Q: Why are the price ranges so drastically different between piercing shops? (Part Two) – Ethan
A: Last month, we talked about a shop’s purpose, sterilization practices, and materials as factors impacting price. This month, we will talk more about customer interactions, business practices, and on-going piercing education.
Customer interactions range from how counter staff answers the phone to how a piercer troubleshoots a question during the healing process. Every customer interaction with a member of the piercing studio should cause you to feel at ease, respected, and trusting of the individuals you encounter. The staff should educate you about every aspect of the piercing, including facts that may not always benefit the shop’s income. For example, if a requested piercing is unlikely to heal based upon the anatomy or other factors, the piercer should be honest about that, rather than lie to make a sale. Hiring staff who demonstrate this kind of integrity, respect, and a passion for customer experience can be a significant investment. This impacts the price of a piercing. Yet, this investment is worthwhile for you to get the quality piercing and experience you deserve.
The way a studio conducts its business is a huge contributor to price differences between establishments, and much of this depends upon ethics, rather than regulations. In Iowa, there are no state mandated body piercing regulations. This means that a piercing studio is free to do just about anything they wish. Yet, a quality studio will set its own high standards to provide the best for you. While this applies to safety and quality, it also ties to the policies and procedures of the business. Carrying insurance, paying taxes, standardizing processes, and providing employee manuals to cement ethical practices all matter greatly to the viability of the studio. These positive business practices are costly, but they protect you from unsafe and unethical practices.
The most obvious impact to your experience may be your piercer’s ongoing education. This includes knowledge of jewelry materials, piercing technique, anatomy, aftercare, safe practices, customer care, and piercing history. While some piercers will say things like, “I trained with the best,” or “I have years of experience,” this may mean nothing if they learned the wrong behaviors. There are just a few formal training options for piercers that provide current, well researched, and practical information. None of these opportunities exist in Iowa. Piercers must travel significant distances to attend training. They also can attend a week-long continuing education course each year hosted by the Association of Professional Piercers (APP). Find out if your potential piercer is an APP member at www.safepiercing.org. Members not only demonstrate taking advantage of industry-recognized, ongoing education, they must also prove that the studio, jewelry, and sterilization practices meet the expectations of the organization.
Prices will vary, but doing a little research will go a long way to prevent you from making a regrettable and costly mistake. A piercing isn’t just a piercing, it’s an experience and investment in yourself. Remember, cheap quality piercings aren’t good, good quality piercings aren’t cheap. You’re worth it.
Q: Why are the price ranges so drastically different between piercing shops? - Ethan
A: On the surface, it may seem that piercing studios offer the same service and should thus charge the same. Yet, when you understand the factors that affect price, you will understand why paying a little extra now may save you money and peace of mind in the long run.
A studio’s investment in its purpose, sterilization practices, materials, customer interactions, general business practices, and on-going education all contribute to the price of a piercing. This month, we will focus on purpose, sterilization, and materials. We will save the other factors for part 2 next month.
The purpose a studio has for offering piercing services is a huge contributor to price, as it is the foundation of every other practice. If a studio is not motivated by providing high-quality artistry and a great customer experience, they are likely to reduce important aspects of a safe and successful piercing.
Studio investments in cleanliness and sterilization practices are critical to decreasing the risk of introducing bacteria or viruses during your piercing experience. As you tour your prospective studio, you should observe a clean appearance throughout the piercing facility. What you observe is your first indication of the effort toward customer experience and piercing safety. For a studio to offer the safest sterilization available, they must invest in effective, often expensive, equipment and regular testing to ensure the equipment works optimally. You may wish to ask for sterilization equipment test results to gain comfort with their sterilization practices.
The materials used during a piercing play a major role in the safety and potential success of your piercing, as well as the price. Stocking a variety of jewelry styles, materials and colors, employing staff knowledgeable about design, and carrying only safe, implant-grade jewelry all significantly impact the piercing price. While it is inexpensive to fill a case with novelty jewelry, those pierced with it are more likely to experience allergic reactions, longer healing times, scarring, jewelry migration or rejection, and discomfort. These issues not only lead to problems, but may result in you, the consumer, spending additional money to correct the problem that could have been avoided from the start.
The needles a studio uses may not have as much impact on price as jewelry, but the slight added cost has a significant impact on safety. You should ensure that needles are single-use and disposed of properly after each piercing. Some needles are sharper and designed better than others, leading to less trauma and a smoother piercing. Make sure you ask your potential piercer about the needles he/she uses and how they handle them before and after each piercing.
Reputable piercers strive to help you find that perfect piece of jewelry to fit your style and anatomy. But don’t let any additional price scare you away. If the practices, materials, and studio fit what you are seeking from a safety and quality standpoint, talk with your piercer about your budget. He/she will work with you to find an option that is right for you.
Stay tuned for Part 2 next month
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