with performers from the Hullaballoo Cabaret, and it was absolutely phenomenal. I’m still absolutely amazed at the performances. 10/10!

Sunday was kind of heart breaking. Realising it was the final day, and the weekend was nearly over, I was determined to make the most of it. I attended some more amazing classes and spoke to some more amazing people before making the travel back home Monday morning.

With the sun beating down, and everyone basking in the heat like lizards on a rock, I even got a slight tan! Who would have thought! I had such an amazing time, I could talk about it forever (but this blog is already getting pretty long). A massive thank you to Aiden for giving me this opportunity, and to all the speakers, teams, volunteers and leaders at the conference who made it possible. I can’t wait to return in the future and do it all over again.

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My Experience: Repiercing

Since being at Rogue, I have decided to remove three of my piercings and have repierced them for a variety of reasons, and I thought I’d share my experience on them! If you want to know a bit more thorough detail about re-piercing, and not just a personal story, I can highly sugesst giving “Repiercing 101” a read!

The first thing I got repierced at Rogue was my bridge. I had had it pierced about a year and a half previously, with improper jewellery. It was an externally thread curved barbell, which had just created issue after issue, and had never settled down. After having my 19th birthday party at university, I had given up and just decided to retire it as the bumps were just not worth it.

Upon joining Rogue I had discovered the reason it had never settled was due to improper jewellery, and very outdated aftercare advice (homemade salt water). In December, Krista had come to Rogue to do a guest spot, and as an early birthday present from Kat, she repierced my Bridge for me using Peoples Jewellery Titanium Bullet Claw ends with pale Pink Fauxpals. I was obsessed. However, I did not downsize it in time, which caused an irritation bump, and because I am super clumsy I was constantly snagging and catching it on jumpers, my glasses, and even my own hands. I eventually retired it again in March, as I had to take it out for an x-ray on my jaw, and it was just the easier option.

To everyones dismay, I would like to re-pierce it a third time in the future, but we’ll get to that when we get to it.

In 2023 I had another repierce – my jestrum. I initially had it pierced by Aiden about two days after finding out that I was going to be his apprentice. I booked my appointment and already had my heart set on the Neometal flower in fancy purple, and Kat then talked me around to having a Neometal opal on the bottom to match and I was in love! Unfortunately, this guy did not last very long! After already having to reinsert jewellery after a jaw x-ray (wisdom teeth suck…), I woke up one morning to my jewellery gone, and somehow had never found it since – I’m blaming my cats for this one – and despite trying to reinsert a taper in it only a few hours later, the piercing channel had completely closed.

In December 2022, so about 7 months or so after letting it heal, I let Gemma repierce it for me. I was super nervous, as it definitely wasn’t one of my favourites to have originally pierced! Gemma was also super nervous as it was her first jestrum, and I had to reassure her it’s the same as every other vertical lip piercings she’s done, including 2 sets of ‘angel fangs’ (paired vertical upper lip piercings). I had complete and utter trust in her. And she absolutely smashed it. We even made a super cool reel about it. It was definitely a little spicy, but definitely not as bad as I had feared, and I found the healing much easier than the first time around. I only had very minor swelling, and downsized it rather quickly, then about a month or two later we had to downsize again. It’s now sitting pretty well and just waiting for me to insert some super fancy jewellery.

My third re-pierce was my nipples. When I first joined Rogue, I had had them pierced for 3 years. One was beautifully healed, and the other one was just constantly crusting and being annoying. After getting a little bit worried about it, I asked Breo and Kat to take a look, and they advised completely pulling it as it looked like it had started to reject. The piercing itself had orignially been pierced too deep, through the areola, which is why it had never settled. I decided to remove both nipple piercings so I could have them both repierced together to allow them to look more in tune with each other.

And then came the day I asked Breo to do it for me. It was a Monday morning, I’d just had a bad weekend following a break-up and I thought there is nothing that screams ‘move on’ and ‘love yourself’ more than new nipple piercings! After a very eventful day, Breo anodised my barbells pink and got them sterilised. I was super nervous, and after Breo talked to me regarding the scar tissue, and creating a new channel through the scarring, I was definitely a little bit more tense. We did the one that needed the new channel first as I thought it would hurt more, and it honestly hurt nowhere near as much as I thought. It just felt like pressure, with a bit more of a tight pinch on the exit. It was almost like a fresh of breath air, and I was super excited to repierce the second.

…But then, we didn’t! As Breo was super happy with the depth and placement of the original piercing, he decided to test the waters out to see if the piercing channel was still open. He gently fed an insertion pin through the fistula to feel what was happening on the inside. The answer was… nothing. Despite having worn no jewellery for 7-8 months, the piercing was still open, and with a tiny stretch up we managed to reinsert the jewellery straight back in! I then went home to chill and relax, and my housemates cat (Peep) stood straight on it. Not fun!

After they settled, I got to downsize the length of the bars and upgrade the jewellery! After ordering a matching set from Peoples Jewellery, I used the orignial jewellery for my bridge. A pair of pink opal threadless bullet claws, super cute!

I also chose to remove my Navel piercing. I had originally had it pierced at The Endless Knot in Hartlepool while I was at university. Originally it had just been pierced with a plain internally thread curved barbell! It was super comfy, a nice heal and I loved it. After moving back to Nottingham I started working at a little pub, and re-wearing high/mid waisted jeans. The constant pressure across my navel caused it to be super irritated and I began battling irritation bumps. Eventually, it did begin to settle and I had a lovely well-healed navel piercing.

So, I decided to stretch it. My long term goal was to have a little ring stack full of charms! I stretched it myself to 2mm (12g)! It was super easy, and I was on my way to a large gauge navel. After a few weeks, maybe a month or two, I was slightly concerned about the placement and where it was sitting. I discussed it with Kat and Gemma who advised to just remove it. It seems like it had started to reject, and it was better to retire it sooner rather than later. Gemma was also super excited, and told me to just let her re-pierce it at a larger gauge. So I did. Eventually…

After Gemma returned from APP conference in Vegas, her first piercing back was my 5mm (4g) Navel! Honestly, it was so much easier than the first time I had it pierced. I’m not sure if this because I had learned how to breathe through the pain or because my pain tolerance was better, but it was such an easy piercing to sit through! I’m absolutely obsessed with it, and I can’t wait to stack it! Also an amazing thank you to Gorilla Glass for this super easy peasy single flare curved retainer!

If you would like to get in touch via repiercing a well healed over piercing, just get in touch with us! You can email us at , send us a direct message via our Instagram RoguePiercing, or just book directly with us here.

Thank you for reading! We will be back again next week with another blog, so stay tuned!

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2023 – Recap!

It is officially June, which means we are officially halfway through the year! It won’t be too long before halloween and Christmas come sneaking around that corner to suprise us. However, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, lets have a little look at some of the amazing things the members of Rogue have done this year.

Aiden, is of course, our Rogues longest standing member of staff, mainly becuase he is the owner and runs the show, and we wouldn’t be here without him. It’s been a busy year for him, between mentoring Jay and Gemma and teaching them all the new practices, aswell as running new events, travelling Europe and planning for this years confernces tto both attend and teach, I’m pretty sure he hasn’t stopped. However, during all of this time, he has produced some beautiful piercings.

Kat, our manager and jewellery specialist, has had a hard job this year. With BVLA’s wait times slowly reducing, and all of our jewellery orders arriving within such close proximity of each toher, they have done nothing but work hard at fulfilling custom orders, and decorating our displays and cabinets, and keeping the studio as tidy and as spectacular as it is! They’re also planning to teach two classes this year at the UKAPP conference in September, alongside studying their masters and sitting exams. Kat also got the brilliant news that they were accepted for a scholarship by Lynn Loehiede for the APP conference in Vegas, in which they will be travelling our and fulfilling in 2024! As always Kat has helped clients choose some of the most stunning pieces of jewellery for their custom set ups.

Breo has had such a fun year. From heavy genital work, to large guage piericngs, and all the fun and crazy custom scaffolds and anodising, Breo has truly been the wizard of Rogue in 2023. From piercing to piercing he has continued to suprise us and showcase his skills and knowledge. Breo has also got to do his own bit of travelling to Madrid for the Spanish APPE. He is also joining the teacher group this year at UKAPP as he is working on teaching his first ever class! We’re so excited.

Let’s talk about Gemma! The junior piercer of Rogue who joined us nearly 18 months ago, who has continued to prove her worth and skills to us time after time. Following in Aidens footsteps, she also is off on her travels next week, to Vegas! Gemma got awarded the legacy scholarship to the officicial APP conference in Las Vegas! During her time there she will help volunteer, attend parties, learn all the new things, and hopefully treat herself to something shiny. This year Gemma has been working on genital piercings, from the most common to some that we only see once a century (an exaggeration of course, but still increrdibily rare to perform). She has done more and more large guage work. Now while I can’t post a lot of Gemmas incredbile work here, I can showcase some!

And Jay, our apprentice, has been absolutely smashing her apprentice work this year. They are officially ticking off piercing ater piercing during their apprenticeship and producing some amazing work. They’ve also started working closely with clients to create long term projects and curations. Jay also got an exciting invitation from Claudia at Inari Organics, who offered Jay a temporary role to help assist as a jewellery vendor at the 2023 Manchester Trade Show. As Jay creeps closer to the final year of their apprenticeship, their skills only grow.

Theres only 6 more months left of 2023, including more conferences, more travelling, more piercings, and more opportunities. Follow along with us for another exciting and fun-filled 6 months!

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Kat’s Three Year Anniversary

Well, well, well. Time absolutely flies.

Monday, March 20th marks my three year anniversary at Rogue! If you want to take a trip down memory lane with me, just scroll through the gallery above to see me go from a tiny baby punk to a grizzled, old manager! I’m allowed to indulge myself in some reminiscing, if you can keep your eyes open long enough to read it…

In the Beginning…

I first found Rogue after getting my conch pierced at another studio in Nottingham city center. Once I let it heal for a bit, I really wanted to find some new jewellery for it as they didn’t have anything on offer except plain ‘Titanium’ balls. A few months after getting it pierced, I went back to that studio and asked if they had anything nicer. The lovely lady behind the desk was really sweet (and honest!) and told me that a new studio had just opened a week or so earlier, and that I was best to check there for nice jewellery. I did a quick google, went down the wrong lane (as most people do!) and ended up walking through the doors at Rogue for the first time in September 2019!

It was very quiet. I think I might have been the first person through the door all day! The joys of opening a new business in a new city, I suppose. I immedietely knew I was in the right place. A couple of days later and I was booked in for a few new piercings, and the week after I had my first ever piece of BVLA for my conch piercing! That was quite possibly the upgrade of the century.

I found University quite a struggle. Being Autistic, I had a hard time connecting with my peers. Strangely though, being in Rogue felt like home. I was in and out of the studio a lot after my first visit, not necessarily being pierced but always asking questions. The jewellery really drew me in – I’ve always been a bit of a magpie! I already had an inkling that I’d be spending a lot of my free time here.


Just after that first Christmas at Uni, I popped into Rogue and Aiden mentioned that he was hosting a suspension event. I was quite frankly mind-blown. I’d only ever heard of suspension through the internet, (thank you, years of unsupervised internet access!) and I didn’t think people actually did it. I couldn’t say no!

So in March, I went down to the studio with a friend who had offered to take professional(ish) photos and had my mind officially melted. This was also my first time meeting quite a few people from the industry (shout out to everyone that I met!) and I had never felt so at home. I look back and realise I was the most awkward, uncomfortable looking creature on the planet, but it was absolutely worth it. Also a most excellent afterparty, where at one point I ended up having to scale a 12ft fence and emerge from some bushes to catch an uber. You clearly had to be there.

Cannot believe this was the only photo taken that day!


And then, just a few days after the last suspension event… Some global calamity happened. I’m sure none of you remember it, it was super casual and only lasted two weeks…

My uni flatmate moved home and I was suddenly left on my own in Nottingham! No close family, no uni friends… But I did have Rogue. And Rogue became my reason to get up every morning! It was during this time that I learned a lot of what I know about piercing and jewellery. In that first few months, we recieved an influx of jewellery from another studio but none of it was labelled – It was up to us to inspect every single piece and decide what it was! This is kinda where I fell in love with BVLA as well. Not only is their jewellery beautiful, but it has real recogniseability! So I spent weeks and weeks with the macro lens, looking at the fine details of prong-set Swarovski crystals to try and determine whether they were manufactured by Industrial Strength, Neometal, or Anatometal. If that sounds like fun, then you definitely need to get out more! The hardest things were the labrets – It’s funny though, I can still tell an Anatometal threadless labret from a Neometal one, and a WBJ labret from an Anatometal threaded labret just by looking at the side profile of their disc. And who said piercing doesn’t give you transferrable skills!

The part that always makes me laugh is when I first started at Rogue, Aiden asked me if I was familiar with Excel and spreadsheets, because there was a LOT of spreadsheets involved. I said ‘Yes, I love spreadsheets! I am super good at them!’ Y’know. Like a liar. So I had to secretly give myself an aggressive crash-course in Excel/Google Sheets in order to maintain that lie for the first few weeks! In all fairness, I do now love spreadsheets.

Since I lived alone, I ended up in a bubble with Aiden and Anna, who graciously adopted me as a lightly feral nephew-type-deal. I’ll always be grateful for that. So I spent a lot of 2020 on a narrowboat, which was definitely not how I planned my year going.

I was clearly coping very well.

The best and strangest part of my start at Rogue was that I didn’t actually speak to or interact with an actual client until I had been working there for a good few months! Because we were classed as a close-contact service, we were very late to be allowed to reopen. The first time I actually had a client come through the door, it felt slightly illegal. Face-to-face interactions with customers are still my favourite moments though. As much as I enjoy being huddled behind a screen with my spreadsheets and order schedules, talking to real people is the highlight of my day.

At the time I didn’t really know how perilous things might have been, but looking back I am amazed that Rogue survived that time! Since reopening, it feels like Rogue has gone from strength to strength.

Raising the Baby.

Since reopening, it feels like the last few years have gone by in an absolute blur. I’m nearly in my mid-twenties now (I’m sure anyone 30+ is groaning – It feels old to me, ok!), and I’ve ended up as a manager (some may describe me as Supreme Overlord…) with 4-ish employees, a very large business to care for, and a never-ending headache of a jewellry collection! When did that happen?!

I don’t know the exact moment when Rogue became my baby, but it really has. I feel like I’ve definitely poured some of my cold, blackened soul into it and it has repayed me with a career that most people can only dream of (If they know it even exists!) I’ve watched it grow from a one-man show into one of the biggest UKAPP member studios in the country. I’ve been there for the good days and the bad – But I can say with certainty that there’s never a boring day at Rogue!

Since then, I twisted the UKAPPs arm to create a new membership category for non-piercer Associates (of which I was the first!), I’ve taught a fully-packed seminar at the annual UKAPP conference in Manchester, and I’ve won (and immedietely deferred) the Lynn Loheide Front of House scholarship for APP conference 2024 in Las Vegas. International travel may terrify me, but I will be getting on that plane even if someone has to hit me over the head with a rubber mallet first! I feel like I might need to take an actual holiday at some point…


Nose to the Grindstone

I remember very clearly the day I finished my last undergrad exam. I was sitting it at the front desk at Rogue on my laptop, since everything had moved online. I remember closing the laptop and saying, “Thank Christ it’s over. Never again.”

Famous last words…

So, after taking a year to forget how vaguely awful my undergrad was, I applied to and successfully got a place on my dream Masters! MSc Hons Microbiology and Immunology. A bit of a mouthful but incredibly interesting.

And that’s where I’m at now! Just trying to balance my baby with my degree, while still aiming for 6+ hours of sleep a night. It’s definitely hard work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have my own little found family in the Rogues, and I get to wake up every morning and do something I love.

This blog has definitely just been me indulging myself in ramblings, but it’s been a whirlwind of a three years and I’m really looking forward to what the next three years looks like. If the last few years are anything to go by, it’ll be worth sticking around to find out!

Thank you everyone for coming to Rogue, letting me have fun and be creative with your jewellery, and just generally making my passion into something genuinely fulfilling, that can actually pay my bills at the same time!

Back to our regularly scheduled interesting blog posts next week…

-Kat < 3

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What to Expect at your Piercing!

So, you’ve either booked a piercing appointment with us, or you’re considering booking one. Either way, we’re super excited to have you on board! However, what should you expect at your appointment, and should you bring anything? There’s a lot of questions you might have. So, let’s discuss the process of getting pierced at Rogue.

So first things first, book your appointment! Rogue is an appointment only studio, we do not offer walk-ins. You can book via our website here, for any day or time that suits you! You can even choose which piercer you would like to book with if you have a preference! While you’re going through the booking system, make sure you read those pesky terms and conditions! Once you’re all booked, you may want to browse our online webstore too view the hundreds of jewellery options we have! This is definitely a choice though – Most of your appointment time is dedicated to guiding you to your perfect jewellery.

The Day of Your Appointment

Now, it’s the day of you’re appointment! Make sure you’ve had a good breakfast/lunch before your appointment , and avoid caffiene! Caffiene is a stimulant and increase your blood flow. It can also boost anxiety if you’re feeling quite nervous! You’ll need to bring your photographic ID, such as a passport, driving license, or citizen card. Also check your emails! In your confirmation email there will be a link to your consent form. Give it a read and sign it as long as you agree and understand each point. If there is anything you need to ask, or anything you need us to know, then wait to complete the form at your appointment.

Once you arrive we will confirm your appointment with you, check your ID and check your consent form. We only accept valid photo ID. This may be something like a passport, provisional/driving licence, or for the kiddo’s – a citizens card. If you are over the age of 16, you will need your own ID, and your parent cannot sign for you. If you are under the age of 16, you will need to bring your parent or legal guardian witrh you, and you will both be required to have photographic ID. We may also ask for a birth certificate. (Due to insurance, we can not accept copies, or photographs of your ID. It does need to be a physical copy!)

Once all the boring stuff is out of the way, we will then discuss jewellery choices with you. We will show you all our cabinets and discuss ideas on your goal! There are hundreds of pierces to choose from, and our staff will help narrow down the choices for you! Once your piece (or pieces!) have been chosen, we set them up to be sterilised. During this time, your piercer will set up what they require, such as gloves and tools, and our counter staff will talk you through your aftercare advice, and answer any questions you may have.

The Piercing

You then get to go through to the piercing room and do the exciting bit! Your piercing experience can change depending on who you book with – Everyone is different! All our piercers work quite similarly, and are equally skilled, but they all have their own unique way of piercing. This is where the magic lies. For example, Breo likes to really slow down and walk you through the entirety of his process. Aiden will show you his tools and jewellery, and will take time to chat and get to know you. Gemma is super friendly and is amazing at keeping you calm. Jay is super full of energy and makes the process super fun and bouncy!

As soon as your piercing has happened, and both you and your piercer are happy, you get to come back out to reception, where you’ll be met with smiling faces! We’ll go throught the checkout, give you some cool stickers, and if you allow us to, we might take some super cool macro photos for our social media!

And thats it, we’re done! The next stage is your checkup appointment, which is super important. If you do literally nothing else with your piercing, come back for your checkup to ensure a smooth healing process and a beautiful end result! The checkup date depends on your piercing – This could be anywhere from 7 days to 6 weeks. Check your aftercare leaflet and pay attention during your aftercare speech to make sure you are on time.

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An Interview with Elizabeth Moore – Piercer

I first met Elizabeth around ten years ago when we both worked in a call centre . We bonded immediately over our shared love of piercings, tattoos and all things alternative. Throughout the years, Elizabeth has navigated the turbulent path of ADHD and ASD whilst immersing themselves fully into an industry that they are now thriving in. When we first met, Elizabeth struggled to talk with strangers and now they’re hosting talks at both the UKAPP and Piercer Trade Show events, speaking to rooms full of piercers about Apprenticeships in the UK and Neurodivergence in Piercing! On a personal note, Elizabeth was the first person to encourage me to start piercing and I am eternally and whole-heartadly grateful that they gave me that push and overwhelmingly proud of the person and piercer that they are.
Elizabeth works at Body Alter, Worksop

Gemma: How did you get started in piercing?

Elizabeth: I was being pierced a lot as a teenager, then I got normal jobs because I thought that was what you were supposed to do. I started getting pierced again in my early 20s but I’d never been pierced by anyone who wasn’t a tattooist so I never made the connection that it was a job.

Then I saw somewhere advertising for a body piercer and I didn’t get the job there but it was the first time I was like, ‘oh, this is someone’s job and I could do that?!’ I very much hated corporate life. This was maybe 2016 and it all kind of unfolded from there. When clients ask, I tell them I got started by accident.

G: What started your interest in piercing?

E: I was on MySpace for most of my teen years. There were all these ‘scene queens’, with snake bites and septum piercings, and I was like, shit, I want all of those. Then it all kind of went a bit nuts from there. 

G: We’ve been friends a long time, I know your piercing career and your journey with mental health and getting your diagnosis sort of began simultaneously right? 

E: So I have Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, dyspraxia and depression. I’d been diagnosed in maybe 2014/15. I’d given up work because of what I thought was a mental health crisis and happened to see a GP who was actually understanding. I was like, basically I just need you to give me drugs to get me through this crisis, and then I’ll look for a job again. And she asked if I’d ever considered that I might be autistic. She put that in motion and I saw a mental health nurse, then an autism specialist at a place in Chesterfield. The specialist thought I had ADHD and I laughed at her and said no, that’s not what it is. I’ve been reading about autism and it’s definitely that. 

I had an informal diagnosis from the GP initially, but then it took a long time to see a specialist who confirmed what I had already accepted by that point.

Fred the little terror

G: You’re very open about your experience being neurodivergent both as a person and a piercer.

E:  I’m just not ashamed of it. My diagnosis explained a lot about myself and it feels like a big part of who I am. I think it’s a lot of the reason why I’m good at what I do. It’s the reason why I’m not scared to have an opinion.

I have opinions on everything and I think anyone who’s ever talked to me on the internet very much knows. But that’s because I know myself well now, and I think knowing myself well came from a diagnosis. People are often a little frightened to seek it out. It doesn’t really change your life that dramatically if you know, but it’s a nice bit of validation. I don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed of. I don’t think there’s any condition that you should be ashamed of but I understand people want to keep things private. 

G:  You were diagnosed and then immediately started in the industry under not the most ideal circumstances, how was that for you?

E: I was newly diagnosed, I’d been masking for most of my life anyway so I’d not quite learned how to drop that completely in a way that I feel like I can do now. I was still very much in that headspace where I’d worked in call centers and a corporate world where I felt like I had no choice but to pretend to be a functional human being. 

Masking is exhausting. So it was really hard at the beginning to do it and learn not only how to pierce but also how to interact with people in a customer service setting. Piercing is a customer service industry that happens to have treatments attached to it. But then I also had to learn how not to get too invested.

We talk about imposter syndrome a lot on the internet. People talk about having it a lot and that’s especially true when you’re a neurodivergent person. These people are never gonna forget anything. Every mistake or every weird thing I’ve done in my career, I can remember, I can very much call back to that, but I’ll never remember the good stuff.

That was really hard to balance at first, and now I just dump it all on Paddy and make him deal with the things I’m stressing about

G: Have you found within the industry, there is quite a sub-community of neurodivergent piercers?

E: Yeah, privately a lot of people have reached out and said they’re either neurodiverse and are struggling with it, or they think they might be. But also I just polled the UK Professionals group just to see and yeah, loads of people have various personality disorders,

I think what draws us to this industry is that it’s not necessarily needing to mask all the time. There’s not very many people where I feel like I know they’re not hiding their intentions, but that is true of someone that is neurodivergent. Generally, I know that they’re not hiding their actual intentions because it’s not always something that we can do. Like lying is difficult. Building emotions is difficult, so then you kind of have to be yourself around them. And I think like calls to like in any part of your life. I think neurodiverse people are drawn to each other just because they’re neurodiverse and everyone tends to have a bit of a sense of that in someone else.

Lobe piercing by Elizabeth using the “LA baby” by @buddhajewelryofficial

G: What advice would you give piercers who are struggling with their own mental health/neurodivergence but also who have clients that are?

 E: From a piercer perspective, be kind to yourself and patient with yourself. Understand your own boundaries and recognise what burnout is for you because burnout is not the same for everyone. Give yourself longer appointments. Do whatever it is that makes your life easier.

There’s zero point struggling, particularly when you are in an industry or a job that you have so much control over. I appreciate that not everybody has as much control but particularly if people are diagnosed, autism and ADHD are recognised as disabilities in this country and your employer has a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments. But you have to know what those reasonable adjustments are. You kinda have to take some ownership of it or advocate someone to speak for you that understands.

My huge, big, giant thing from a client perspective,for anyone who is piercing someone who is neurodiverse, is don’t patronise them. I see so much performative activism on the internet that’s like, ‘oh, we do this thing for our autistic clients.’ It just feels really weird. ‘I’m gonna put lots of different cloud lights in here’. Fuck no. Everyone’s sensory issues are different as well. You’ve just gotta listen to your client. As a client, I just wanna be treated as a person and just be pierced the way that you pierce everyone because I can tell if you are out of your comfort zone as well. I see heaps of people really infantalise people with neurodiversity issues.

I like it when people give the option to have a silent appointment, but again, don’t just assume that your autistic client might want you not to talk to them because my ADHD wants you to chat.

As a piercer, I will try and make those accommodations, but also I can’t make any promises. There’s not always gonna be an option where I can do that either but I’ll try my best. We don’t do small talk in my piercing room. We do big talk. Always big talk. What superpowers would you have? I don’t know how to do small talk. 

G: What’s the weirdest superpower someone has said?

E:  People tend to just go for the power of flight or invisibility. Some guy wanted to make money with his hands and we ended up talking about economics for like 25 minutes. I always wanna ask people what they’re reading, but then not everybody reads

Another good one that I ask people is, what’s the weirdest fact they know. That’s fun because they are always excited to tell you. Did you know an octopus’s mouth was also its anus? It’s true for squid as well. 

G: You’ve been doing some work around piercing apprenticeships in the UK. Can you tell us a bit about that and why you started the UK Piercing Apprentices Facebook group?

E: I wanted there to be piercing specific information for people who were looking to start an apprenticeship either as an apprentice or as a mentor. It’s not a particularly active group, but I think there comes a point where it doesn’t really need to be. I wanted it to be a live-in resource.

I get asked all the time if I’m taking on a trainee and there was nowhere to point people for UK specific information about what a piercing traineeship is. There’s a couple of really good blogs but a lot of them are American so the information wasn’t always relevant to the UK and /UK legislation.  

Also it’s a group where people could ask questions in real time. There’s experienced piercers there, there’s piercers who are learning and there’s people who want to be piercers in there. Before I started the group, all the Facebook groups were for professionals only so we’re in these little echo chambers where we’re saying the best way to learn to be a piercer is to do an apprenticeship and learn from another piercer, but we’re also saying it to each other. That information wasn’t getting any further really. Piercers were also saying, you should find a piercer that you like and hang out at their studio, which was creating a huge issue for me personally. I can’t deal with that so I was having to say no to clients wanting to hang out and I came out of that looking like the bad guy even though I had done nothing wrong.

Performing a tandem piercing with Nathan at The Piercer Trade Show,

G: Unfortunately, the piercing and tattoo industry has a bad history of apprentice abuse. People would take on apprentices who were maybe naive or vulnerable, not pay them for their work and expect them to just be grateful that they’re a part of the industry. 

E: People didn’t know that they were being exploited either and that was the big thing for me. People were being treated appallingly, but they were just being told to expect that because ‘that’s how it’s done, that’s how you learn.’ And it just felt super weird because these people are often women, people of color, disabled people, people who are already vulnerable and who would then be further exploited just for the chance to do something that they enjoyed. I think there’s real ego rooted in it as well, the mentality that a mentors knowledge is enough payment, That won’t pay your bills.

Piercing is a cool job, it’s a fun job and I find myself incredibly lucky that I get to do it every day, but the reality is it’s just not that important. So to abuse someone and treat them poorly, to do that job is bizarre to me. I worked in a McDonald’s and they paid me from day one, even when I didn’t know how to make a Big Mac. Why would it not be the same for piercing training? 

We have got away with whatever we’ve wanted as an industry for far too long, and if we don’t sort this apprenticeship thing out as an industry and teach people what they’re entitled to and what they deserve and what they’re legally obliged to have, the government will do it for us.

G: Under UK legislation in 2023, what should a piercing apprenticeship look like?

E: They should be an employed member of staff who’s being referred to as a trainee or a junior member of staff. But they’re not apprentices because they’re not going to college and they will not receive a qualification at the end of it. We’re not an accredited industry. They should be paid at least minimum wage, not an apprenticeship wage. In the UK, an apprenticeship is a lower paid position because you are learning from an accredited source, usually a college, and you receive a qualification at the end of it.

Hairdressers are a really good example of that. It’s gonna be somebody who’s going to college however many days a week, every week, and then they’re going to work in a salon on other days. That salon is being funded to pay for their apprentice, and their apprentice will be on three or four pounds an hour.

Not to scare everyone off, but if piercing apprenticeship went the same route and we were qualified the same way, it would mean anyone with a teaching degree could teach piercing. My mom has a teaching degree and she was a hairdresser. She refers to labret piercings as chin piercings.

I love Elizabeth’s mom but we don’t need her teaching people how to do chin piercings. Hi Megan! <3

G: So you did a roundtable at the UKAPP conference on apprenticeships and also a class at the Piercer Trade Show, can you tell us what that was like?

E: I kind of wanted to cover both aspects of it. At the Trade Show in Ireland, there was a good mixture of piercers and apprentices already there. For  piercers looking to take on an apprentice, I wanted them to know where they could find that information and to make sure that they’re operating within the laws. 

In my talks, I try to encourage people to rethink their standpoint on if they actually need an apprentice. Do they actually need a cleaner or maybe a studio manager? Maybe you actually need a cleaner to focus solely on that task. Or if you’re struggling to pierce and run your reception, do you need a receptionist? Because your front of house is actually probably more valuable to your business than any other member of staff because they’re seeing your customers first.

I do talk about Rogue a lot in this because I think you’ve got a really good balance of who does what. Instead of people who take on an apprentice to be a general dog’s body.  I think it was Jabba that said this, but he’s totally right, if you’re a piercer who works on your own and you want to take on an apprentice, do you have enough work for two piercers? I want to encourage people to evaluate what they actually want from another member of staff. 

In the talks as well, from an apprentices perspective, I just wanted them to know what they were worth and have people understand what exploitation is in the workplace. And for them to know there’s people that have got their back, my inbox is literally always open if anyone wants to talk about it. 

Question everything applies to everything. So when we talk about technique or why have we chosen to do internally threaded rather than externally? As an industry, we discuss and we work things out. But that applies to the situations as well. No one deserves to be exhausted for the chance to do the job they want.

G: I think for a long time piercers have just sort of gotten on with piercing and a lot of us tend to keep our opinions to ourselves for fear of backlash. But if we don’t have the discussions, there’s no progress for the industry. 

E: I was really scared to speak in the Facebook groups for a really long time, for fear of being told that I was wrong. But also being wrong is really the only way that you learn. I think also not having a fear of being disliked is a hard lesson to learn, but it’s one that I’ve definitely learned a lot in my life. 

I understand that, particularly on the internet, I will seem potentially quite abrasive and opinionated and loud, and I don’t think that’s necessarily true in real life. I’m caring and I will fight someone’s corner if I think that they’re being wronged. I don’t mind if industry peers aren’t my biggest fan because my clients are important to me. My friends are important to me, but also I have a life outside of piercing.  I think that’s really important that we don’t live in this echo chamber where the only people we interact with are industry peers and the only thing we do is industry events. You have to create a life outside of it or it will consume you.

Particularly again, as we’ll go back to neurodiversity. It’s really easy for me to get obsessed with anything, so I have to work really, really hard to make sure it doesn’t take over my entire being.

G: I’ve known you for nearly a decade and there was definitely a time period of a few years where piercing was your entire life. 

E: Yeah. It was constant, All consuming. And it nearly killed me,

 I can’t let it do that again. But I think where I am now, I’ve got a really good work-life balance, which was a thing I didn’t think existed. I’ve got a lot of good support. 

You’ve gotta make those things for yourself sometimes. Be an advocate for yourself. 

I’m so thankful to Elizabeth for their time not only in this insightful and honest chat that we had, but for always being so supportive and caring. It’s been a turbulent decade but I’m very excited to see how much they will continue to grow over the next one! Thank you always.

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Green flags for clients?

We always see a lot of ‘red flags’ posts, and what to not look for in a piercing studio, or how to not be a ‘Karen’ or ‘bad client’. But what do these mean? What should we be doing as clients? What are the green flags studios are looking for? We have previously spoken about what you should look for in studios aswell, which you can read here!

The first one is that we are looking for clients to be respectful. This doesn’t just mean we want you to not shout at us and swear at us when something doesn’t go the way you thought it might have, or if a mistake was made. But it also means you’re being respectful in the way you may phrase things. As a high standard studio we may understand that sometimes you may be shocked by our prices, or something is a little out of budget. Instead of saying ‘you’re too expensive’ or ‘I can get it for cheaper’, we are quite understanding if you simply state that it’s out of your budget tellingl us your budget. This means we can work with you to find something equally as amazing in your price bracket! We want to work with you, not against you.

Clients who aren’t afraid to ask questions are also a ‘green flag’. Wether its a question about aftercare, jewellery quality,or piercing possibilities we’re always happy to answer. Quality piercing studios would rather you ask too many questions and be happy and knowdlegable than walk away feeling unsatisfied and confused.

Respecting our time. This is a big one, and especially for studios that are appointment only. We want our clients to be on time to their appointment as we run a schedule. Missing half of your appointment might mean we won’t be able to continue, or run late into the next appointment. Being on time (or even a few minutes early) means your appointment will go smooth, and our piercers aren’t rushing or feeling stressed about time managment.

Understanding that this is our job, and not expecting us to work for free. This slightly follows on from respecting our time. We have set working hours, and it is absolutely fine to message us outside of those times, but please don’t expect a reply after we close. We have personal lives too! This also relates to in studio hours, wether it’s a ‘small jewellery change’, the piercing itself, us sitting with us to talk about curations or jewellery ideas, there may be a small fee! Even though these appointments might be short, it still takes up time in our calenders and our working hours. You woudn’t expect a lawyer to spend 20 minutes discussing work without payment, please don’t expect us to!

Listening to your aftercare advice! Clients who follow our aftercare advice, andcome back for their downsize are often less likely to come back with irritation bumps, or other issues. Please don’t touch, poke, fiddle or play with your piercings, use anything other than a sterile saline solution, or switch out your piercings to early. These are all ‘red flags’ and means your piercings are more likely to take longer to heal, or are more prone to lumps and bumps along your healing journey.

Not assuming we’re also tattoo artists. Now tattoo artists are amazing, and do some quite incredible work, but that doesn’t mean this is the end goal for everybody. Piercing and tattooing are completely seperate worlds, and the work is so different. Body piercers are piercers because they want to be piercers. They enjoy what they do, and they don’t see it as a gateway into tattooing. It’s really disheartening when clients assume we also tattoo, because our work is just as important. (However, if you are visiting Rogue and are interested in some amazing artwork for your skin, please check out Revenant Tattoo and pick up one of her leaflets or business cards.)

Rogue and Revenant Halloween Special!

We absolutely adore each and every one of ourt clients, wether you only come the once, or you come every single day. We couldn’t do it without you, and you are all very much part of Rogue as we are.

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Gemma – A Retrospective!

Today marks a special day here at Rogue. It’s Gemmas birthday! It’s also over a year since this legend joined the team here at Rogue, so we thought we’d take the time to look back at everything she has been able to achieve in such a short space of time.

Rogue wouldn’t be the same without her.

The Beginnings

Gemma joined Rogue on January 4th, 2021. Having been coming to get pierced by us for a while at that point, we could see it was her dream to take control of her career and join the team. Gemma had been piercing for a long time at another studio, but felt that she needed to move forward to a more experienced, high quality UKAPP member studio to really further her skills. So we took a small financial gamble and she became a Rogue!

Gemma’s first ever piercing at Rogue was this perfect septum piercing. No pressure!

From the first time we met Gemma, we could see her passion for piercing was so great. She had been doing a huge amount of online learning, absorbing everything she could from piercers choosing to share their knowledge. It was an honour on our part to be able to give her the space to spread her wings. It wasn’t long before she was flying!

Gemma’s first piece of BVLA! The ‘Afghan’ in this fresh helix piercing.

Gemma – Historian and Journalist Extraordinaire.

What we didn’t expect was Gemma’s true passion for history, and preserving the thoughts and stories of piercing in the UK. Whilst the USA has the Piercing Archive, there truly isn’t a huge amount of piercing history being preserved in the UK. Gemma has really taken to this challenge with her whole heart, and began the now extensive ‘Piercer Interview‘ series on our blog! Every time she has the opportunity, she loves to sit down with other piercers (some of whom have been seriously overlooked and underestimated!) and recorded their history – Who they are as people, how they came to be in the industry…

Gemma truly has a deep love for the weird and wonderful. As a suspension practicing studio, it’s been amazing to see Gemma take to the sky with her first body suspension only a few weeks ago. It was such a magical, transformative moment. It felt like a new era had begun, and it was an absolute privilege to be able to watch it.

This love for history is now extending into becoming a bit of a local historian for body piercing. Nottingham has a surprisingly long and colourful history with tattoo and piercing. Gemma is now working closely with the Nottingham Archives and Justice Museum to discover, and give context to, some of the piercings and tattoos recorded in their annals.

A little snippet of ‘The Incredible Til’ class, taught by Paul King at UKAPP 2022. History comes to life in these moments.

Piercing Work

Gemma has absolutely blossomed in the last year under the guidance of Aiden and Breo. Moving from cannula piercing to blade needles, clamps to freehand, and moving into the wierd and wonderful world of intimate piercings… Gemma is truly in her element!

Gemma has that rare skill of being able to take a step back, take a deep breath, and allow her hands to do exactly what her brain imagines them to do. From super technical work, to move freely creative piercings… Gemma is becoming a truly amazing piercer.

We cannot wait to see where Gemma goes next with her work, both piercing and history. As a committee member for the UKAPP, she is also working with the industry to raise standards and bring the message of high quality to more piercers across the country.

UKAPP Member! Next step, take over the world…

Happy birthday Gemma! Hopefully we get to celebrate many more with you in the years to come. Thank you for becoming the mum of the studio that we didn’t know we needed.

Love from all the Rogues <3