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  • Writer's pictureModern Ethos

Why "Piercing Only"?

Tattoos and piercings have come a very long way in the last few years - in the industry and in public. Even in the past decade there have been some big changes in how they are done, health and safety, the best aftercare for them, etc. Our culture as a whole has changed a great deal too, where we now live in a society surrounded by people wearing multiple piercings with higher end jewelry, and a plethora of visible tattoos in our daily lives. Professional settings have loosened their grips against them as popularity grows and we as a society have grown comfortable with them, reconnecting with our roots of the love or even social status of body adornment, rather than seeing them as a person not worth hiring. We get asked on a regular basis about why our studio is, well...the way that it is! It can be a loaded question with the history of body piercing, but also our age of modern day body piercing.

In case you have never visited us before, Modern Ethos is a studio offering professional body piercing and body jewelry only , operating primarily by appointments. We do not offer any tattoo related services, other than great recommendations to a handful of studios in the Central PA area. (Yes, we still love tattoos)! We do not sell smoking products, clothing, or costume jewelry of any kind. We offer the safest, cleanest, most up to date piercing services, and the best quality body jewelry available in the industry - not only for something unique and beautiful, but also for well-healing results. We regularly further educate ourselves about our industry and practices. These are things that were happening behind the scenes long before it became what it has - the industry and our studio.

But many people are confused by this as they are so used to seeing tattoos and piercings together in every studio, or going to the mall to get ear piercings with a gun at a kiosk. They are also used to just walking right in and leaving within 15 minutes, having gone through everything from the paper work, the piercing, aftercare, and payment. Many of these places that will offer both services, tend to have a limited jewelry supply with basic options, a lack of aftercare advice, cutting corners to make things quick instead of thorough (plus to make more profit), and ultimately they focus more on the tattooing side of the business. Most studio owners look at tattoos as 'the real money' with more popularity, so they invest back into anything tattoo related in their business, while piercing is 'extra cash flow' and very little effort is made for the same quality tools and products for it. As piercer's this has been the majority of our careers all over the world. Just ask almost any of them. Now there are many piercing only studios and tattoo only studios in existence that want to focus on their particular craft for the quality of their work, rather than making a buck off of anyone that walks through the door. We have a lot of love for these places! Not to say that there aren't studios that have been able to offer both with great quality and success, but there are very few, and they are operated as almost a separate businesses entirely.

We work by appointment to cut down on wait times, work with your schedule, and to dedicate time for you and your procedure specifically. This also allows us to be flexible with our own time. If you are unsure if you can commit to an appointment, call or email us to check our schedule for spaces or cancellations! Jewelry purchases, changes, trouble shooting, questions, as walkins are always welcome! We rarely get anyone out of the door in 15 minutes if they are getting pierced. Regular clients that are familiar with us have quick appointments. This also depends on the piercing. Anyone else coming in for the first time can expect to easily be here for 30-60 minutes for piercing procedures. In that time we cover the piercing you would like, do an anatomy check or consultation, pick out jewelry (we have the largest selection around), explain how everything will be sterilized, check ID's, fill out consent forms, go over complete aftercare instructions (which includes a sheet with your personal jewelry information filled out), then the piercing procedure (clean, mark, placement, piercing, cleanup), and finally, payment. The procedure itself requires several steps for safety. We explain everything every step of the way. When working with small children for ear lobe piercings, it is a set 60 minute appointment each time for the consult and consent, along with all of the above.

Since we also make it a point (pun intended) to offer so much quality jewelry, there can often be over 10-20 different options for the same piercing idea, sometimes 50! We are able to focus strictly on what we need to offer piercing procedures, and materials. We want you to enjoy what you are wearing while it heals (and after), but also want it to heal properly without the jewelry be part of the problem. If you really love a piece of jewelry and it isn't irritating you while healing, you will heal much more easily, and be less likely to mess with it. The materials and finish to a surface can make all of the difference in something having 'no isssues' over the course of several months in order to heal. Due to the time we cut out to cover aftercare, you will also know all of the 'do's and don'ts' to caring for it, which is equally important. We make sure you are able to ask any questions you want, and that you are comfortable coming back to us later if you have any more questions or concerns. Each small piece of this big puzzle equals a healed, healthy piercing you will have for years to come. These are 2 of the biggest complaints we hear from clients that have had bad experiences elsewhere. Poorly fitting jewelry causing irritation, low quality materials that make them itch and causes discoloration, couple with outdated after care instructions - IF THE PIERCER EVEN TELLS THEM ANYTHING AT ALL. We are not splitting our time with anything else.

Body piercing is a completely different procedure from tattooing. It requires different equipment that often needs to be stored, used, cleaned, and sterilized differently. Many studios are opting to go fully disposable (everything gets thrown out), cutting back on potential cross contamination of blood borne pathogens or improperly cleaned tools. They require different types of skin prep for the procedure to be safely performed, regardless. A body piercing requires completely different after care, as it takes longer to heal a piercing than it does a tattoo due to the type of wound we are creating for the jewelry to sit in, leaving more time for things to get irritated or go wrong - even if it was done properly initially. Body piercing requires tons of jewelry options, not only as more fun for you, but to ensure that you have something that fits properly while allowing for swelling, where the piece has been manufactured properly to be smooth. Having so many style or size options for each piercing in quality materials is expensive, but this is where all of the money goes back into the business. It is cheaper for a studio to carry certain common sizes as a 'one size fits most' deal, common styles that they'll use all over the body, bulk ordered from cheap outsourced companies using materials that are full of mystery metals without clear explanations, all scraped up allowing it to bother the piercing within the piercing hole and potentially collect bacteria in small pockets. We are able to (and do) check up on our jewelry sources, before they even become pieces of jewelry). It isn't fair for a studio to decide which is more valuable to them, when it's your body. Health and safety should always be a top priority, customer service and education, with profit to continue business following behind later.

Working in a space where things could be better, but the tattooing is favored as the focus, the piercee (you) isn't getting the best services you deserve, which you are trusting in the studio to provide, while the piercer isn't doing the best they can with what comes along with this profession. This is why many piercers have opted to open or work in piercing only studios, where all of the focus is on piering and jewelry, letting the tattoo studios handle their gift. There are not as many quality studios where both tattoo and piercing are offered, but the piercing end is operated as an independent business (within a business), so that there is a clear line. This is extremely rare, very special, and completely non-existant in Central Pennsylvania.

The internet brings us the ability to see more of each artist's and studio's work to make decisions for ourselves. We are able to educate ourselves with online reading platforms, forums with professionals giving advice, and plenty of google searches to understand the difference in jewelry, materials, techniques (no guns!), how things are made, germs, etc. Now you can be armed with information to know the difference, not just trusting the words of the person behind the counter. There is plenty of outdated misinformation floating around, don't get me wrong, as with any subject in life on the wide web and still in some studios. The real answers are available and hard to repute, if you do a little digging or talk to professionals whose work is usually easy to spot. These are piercers and artists that are constantly continuing to learn for themselves whether it be by seminars (courses and group discussions by more experienced artists), guest spots (traveling to work at other studios), or shadowing (visiting to learn by watching and talking with other artists). This means they are pushing for themselves and for you as a client. Things change, the world changes, people change, and this industry is not immune to it. The biggest arguments being over what is Safer. It may cost more, but you are receiving far more. Afterall, this is IN your body, not just ON it. If it can be better, those are the people looking to make it so. Some things don't work for everyone, and some things don't work the same forever. If you visit different studios yourself, you will also be able to spot the professionals as you chat with them. They are willing to go over any and all information with you passionately, often letting the quality of their work speak for themselves instead of being concerned with what the shop up the street is doing.

We are happy to recommend amazing tattoo studios in Pennsylvania, and many more around the country if you are moving or willing to travel! We are also known for sending clients during travel or relocation to other piercing studios that will take good care of them with high standards and jewelry if they need anything. There are many platforms we willingly send customers to in order to check out other piercer's for advice and jewelry companies. We want to be sure you are getting what you deserve and support other studios that feel the same way. It is hard work to make change in the world, but helping one another get the best out of it that we can is a huge step in the right direction. Feel free to ask us any questions or help you find exactly what you are looking for!

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