March 28th, 2013
I received a message from an apprentice piercer asking about jewelry for an ampallang piercing:
Hello Ms. Angel,
My name is F. I am an apprentice piercer and I have a married couple coming in and they both want to get pierced. The Husband (uncircumcised) is adamant on getting an Ampallang, but he wants a hoop for the initial Piercing. I can not find any information online or through other piercers if this is safe. I would really appreciate your advise.
What about your mentor? If you're an apprentice, there has to be an expert you're studying under, right? What does he or she have to say….? If you do not have anyone to guide you through such advanced piercings, you MUST refuse!
If someone came to me with that request, my response would be, "No, I'm sorry--I won't use a ring for initial jewelry in that area. My experience allows me to be certain that would not be safe or helpful for healing. I can start it using a bar, and after you are fully healed you can explore other jewelry options."
In any case when it comes to dealing with clients, you're in charge. Regardless of how "adamant" somebody is, it is up to you to always stand by your ethics and only do piercings for which you are qualified, and to refuse to participate in any piercings (or jewelry selections) that are a bad idea.
Just say "no." If they say they'll go elsewhere for it--that's fine. You can't be responsible for their bad decisions, but you can be responsible for avoiding making your own. I always tell people, "Any piercer who is wiling to do that does not care about your safety, wellbeing, or the success of your piercing--only your money. I DO care, which is the reason I'm going to refuse to do anything that is a bad idea."
February 10th, 2013
I received a message from an apprentice piercer who was concerned about the placement of a Vertical Clit Hood piercing he recently performed:
I'm an apprenticing piercer and my fiancee agreed to come in for a supervised VCH piercing with my instructor. I'm pretty positive that we ended up with a surface piercing rather than a genuine, and correct VCH. I explained my concerns to my instructor and she assured me that it was done correctly, but I'm pretty certain this is incorrect.
We did the q-tip test ahead of time and utilized a NRT for the procedure, so I'm a little uncertain as to how we ended up where we are. Secondarily, the jewelry the piercer selected is far too short (easily remedied). The piercee is very uncomfortable and sore.
I'm inclined to have her remove the jewelry and begin healing, but wanted a second opinion before doing so.
I'm glad you contacted me. That jewelry absolutely needs to come out before it gets embedded. And, since the piercing is not placed properly, I would not advise that even properly sized jewelry be reinserted.
You're correct: that is a surface piercing, not a VCH. I marked the photo with an arrow to indicate where the jewelry should be coming from (underneath the hood, against the clitoris).
How long have you been engaged in your apprenticeship and how carefully did you check into this mentor's qualifications? I have grave concerns for your education if this is representative of her work as an instructor--especially if she tried to tell you this was in any way "correct."
December 16th, 2012
I received a message from a woman who had a question about certain legalities of piercing:
Hello my name is T and I've been piercing out of my home for the past 4 years and i have a problem. im starting to save money and build a business but someone is trying to bring me down. im currently creating a facebook page for my new business and an employee from a tattoo shop said he reported me to the police for piercing out of my home. ive been doing this for more than 4 years and i looked up on the internet for the state of pennsylvania you dont need a license to tattoo/pierce but hes telling me to get an apprenticeship. do i need that?
I don't know anything about your local laws, but I know a great deal about professional piercing and I must say that it absolutely should take place out of a proper studio and not a home.
You can find out about the personal and environmental criteria set as an industry standard by the Association of Professional Piercers in the application for membership on this page: http://www.safepiercing.org/join-the-app/types-of-memberships/
You must have an autoclave that is spore tested regularly by an outside service, a separate enclosed area for piercing, a seperate steriliztion room, and much more.
June 27th, 2012
I recently received this message from a reader who is an apprentice:
Hello! I bought your book at barnes and noble, also I have recently began a piercing apprenticeship and your book has helped very much! Thank you! Although I do have a question that I just can't seem to find an answer for...
...I plan to be a professional body piercer full time once my apprenticeship is complete, but do professional piercers (after completing the apprenticeship) generally make enough money to survive and live off of doing this alone? How much does a newer piercer generally make in a year, on a commissioned basis (50/50 split)? Or Will I need a second job?
I figured you were the expert, and it couldn't hurt to ask. Thanks so much!!!
Glad to hear that my book has been helpful for you.
I know many, many piercers who make a living from the job. But...there can be big differences in how busy studios are (and thus earning potential) dependent upon geographic region, local economy and quantity and quality of competition, and countless other factors.
So, I can speak only from experience within my studio, Rings of Desire, which was in New Orleans (it closed after Hurricane Katrina and I moved to Mexico).
My employees were well compensated and definitely earned a living by being piercers. I even provided them with medical insurance and other benefits like paid vacation time! However, I paid a salary, as I wanted my staff to be equally rewarded for sweeping, mopping, and tidying jewelry displays as they were for piercing.
June 25th, 2012
I received a message from a girl who was interested in becoming a piercer:
I've been interested in becoming a piercing artist for a while and have asked about apprenticeships, but have had no luck until today when one of the artists at a nearby shop said that he would apprentice me for one hundred dollars a week. Should I consider this? Would a reputable place ask for this or are they just interested in getting my money?
This is something I'm serious about doing and am willing to do anything for at this point.