Episode Highlights:0:09 - Getting to know Ursula
1:26 - “That's the most rewarding when you can do a really cute piercing but you're also really helping someone at the same time” - Ursula
2:47- "When the person picks a piece of jewelry and then they're really super happy with the results. That's always really fun." - Ursula
3:39- What piercings do you want or do you right have?
4:28 - Getting to know Jasper and his piercing career
6:45 - "She was like the coolest old lady in the world. She'd never had her ears pierced and she wanted it done before she died” - Jasper
7:08 - Favorite and least piercings to do
8:31 - What would you describe as your dream client?
9:35 - What are some things that clients should know before coming in to get a piercing?
12:35 - What is the piercing that you have?
13:21 - Differences between clients from then versus now
14:30 - Where do you see the industry going in the next few years?
Getting to know Ursula
Endy: Hi, everyone, we're back with another episode of the #iamAvanti podcast. Today, I am joined with Ursula, one of our guests piercers, Hi, there!
Ursula: Hi, I'm good!
Endy: Awesome. So how long have you been piercing?
Ursula: So including my apprenticeship, it's been just over two years.
Endy: Awesome. Cool! What made you want to become a piercer?
Ursula: It's one of those things that I've kind of always been interested in. Ever since I was a young child, I've always had a passion for both body adornment and spiritual transformation and I feel like being a piercer kind of marries those two interests together in a really cool way.
Endy: Right on, right on. What are some of your favorite client experiences that you've had so far?
Ursula: I always get really excited when somebody comes in for that transformative experience. I've had a lot of clients who tell me that a previous partner or a job or a family member didn't want them to have a piercing and now they're in a place, where they can get that piercing. I've also had clients who come and get piercings because they've had a medical condition or some sort of bodily trauma, and they're trying to reclaim their body and to me, that's the most rewarding when you can do a really cute piercing but you're also really helping someone at the same time.
"That's the most rewarding when you can do a really cute piercing but you're also really helping someone at the same time"- Ursula
Favorite and least piercings to do
Endy: That's really, really cool. What are some of your favorite piercings to do?
Ursula: I mean, it's gonna sound kind of cheesy, but I love doing all piercings. I wouldn't say that I have one specific piercing that is a favorite, but I do kind of like doing something like a conch piercing because there's just so many options with jewelry styles and placement but really, I like doing all of them.
Endy: Some guessing, you don't have a least favorite one?
Ursula: I mean, not really. It really more depends on the client if the client is being really difficult or in a really bad mood or something that can make it not so fun, but I wouldn't say that there's a piercing I hate.
Endy: Okay, that's good to know.
Endy: Describe your dream client, like someone that comes in and you're like yes, I want to stab you.
Ursula: I mean, dream client is kind of a weird one as well because I wouldn't say there's one specific thing that makes someone the best client but it is always kind of fun, when the person picks a piece of jewelry that I also really like a lot or if they come in just knowing exactly what they want and then they're really super happy with the results. That's always really fun.
"When the person picks a piece of jewelry that I also really like lot or if they come in just knowing exactly what they want and then they're really super happy with the results. That's always really fun" - Endy
Endy: Awesome. What was the process of becoming a piercer like for you?
Ursula: So for me, was a little bit different than a lot of people. My husband was working at a tattoo shop that had not done piercing for a number of years and then eventually hired a piercer and needed a second piercer, so it was kind of just randomly offered to me and because it was something that I had always loved and wanted to do, I just jumped on that opportunity and took it for what it was.
Endy: Divine Intervention right place right time. I love it.
What piercings do you want or do you right have?
Endy: What piercings do you want or do you right have?
Ursula: I definitely have a bunch. I have a lot of piercings on both my ears. I have my septum. I have my tongue. I have my nipples, my hood. Thinking about getting some more stuff in my ears. I might get a vertical bridge which is a surface piercing, but I mean, I love them all and I'm kind of down for whatever.
Ursula: Alright.Getting to know Jasper and his piercing career
Endy: Hey y'all, we are back and today I have Jasper with us. Hey there, Jasper!
Jasper: I am good!
Jasper: You doing okay?
Endy: Yeah, I'm doing great. You just pierced my ear.
Jasper: I did.
Endy: It's doing well actually.
Jasper: It looks fantastic.
Endy: Yeah, I'm really excited. You did it like a job, didn't hurt very much at all. So because you know what you're doing because you've been piercing for how many years now?
Jasper: 18. It will be 19 in three weeks.
Endy: See there you go. 19 years and what made you want to become a piercer?
Jasper: That's a good question. Never once did I ever say, [inaudible 5:04] but a very, very good friend of mine with a tattoo shop from my hometown, and nobody knew how to do it. He just didn't want to do it. He wanted to take away from his dad doing them. His wife did it, but his wife was at college. Yeah, he kind of pressured me until here, "Let me teach you". I was [inaudible 5:32] finally on Valentine's Day, 2001, I started my apprenticeship. I wasn't really given a choice, you know, it's kind of talked into it by a good friend of mine
Endy: It was just thrusted into your life.
Endy: Okay, and I just like Jasper, get in here, come help me stab you.
Endy: That's so cool!
Jasper: You know, and, you know, when I was young, impressionable. He was tattooing me, one time in like seven or eight came in and want pierce and so I can't do it, man. You're tattooing me.
Endy: Right. Yeah.
Jasper: And after like six, seven people came in and got turned away [inaudible 06:05] without that money.
Jasper: And that was, unfortunately, money was one of the deciding factors. I said, hey, you know, but, you know, it's much more than that now.
Jasper: That's the story of how it got started.
Endy: Cool. So, what are some of your favorite client experiences that you've been doing this for such a long time? Do you have any like standout customers or your standout experience that really stuck with you?
Jasper: You know, when I did my kids it's always cool, you know? Last year up, here's my oldest client, she's an 84-year-old woman, she's from the United Kingdom. She just happened to walk into the shop, I was working at in Augusta, Georgia.
"She was like the coolest old lady in the world. She'd never had her ears pierced and she wanted it done before she died"- Jasper
Jasper: You know?
Jasper: It's awesome, that's pretty cool, that's one of my favorites.
Endy: Yeah, that's a pretty standout time. You got to be a part of a really [inaudible 7:00] for her.
Endy: Yeah, it's never too late you, guys. Whether you're two or 92.
Jasper:There's no such thing as too old.
Favorite and least piercings to do
Endy: No. So what are some of your favorite piercings to do?
Jasper: The septum is my favorite one.
Jasper: No question.
Endy: What do you like about it?
Jasper: It's so hard to perfect.
Jasper: Because it's like really one of the only 360 degree piercings on the body like it can be crooked and incorrect in so many ways and I can't.
Endy: You get excited.
Jasper: Yes! I love it and you know what, man? Nobody does a perfect setup every time. I don't care how good you think you are.
Jasper: Or what people try to tell you. Nobody does a perfect septum every time. It's you know, hey men, no, it's just getting it's just making them look good, man.
Endy: Right? Yeah. What about your least favorite piercings?
Jasper: Anything in the mouth.
Jasper: But you know, it's not like I hate doing them.
Jasper: But it would be about the fingers.
Endy: Just the risk. Yeah.
Jasper: Yeah, I've done it before. I had to take up like two weeks off work one time. I can't work for like two weeks cause I got bit on my finger. I pierced the tongue [inaudible 8:14] the mouth is the dirtiest thing on the planet.
Endy: Yeah.Jasper: Yeah. I mean yeah, but you know, it's every piercing is so fast. To do it: get in there, get it done, make it look cool, make your client happy, go on.
What would you describe as your dream client?
Endy: Cool. Yeah. So speaking of clients, what would you describe as your dream client? Or do you even have one?
Jasper: There's so many.
Jasper: We could have this conversation for hours, you know.
Endy: Let's do it.
Jasper: I really like people who haven't been pierced yet.
Jasper: Virgin ears are cool, you know? That's a rarity anymore for so many people are into it.
Jasper: You get them every once in a while. I like doing kids.
Jasper: You know, 'cause kids are afraid of it and I like easing their minds a little bit and making them not afraid of the process.
Jasper: Making them understand that it's okay.
Jasper: And it's quote-unquote it's cool, you know?
Jasper: But you know, but, you know, the needle has a stigma. It does.
Jasper: It's gonna you know, but I'm a dad, and I like to think I'm good with kids. I can talk them through it. I can be cool with them and speak their language a little bit. Get them in there and get done and then they're not afraid of anymore right now.
Jasper: For sure.
Endy: You help them conquer their fears.
Jasper: Right.What are some things that clients should know before coming in to get a piercing?
Endy: Cool. What are some things that clients should know before coming in to get a piercing?
Jasper: Okay, that's an awesome question. Number one, no matter what, it's gonna hurt.
Jasper: It's gonna hurt.
Jasper: There's no such thing as making a painless piercing. We can't numb you.
Endy: I've heard things about like numbing cream.
Jasper: And numbing cream only really numbs the surface.
Endy: Yeah it doesn't numb the nerves that actually get hit.
Jasper: Right, right.
Jasper: And my favorite thing to tell people when they were watching it, you know me? Well, the only way to really numb you to where you wouldn't feel it, will take five to six injections. Each one of those injections would hurt 10 times worse than the piercing itself.
Endy: And then by the time you get down with that you'd have to [inaudible 10:21] like, who are you?
Endy: Okay. So you kind of explain the process of becoming or what started you piercing or what was the process in you like becoming a piercer. Like what exactly did you have to do?
Jasper: Okay, so my mentors were super old school, so I serve an apprenticeship. Alright, and I was hazed for lack of a better term. You know, I wasn't allowed to touch a client, you know, until I proved I was willing to be there, and they made it really hard for me to be willing to be there. So that was just the way, you know, this is like my best friend, you know, it's good people that I'd, you know, still loving this day, talk to all the time, you know? They're not blood-related to me, but I consider them family.
Jasper: Right. Normal for 30 some years.
Endy: They still put you through it.
Jasper: Yeah. Worse. One of my favorite stories about my apprenticeship is oh man, Kenny, was the owner of the shop. Kenny Pick. Hi Kenny, I love you, buddy. He said, "Are you busy?" I said no. He said I go to the store give a pack of cigarettes in quarter bills. I said, Okay, how much [inaudible 11:40]. His exact term, what part of getting me a pack of cigarettes in a quarter bigger than I think [inaudible 11:46] go get [inaudible 11:49].
Jasper: And that what got us here.
Jasper: Shot bitch or boy which kid? Yeah, that's a big part of, a big part of it and that wouldn't fly these days, man.
Jasper: It wouldn't, you know? I've been to basic training for the United States Army when they were allowed to engage you and put their hands on you. I would do that again before I turn old school.
Endy: Really? Wow. Damn.
Jasper: Yeah because they embarrass you, man. They would, they would go out of their way to embarrass you know, just disappear, free if you want to be.
Jasper: I'm glad I did it. I would never want to do it again.What is the piercing that you have?
Endy: Right. Okay, that's respect. What is the piercing that you have or want?
Jasper: I want my septum done.
Endy: Could you do it yourself?
Jasper: I don't know, I'm afraid the pain will make me jerk and I don't trust nobody else can do it.
Jasper: I'll get it done.
Endy: Okay. Maybe you have one of your friends?
Jasper: Yes, exactly. That's a good idea.
Jasper: That's a good idea.
Differences between clients from then versus now
Endy: So you've been in the game for 18 years, what are the most standout differences from between clients from then versus now? Like what is the most stark differences from the people that you pierced from the city?
Jasper: Clients back in the day, really old person to stud, just mommy and daddy. Now, you know, even the kids are informed. They know what's up and what they got to do you know, a lot of them know the difference between you know, between materials to place. Every day that you carry, you do whatever you can give them a jacked-up piercing they didn't care. They got it, they got other friends were like, "Oh yeah, I could get it done for you." They don't care if it was jacked-up, they didn't care if the jewelry was shit.
Endy: Right. So you would say this current client is a lot more advanced as far as having information and being prepared. Right?
Endy: That makes sense because you can Google whatever piercing like 10 Things to Know about ABC Piercing Before You Go into The Shop.
Jasper: That's it.
Endy: So, yeah, okay. Which of course, I would imagine makes your job easier.
Jasper: Sometimes. Yeah.
Endy: Yeah, it works sometimes.
Jasper: Yes. You know, everything you read on the internet is not true.Where do you see the industry going in the next few years?
Endy: True. That's true. So where do you see the industry going in the next few years?
Jasper: I mean, it's only gonna get better. I mean, I really don't know what more they can do. But I'm sure that it's probably something.
Jasper: No, maybe they'll come out with a better metal than titanium someday. Let's head-on.
Endy: Super techy in 3000.
Jasper: I really don't see how that could be. But you know, I mean it was gasoline forever and now they got jet fuel. So you know.
Jasper: Yeah know, anything's possible. You know, something that could sterilize, something super quick in a fashion that's in subtle would be cool too. You could go three and a half in that, but we got some people [inaudible 15:16] like that.
Endy: Yeah. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for taking your time to talk to me.
Jasper: Endy, thank you.
Endy: And yeah, no problem. Thank you all for listening. This is the #iamAvanti podcast. My name is Endy. I just interviewed Jasper, and yeah, you guys have a great day.
Jasper: Bye, guys.