EP008: The Heart Behind The Needle

EP008: The Heart Behind The Needle

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Episode Highlights:

0:18 - Getting to know Shayna
1:17 - How did moving to Oregon go?
6:59 - “I am just so starved to help somebody like, let me see what I can do to help.” Jessica
12:45 - How to use PPE correctly?
18:23 - Shayna’s tips when going for a grocery
22:29 - How’s Shayna’s flow in a studio?
27:03 - “To feel more like themselves you actually have to start to move them in order to help them be themselves.” - Jessica
27:33 - Piercing is spiritual
29:31- “I remember when I got mind on these insecurities and the feeling that just two little barbells can make you feel so much better about yourself.” - Shayna
31:06 - “That smile that I see every single time someone leaves that room tells me that even if it hurts, it's worth it.” - Jessica
37:59 - How has been learning from other piercers?
40:34 - "I just want to be a sponge and travel and meet everybody and be right over their shoulder for a day”- Shayna
41:20 - “I realized more and more just how much I live and breathe piercing” - Shayna
45:36 - “It's nice to go to a job where you're liked for who you are” - Jessica


"I didn't realize how much I rely on client interaction. They're like, hey, you pierced me or I got pierced after you left." - Shayna



Getting to know Shayna
Jessica: Hello friends, today we have the wonderful Shayna also known as @piercings_by_twiggy on Instagram. I got to meet you in person actually the week before lockdown and we were talking about having you come into the studio for a while, which is now postponed because the world is on a pause. But yeah, it's been a whirlwind since then, how are you today?

Source: Shayna Benedict @piercings_by_twiggy

Shayna: I'm good, I'm good. We're both just f*cking awkward.

Jessica: I am awkward. It's weird when you get rid of that like kind of went through a screen and it's not in person. It just almost it's audit first and then it gets better later.

Shayna: Yeah, I just like keep remembering like that we sat in the office for like, God knows how long with my roommates waiting in the parking lot like "Where is she?"

Jessica: You're like "I gotta go," and I am just "Okay, [inaudible 1:08-1:10]"

Shayna: That's the first time that I came in.

Jessica: You just moved to Oregon though.

Shayna: Yeah, yeah.

Jessica: That's awesome. Like in the middle of a pandemic. How'd that go?

How did moving to Oregon go?
Shayna: Well, I was visiting that week that I came and saw you and then I decided to stay here for another week because I wasn't exactly a fan of getting on a plane with everything happening so I wanted to give it like a week to see where things where.

Jessica: So it was getting on the plane was scary. So you're waiting for everything kind of to calm down and then it didn't. And that's -

Shayna: Yeah. I honestly started getting worried about state borders closing down. I wasn't sure what the like plan was for all of that. And my plans been to move out here for a while. I was gonna like May was my date.

Jessica: Yeah.

Shayna: With everything happening, I'm like, I'm just gonna go get my stuff real quick and then come back here while I still can.

Jessica: Awesome.

Shayna: Because either way, we're all having to kind of like start over and I really didn't want to wait for everything to blow over in Colorado --- like get back into working save up just to like move out here when I could just move out here and then do my start over once.

Jessica: Yeah.

Shayna: So that made the most sense to me.

Jessica: Yeah, that totally makes sense. I would do the same thing. I mean, we're gonna move anyways.

Shayna: Yeah, that was the that was the plan. I just didn't realize how soon.

Jessica: I saw your Facebook post moved to Oregon. I was like, oh my gosh.

Shayna: Yeah. I wasn't playing around. I like---I got on the plane, which there were---so I had a layover in Sacramento and my flight from Portland to Sacramento, there was like 30 people and then from Sacramento to Denver, there were six people on my flight---six.

Jessica: The social distance was six. I mean, that's precisely fine.

Shayna: Yeah.

Shayna: I got one of those seats with like all the legroom. I was super happy my like 5'10 person was like-

Jessica: You are pretty tall.

Shayna: Yeah. Planes are---it was like my third flight, third or fourth flight ever so I took my flight got to Fort Collins packed all my things in like a day and a half in my Prius like my Prius was chock full of just shit and I made it up here. I think I might fly, it was Tuesday, Monday or Tuesday, and I was back here on like, Thursday/Friday.

Jessica: I'm impressed. So I know we talked about a lot of this before, but I think our audience would be really interested especially since you're thinking about coming to guest for us. So why did you choose Oregon?

Shayna: I wanted a fresh start. I've needed kind of like just a clean slate for a minute, and Oregon was a nice happy medium because I already have a lot of people out here that I know and it's still a new location. So I was kind of able to ease into this fresh start. My roommates, they are from Fort Collins too. My roommate Cherish---they actually work over on a dorm, but they're from Fort Collins. So -

Jessica: Very cool.

Shayna: Yeah, like our whole little pack is slowly moving out here.

Jessica: That's awesome.

Shayna: Yeah, Cherish had a sit-down talk with me in like November or December and they're like, you're not happy. Why don't you just move like come visit? I promise you're not going to want to go back and I believe them and I so far. I mean, with quarantine, it's not like I've gotten to explore that much, but -

Jessica: You like the view from the window.

Shayna: Yeah, it's great.

Jessica: The parks up until they closed.

Jessica: This was like when we first went into like the soft lockdown or whatever. I was like, we can go on hikes. I was telling my cousin, like, we'll go on hikes in the morning and it'll be great and like, the next day: stop going to the beach -

Shayna: Yeah.

Jessica: Don't go to the parks and I was like, well, what am I supposed to do then? I can't watch Grey's Anatomy that many times in a week, you know, like-

Shayna: Yeah. And it's one of those like, I don't know if you've been a part of any of the like classes that have been going on for piercing. There's been a lot of online classes on the Zoom, and it's super bittersweet because, on one hand, it's exciting to still be able to do something work-related during all of this, but the call or the like, Zoom conference ends, and there's this like, is it is it done yet? Are we there yet? Like -

Jessica: Yeah.

Shayna: But I know all of us are kind of struggling together. So -

Jessica: Yeah. I hear you, I'm going in the studio a few times a week to send out orders and every time I go in, I'm like, you know, I'm in the piercing room, and I'm using the sad room and I'm like, you know, looking at all the equipment and I'm like, I want to interact with a human being so bad. So someone calls with a piercing issue. I'm automatically like, Oh, can you send me a picture of your issued piercing? Like, what have you tried, like, Oh, well, like have you tried this? So you want to hop on a Zoom call. I'll help you in person.

Shayna: Yeah.


“I am just so starved to help somebody like, let me see what I can do to help.”-Jessica


Jessica: I am just so starved to help somebody that I'm like, yeah, let me see, like, let me see what I can do to help. It's been kind of cool to be able to do more of the customer care stuff then I think there was time for before. So like, at least there's that. But-

Shayna: Yeah.

Jessica: I miss the transformation part.

Shayna: I didn't realize how much I rely on that customer or like client interaction. I've had a couple of people messaged me from Fort Collins, they're like, hey, you pierced me or I got pierced after you left. And this is happening. And I'm like, hiii~

Jessica: Right? Stop crying like, Oh you called?

Shayna: Yeah, it's---but yeah, cause it's like you develop such a relationship with your clients. I feel like if you're doing things right like they're your friend almost like they're your work friend and not being able to have that interaction is more detrimental than I think I was prepared for. But here we are.

Jessica: Yeah, I agree entirely. I didn't. You know, being a manager, I don't get to be out on the floor very often, but when I do, I'm the happiest.

Shayna: Yeah.

Jessica: Happiest I ever am because I love talking to the customers and I didn't even realize that as much as I felt like I wasn't on the floor, I missed it so much when it went completely away.

Shayna: Yeah.

Jessica: Yeah, it's like that. Just like I have such a deep desire for someone to come in so I can help them like so much of a desire.

Shayna: Yeah.

Jessica: I never even realized that was probably I think what I like most about the whole thing.

Shayna: People.

Jessica: Yeah.

Shayna: I always try to put on this facade like I'm an introvert. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.

Jessica: Right?

Shayna: But no, I f*cking I just want to talk to people. I just want to like, put pretty things in them and just ask them about their day and then tell me about like, whatever the heck they're getting pierced for like-

Jessica: Like straight up. Yeah, I was like I've also always thought I was an introvert. Well, I thought it was like ambivalent, you know, the one who's exactly in the middle but no, I'm pretty sure like more extroverted. I've never talked to myself so much than I have recently---like my animals, they know everything about me now. Like I just talk to them like people and they're like, oh my gosh stop talking to me.

Shayna: Yeah, I'm starting to get to know like, what my internal voice sounds like. Because I'm just like talking to myself. When I was, oh my god, I was when I was driving here from Colorado. I stopped at a gas station like right at the border and I was putting oil in the Prius and I forgot what. I was like scolding myself for something and this woman is like, she works at the gas station and she's walking in and we just make eye contact. Don't worry about me, I'm just talking to myself, it's fine.

Jessica: [inaudible 10:20] like it's okay.

Shayna: It's great. Everything's fine.

Jessica: I'm like joking with random, like sales. Like, I'll go to the gas station before the Oregonians got to start pumping their own gas, which has been the funniest thing in the world to see. As I went to Fred Meyer and there's like a line of people and they're like getting out of their car and they're like---looking at their car like---and then they look at like the gas attendant, and they're like --- I don't know. And then I hold it and they're like, I don't know what to do with this like at all.

Shayna: Yeah. I was like, super excited to not have to pump my own gas and then like everything happened and I've been pumping my own gas but yeah, watching other people just like holding this gas pump like what? what is this?

Jessica: Right? What is this? I'm still not really sure how much of the difference us pumping our own gas makes for the pandemic. I feel like it causes an issue because now everyone's touching the gas pumps but-

Shayna: Yeah, no, I think it makes it worse if anything ---fine. Yeah.

Jessica: Okay, I don't gas that often. I shouldn't be. You know, maybe it's because we shouldn't be leaving our house. No one has to touch the gas pump if no one leaves their house. That was just them telling you know the world telling us Okay, enough about gas.

Shayna: Yeah. Well, I mean, honestly, we're supposed to be staying in the house so we shouldn't be needing to go get gas anyway, but-

Jessica: Exactly. I was like, maybe that's you know, we wouldn't have to touch the gas pump if we didn't leave.

Shayna: Yeah. Like you want to leave, pump---touch the gas pump.

Jessica: That's your punishment.

Shayna: Yeah, that's what you get.

Jessica: You ruin everyone else who's leaving.

Shayna: Right? Well, like then those people who still are working or having to touch it and then what if like some---Yeah. This way.

Jessica: I know like my inner like OCD is like oh no, that's a mistake.

Shayna: Yeah, well I guess---I'm sure there's people using gloves to pump their gas just like those people using gloves to the grocery store but they're not using the gloves correctly. So it's just like the whole thing. It's just---

How to use PPE correctly?
Jessica: Which actually I was thinking, it would be really great because I know that we probably have audience members who know that gloves are a good idea but they don't necessarily know correct PPE. If you want to just touch on that a little bit for our audience so they could maybe use the gloves that they have a little bit more safely.

Shayna: Well, I think---first of all, we shouldn't be going out any more than we need to be. But people realizing that when you put your gloves on and then you're touching like your phone with your gloves on and then you're touching the produce, your cross-contamination, so whatever you were touching with your bare hand with your phone, that you're now touching with your glove, you're getting that on your glove. Now that's on the produce that you just touched. It's trying to like, kind of figure out a way that's going to be more condensed. And like I feel like if there's like a there should be a full-on video made to kind of help people and maybe demonstrate that.

Jessica: Great idea.

Shayna: Yeah. There's so many ways that people are learning. I think having like a list put out, like something that they can see and then someone talking about it and then someone who is visually showing them that way all types of learners can kind of absorb that knowledge.

Jessica: Yeah, that's a great idea. That's actually I was thinking that too because me using gloves free my PPE course might like my bloodborne pathogens course versus me using gloves after [inaudible 14:30] person.

Shayna: Yeah.

Jessica: Yeah

Shayna: Like, I did that guest spot over at Brand X and they use sterile gloves. And getting to kind of like, incorporate that and learn how to use that in my setup was like---whoaaa

Jessica: Yeah, we have some sterile gloves. They're kind of cool.

Shayna: I love them so much.

Jessica: Yeah, it's something about putting on clean gloves that just really nice. Yeah.

Shayna: Have you noticed all like the gloves that are like in parking lots? And---

Jessica: Yeah, so I think just for the purpose of this video, then anyone who's listening is curious as the best way to go about until we release a full video actually explaining all of this a little bit easier would be to change your gloves after every time you touch something. And then at least you touch your person so you can get more nuanced from there, but that'll be the first step for a little bit more safety as if you're going to touch something you don't touch your glasses. You don't touch your face, you don't touch your hair. That's actually why the CDC is recommending masks. It's not from transmission of germs. It's because people are touching things and then touching their face. So by covering your face, your risk, your release, kind of like decreasing the chance of really getting those germs up in the target zones. And then by changing your gloves between your personal and what you're picking out will do wonders. And then the correct way to change your glove is from the inside.

Shayna: Let me --- I actually have a glove. I use resin and I have one glove.

Jessica: Oh, perfect. Yeah, let's use gloves.

Shayna: Yeah, because I've just been using it like stir resonance stuff. So I'm just gonna keep reusing it but I'm not using it for like me.

Shayna: All right, glove on. finger underneath the lip.

Jessica: Perfect. Exactly and that will help us greatly and then one of the perks of grocery stores is, even if they don't have the PURELL wipes still in stock, they do have that trash receptacle there. And so just drop your glove in when before you leave the store and then if you are lucky enough to have any hand sanitizer in your purse, pop it on your hands before the car keys.

Shayna: Remember when I showed you my hand sanitizer when I came to visit and you're like, I think it was you that was like-

Jessica: Yes.

Shayna: Can you keep that in there? like-

Jessica: Someone's gonna take your hand sanitizer. They will sell it again at the grocery store. I was like, yes, I bought one bottle because I'm not going to hoard it. I'm going to save it for everybody else. And I'm making Shawn take it to work with him because he's still he's considered essential because he is a food service.

Shayna: Okay.

Jessica: I'm like, just use it, please.

Shayna: Yeah.

Shayna: I am glad that I've been able to keep as many businesses open as they have. I went to the pet store the other day, and they had it set up so that you could you went to the like door, and then you told them what you wanted. And then they brought it to you and everything because I mean, so many businesses are struggling right now. But yeah.

Jessica: Don't litter. Keep working green.

Shayna’s tips when going for a grocery
Shayna: Yeah, well, and I think also like, be making a list before you go and knowing what you're getting and not like picking everything up and looking at it and then putting it back down and picking something else. Knowing what you're going to get grab your box, put it in your cart, call it good. Because the last were touching everything the better.

Jessica: Yeah, I think it's, you know, it comes down to obviously you can't 100% eliminate any risk, but anything you can do will do wonders for the chances of you contracting what's going on right now.

Shayna: Yeah, well, there's also there's a lot of videos that go over, setting up a clean and dirty side in your kitchen and being able to clean off your groceries. I thought that was super cool. At least the video that I saw.

Jessica: Yeah, that's super cool. Would you send that to me? I love to shout out people.

Shayna: Yeah.

Jessica: Also it's kind of cool to see everything that you know we practice in the studio out in real life. It's a great way to keep up on it and so that when we do go in the studio, we're in practice for good hygiene habits.

Shayna: I've trained for this my whole life.

Jessica: I feel like [inaudible 19:39] happens like yes, I've been ready for this like since day one. Past almost year of my life, I've been training for you know, keeping everything sterile.

Shayna: Yeah. I think it almost makes it hurt more though when you're like when you do see people because they're trying to find a way to kind of like be like, hey, maybe do this instead, can be taken the wrong way.

Jessica: Yeah. No, I agree. I saw a gentleman at store last week, and he had his gloves on and I was like, sweet and then I was watching him and he was on his phone the whole time and all I could think was like, Oh, no, I know you're trying to be careful but the general public doesn't have the same training, so they don't really understand and I was too afraid to say anything to him.

Shayna: And how do you word it too, because that's like some feedback that I've gotten before is that sometimes I can be a little bit too wordy, and it can come out as kind of aggressive and so finding a way to communicate that without it being taken as like an attack.

Jessica: Yeah. No, I totally understand that too. It's like a no one wants---you know, your heart's not to like, criticize, but you want to help and yeah, I definitely have a hard time with that sometimes too like, Oh, that's why I didn't say anything. I was like, I don't know what to do about this so much. It is like, I don't know but I guess we've gotten sidetracked. So I'll get us back.... Okay, what's going on?

Shayna: Every time that we talk like---

Jessica: I know, I like to doo-doo-doo

Shayna: Love it.

Jessica: So, I guess let's say, kind of rewind a little bit. So you moved to Oregon. We learned why you thought about Oregon so what I really loved when you first came in, is I asked you what your work style and at first you're like, what do you mean? And I realized it sounds like a job interview, which kind of was but I was like, I just wanted to get to know you a little bit better and what you said was just resonated with me a lot and it's what made me know that you were just going to be a perfect fit in our studio and I think that our guests will really like to hear it so you wanted to touch in on that again, you know, your work style and how you like to engage with customers and what that whole process means to you personally.

How’s Shayna’s flow in a studio?

Shayna: Yeah, because I remember you asked me, like how I kind of flow in a studio and I think I like the studio that I started at, there wasn't a like front desk or counter staff or anything so you're like greeter, you do everything and so I like you go out there and you get them started on paperwork and you set up and you help them pick out jewelry, you do everything and I ---so when you asked me that, I was like, take like thrown off because I feel like that's part of what creates that bond between a piercer and a client is because you're the one helping them pick out what's going to look great in that conch piercing or that whatever piercings they're getting, and you're getting hyped up with them and, like, they'll pick a piece of jewelry that you really like, and you're like, Oh my god, I can't wait to put this and you're like, freaking out, and then they're getting excited because you're excited and it just, it makes the experience a lot better in my opinion. But being able to observe studios that do have counter staff, I think that's kind of a cool thing for those staff members to do. I've like seen a girl talk to a client about like, all the different pieces of BVLA and knowing like, precisely what name of each stone in each setting, and I'm like what?! That's something I definitely need to learn.

Source: Shayna Benedict @piercings_by_twiggy

Shayna: But being able to form that relationship with the client, because you're having such an intimate interaction with them. It's important.

Jessica: Yeah, I just liked what you said because it was, like how you worded it. It was like, well, they're like my best friends and I was like -

Shayna: Yeah.

Jessica: That is so true like, I have customers that come in and I think about them sometimes daily and I'm like, Oh, I wonder how they're doing. They come in and they share, you know, cause some piercings, especially, you know, some, like genital piercings and things like that have so much emotional---I don't want to say baggage because it's not quite baggage. It's emotional like, connection, I guess, to the process and a lot of it comes from past trauma or it can come from, you know, becoming who you are now and like a personal transformation and so, you know, being able to be a part of that process and then hearing their stories and just feeling like so touched and trusted.

Shayna: Yeah.

Jessica: I think about them all the time. I'm like in quarantine wondering about them like, Oh, I hope they're okay like, you know, I hope they're, you know, you get to know their mental health you get to know, so many intimate details about this person that was a stranger two minutes ago, you know.

Shayna: Well, I think that's like, the part that I love about it so much is it's like, it's such a quick thing to happen. They come in and then they're in your chair, and suddenly, you know so much about them, rather than like a person you meet at a bar or something where it takes time to kind of develop that trust. This person's already got that trust, they're letting you stick a needle through their body. But even with like non-intimate piercings, the things that come with that I think I told you then I had a client that came in and they were possibly going to be going through a divorce and they would just sit in my chair for like 20 minutes before we even started cleaning them off and we would just talk and I didn't really know this person before then, but they trusted me to be able to come in and talk to me and word at me and work through it and then get the piercing that's gonna make them feel better.

Jessica: Yeah, it's almost like I'm not a piercer but I have been what I like to call myself a professional third wheel because I'm not the piercer and I'm not the person getting pierced but I've definitely held some hands like you know.

Shayna: Yeah.

Jessica: It's just it's really cool thing to be a part of, I don't know, I don't---you worked in food service and so if I and I--- you do get to know people that way and but it's nothing compared to convincing someone to alter their body -

Shayna: Yeah.

“To feel more like themselves you actually have to start to move them in order to help them be themselves.” - Jessica


Jessica: - to feel more like themselves you actually have to start to move them in order to help them be themselves.

Piercing is spiritual.
Shayna: Yeah something that Cherish and I were talking about the other day is how much of a ritual piercing is, whether you see it as one or not because it's you're getting ready to do this piercing and you're breathing with this person, you're counting with this person you are having such a different level of communication during this experience and in my opinion, I view it as a ritual whether it's spiritual or not.

Source: Shayna Benedict @piercings_by_twiggy

Jessica: Yeah, no, I agree entirely and I think I would go as far as to say that you know, every transformation is spiritual on some level whether it is like a full-on like spiritual experience or it's just you know, I want to get my nose pierced today because my friend got their nose pierced. You know, I've been talking to some other people during these interviews and what the consensus has been from every single one like customers, non-customers, artists, it's been really interesting is anyone who's been modified is until they made those decisions for themselves in some way, they weren't able to do other things. So like artists had artists block, and they couldn't really create until they had dyed their hair or gotten their tattoos or anything like that, because it was like, you can't be yourself until you become yourself. And I feel like even with something as small as like, Oh, well, I'm 12 and my friend got her nose pierced and now I really want one and, you know, it's that first step in being like, you know, like a pre-teen or like a teen, like, you know, being like, I see this definition of beauty and I know my own insecurities, and I know that I think that's beautiful, and that's what I want to be. And even if it's not even fully comprehended in you know in a teenager's minds, that is interesting thing to see and then to talk to you know talk to these people who did those are pierced themselves when they're younger and to ask, I know it's like taboo but you know to ask why would you do that? You know, and then have them tell me and I'm like, that totally makes sense.


“I remember when I got mind on these insecurities and the feeling that just two little barbells can make you feel so much better about yourself.” - Shayna


Shayna: Yeah. I think I brought it up to you when I came in, but nipple piercings. I think they're so cool because of that. I mean, I remember that's like part of when why I got mind on these insecurities and the feeling that just two little barbells can give you as far as like, just making you feel so much better about yourself. Nobody else can see them but I'm walking around like I'm hot shit, like, you're saying that made me finally accept a part of my body that I like struggled with really badly.

Jessica: Yeah, I see that on so many women especially, or, you know, female-identified so many faces when they go in that room to get their nipples pierced and they're like, afraid and kind of like, you know, you can see them like in their shell, and then they come out and they're like, I'm a goddess, you know, it's like an institution for me...

Shayna: They look in the mirror and they're like---ooh

Jessica: They're like, I know what I'm doing like look at me like obviously you can't see it but like that just level of like joy and like, just like confidence, like just light beams off of them and you can see it every single time you see them again.

Shayna: Oh yeah.

Jessica: Like, in like three years and they might now they even have them anymore only have one and they're still being there like I fully accepted a part of my body that society has so many opinions on.

Shayna: Yeah. It's like God forbid you have two smaller boobs, two bigger boobs, medium normal boobs like how dare you?


“That smile that I see every single time someone leaves that room tells me that even if it hurts, it's worth it.” - Jessica


Jessica: It's amazing so every time someone comes in, they asked me like, does it hurt? And I was like, Well, you know, I can't speak for myself. I'm like, but that smile that I see every single time someone leaves that room tells me that even if it hurts, it's worth it. And usually--

Shayna: Oh yeah. I live for that face. Like ---

Source: Shayna Benedict @piercings_by_twiggy

Jessica: Right? I'm like I go in the room and I'm like waiting and like, are we done yet?

Shayna: Cheese. Let me see your cheesy smile.

Jessica: Right? Like, let me see you be mean, Oh, it's such a great experience.

Shayna: Yeah, well, and I think that's where like, being the piercer getting to facilitate that is just so cool and you get to be a part of that experience and they remember you, like, I have made so many clients that all go out to the grocery store, I'll go out for a drink and they run up to me and they're like, Oh my god, you remember me you pierced me. I love it. I love it because that's where that kind of like friendship thing comes in and we made this relationship in that room and now like, we're bonded in a way.

Source: Shayna Benedict @piercings_by_twiggy

Jessica: It's true. It's like a---yeah, there's nothing like it. I mean, I'm going to be interviewing some hairstylist because I'm really curious to see if like other body modification and practitioners experienced similar things within different areas. But ---

Shayna: Yeah.

Jessica: I like it's I've never seen anything like it. It's just such an amazing thing to be a part of. Yeah, it's just super unique. I guess before I you know, let you go and enjoy the sunshine because we got to enjoy it while we have it, even if we're inside.

Shayna: Yeah.

Jessica: Since you are a piercer and you're thinking about, you know what you would be doing as soon as quarantines over, what piercing are you most excited to do and have you thought about what jewelry you would put into it?

Shayna: Oh, I think my favorites always just segment cool nostril piercings, I love doing them and I've been obsessed with all these related pieces of jewelry I've been seeing. There's the bees from BVLA, and they've also got their little honeycombs and then as cheesy as it is, I keep seeing Oregon sunstone circulating and I'm like, oh, cool.

Jessica: That's so beautiful.

Shayna: But yeah, yeah, no, I keep sending pieces of jewelry to friends like what? Oh, what about this one? what about this one?

Shayna: Yeah, I've seen so many cool pieces. Everyone's trying to like post now that we're under quarantine. Make sure everyone sees their jewelry before we get back into it. But-

Jessica: Yeah.

Shayna: What got you into all of this? In the industry?

Jessica: I actually--- I was---so my first experience with was really like my first real experience was actually at Avanti.

Shayna: Okay.

Jessica: I was a customer and I had been shopping at the mall for a T-shirt for work, and I could not find one anywhere and I was like, oh, there's a fine jewelry store, and it's elegant. Let me go in and I was talking to the piercer there. I believe her name was Erica and they were talking to me about just the different jewelry and it's like, do you know anywhere I could go to get pierced so I could actually wear this jewelry and they're like, Oh, well, we could pierce you. I'm like, like right now. Like, yeah, so I was like, sweet, I'm down and so I got my septum pierced and for me, that was a huge transformative piercing because it was taboo in my family and it was taboo in all the relationships I'd had up until that point.

Shayna: Oh, yeah.

Jessica: Right. And it's like such a polarizing one and I was in a pretty emotionally abusive relationship with this guy and he would---I know shocker, right? Like anything that usually leads to big like traumatic, like dramatic face piercing that usually has to do with some sort of relationship baggage. But I was like I think it was one of the first things to be like no like I'm done with him and I'm done with feeling that way and so I got my septum pierced in. After that I was like obsessed, and then Avanti posted a job posting and it was all I could think about was this opportunity to work at the shop where I had started to feel like myself for the first time really ever and when I started working there like I couldn't get enough of it like I want I like even though the piercing Bible is outdated like I read it. I was like talking to people and I was just like literally soaking up as much information as I could like any guests piercers that I come in, I like ask them a bunch of questions and I would try to practice my sizing and I would always guess the sizes first and then see what the piercer said and then we like had a piercing chart for like all the recommended sizes and I would just study it and yeah like I dove in. I just became absolutely obsessed and you know, I think that what kept me going is very much the same thing that kept you going and kept you like, wanting to dive in and that was just the connection with people and when they come in looking like how I did when I first came in, and then when they leave feeling like how I feel now, it's just being able to do that for someone else. I know how much it means for me and how much it meant to have that happen to me that yeah, you know, it's all I want to do.

Shayna: I got lucky because my mentors, I kind of had to because Shane back in Fort Collins, he was my like main mentor, and then Jojo, they both are best friends. They both taught me throughout my apprenticeship, but Shane pierced me since I was like 13 or 14 and so then when he started teaching me how to pierced so it was this whole new bonding experience because I had been coming to him since I was a little, like, terrible team.

Jessica: Oh, that's awesome.

Shayna: My mom and dad, he's like, I get to just be right on his shoulder like what are you doing? What'd you do? What'd you do? Why'd you do that? How do you do that?

Jessica: Right?

Shayna: Yeah. And then I mean, Jojo and Shane have very different piercing styles and so I got lucky and kind of having two mentors and getting to learn how both of them do it and kind of form my own way of doing things that's like a mesh of these two men.

Jessica: That's awesome.

Jessica: So as you've been I know, I said that was my last question, but apparently it's not. You've been guesting right?

Shayna: Yeah.

Jessica: So how has been learning from other piercers beyond those two? How has that shaped you now?

How has been learning from other piercers?
Shayna: It's, it's Oh my gosh. You just opened up a can of excitement worms.

Jessica: Excited.

Shayna: So Brand X was my first Guest spot ever and it was yeah, it was terrifying because, so Ryan Ouellette had just done a podcast that went over, Guest spotting and he interviewed Brook Britons and they were talking about like, yeah, start by guesting, like in your town or in your state and I'm like- I am going to Washington.

Jessica: [inaudible 38:52]

Shayna: Yeah, no, I was absolutely terrified and that first day was like it was scary. And then the second day, I was hanging out with Alexander that works there and I was doing the same thing. I was like, over his shoulder, like, what are you doing? How'd you do that? And we were talking about septum piercings and how he does them, which is just like super clunky and awesome and he was watching me piercing kind of giving me feedback and I got to learn so much while I was there, from both him and Brian. They're both really awesome people. I really want to go back at some point and hang out with them some more. But being able to talk to them, and then come back to my mentors and be like, Hey, here's this thing. That's really cool. Like, what about this? Or Denise powers over, Inksmith, she's in Colorado. She's been huge in my growth as a piercer. I reached out to Piercer Babes and I was like, Hey, who can I come shadow? And she said, message me and I started going there like once a month. I didn't get to go there too many times, but she's been, she's like taking me in under her wing and so I can call her me like, I'm freaking out about this thing. I think before I came to see you, I was like, what would I do? what would I say?

Source: Shayna Benedict @piercings_by_twiggy

Shayna: Being able to see all these different piercers techniques and why they do them and picking their brains, and then being able to take those and, like, get a friend or something into the shop so I can try that out and understanding why they do it. It's ---

Jessica: That so cool.


“I just want to be a sponge and travel and meet everybody and be right over their shoulder for a day”- Shayna


Shayna: I just want to be a sponge and travel and meet everybody and be right over their shoulder for a day.

Jessica: I hear you like the longer I've been, like working in this industry. The more I'm like now I want to pierce. Like I just seen everybody come in and they, they do it and they have so much joy and I've also just intrigued in the process. Like it's just so interesting and there's so many different opinions and so many ways of doing things.

Shayna: Yeah.

Jessica: So cool.


“I realized more and more just how much I live and breathe piercing” - Shayna


Shayna: Yeah, I didn't realize how much I loved piercing until I was like, a little bit into my apprenticeship. I want to say once I was like after the hanging out stage where they knew that I was gonna hang like actually stay. I realized more and more just how much I live and breathe piercing. It's just it's not a job. It's a lifestyle and that's something that Shane taught me from the beginning.

Jessica: Yeah, I mean, it's gone as far as even though I'm not a piercer, I see people's ears and imagine how I would decorate it.

Shayna: Oh, yeah.

Jessica: Like random people. I'm like, Oh, they don't I watch TV, and I am like they couldn't do it in an industrial, they could do an industrial, they couldn't, they could.

Shayna: Yeah, there. I was at a bar in Fort Collins and I saw this person that had enough room for like a double Industrial, I was like you have so much ear. Yes.

Jessica: Because I seen it as I compliment people's ears now I tell them, they have cute ears and they always are like, Oh. It's never like, Oh, I like your outfit. I was like, Oh, your ears are so cute.

Shayna: Like, you can compliment someone's jewelry and it's totally fine but as soon as you're like, Hey, I love your ears, that's a nice conch. Like who are you?

Source: Shayna Benedict @piercings_by_twiggy

Jessica: Right? I have a friend who almost looks like she has a double lobe because it's split right here. I grabbed her ear and I was like, can I get a second piercing do you think and I grabbed I was like, Can I just tell you what I would do with your ear? And she's like....yes.

Shayna: I love it. I love it. Yeah, it's you get that where you're like, you see what piercings would look cool on people and it's so hard not to make all your interactions with people in your life about piercing. I was telling someone about the fact that like, going out to get a drink or whatever isn't any more about like genuine making, like not just to meet people, it's to like, make clients and make friends around piercing like everything is like everything's piercing.

Jessica: Everything's piercing it totally is. It's always I like see people or hear them talk about like, Oh, I'm just not feeling myself or Oh, I just you know, went through this and it sucks and like, I know what would help.

Source: Shayna Benedict @piercings_by_twiggy

Shayna: Yeah.

Jessica: [inaudible 43:43] piercing.

Shayna: Yeah.

Jessica: You know like, I'm like, helping you out here.

Shayna: Yep, no, sometimes you got to like pull the leash back and be like, okay, just make a friend for once.

Jessica: [inaudible 43:59 - 44:01]

Jessica: Like stop, peer pressuring your friends.

Shayna: Yes.

Jessica: Because they're also like the secondary thing is like new friends and then old friends. I'm always like, what we doing today? you come into the studio? or if we do a buy one get one down like Buy One Get One day you could also bring another friend and then you guys could come hang out with me piercings.

Shayna: Yup.

Jessica: What about like, selling piercings. It's about the actual thing.

Shayna: Yeah. I mean, I'll have clients that where the shop I was that was located. It was a hop skipping away from everything and so I'd have clients just like, pop in the door be like, hey, and sit down for 15-20 minutes. But just hanging out and I'm like, Yes. or we talk about -

Shayna: Yeah, they'll talk about like, what they're going to get next or something but I love people.

Jessica: We have one customer who comes in. I think it's under the guise of buying something. I really think she just wants to hang out with us and I'm always like, oh, hey how you doing?

Shayna: Yeah. Well, it becomes a safe space for people. I feel like--

Jessica: Yeah, like it's a spot where everyone's accepted exactly for who they are. So I think that's probably one of the things about why it's so addicting.

Shayna: Yeah.


“It's nice to go to a job where you're liked for who you are” - Jessica


Jessica: That's why I like going to work. It's nice to go to a job where you're liked for who you are.

Shayna: Oh, yeah, not having to worry about blank. Like right now I've been thinking about what to do until this is over and I applied it both the grocery stores around here, and I'm sitting here like, Okay, what am I gonna have to take out in order to be able to work during all of this because there's all that you got to look a certain way you have to be approachable and---

Jessica: We are lucky with Oregon that a lot of places are okay with it.

Shayna: Yeah.

Jessica: Yeah, you actually might be surprised.

Shayna: Good to know. I love my bridge piercing but I know if I take it out, it's like it's a goner. And I'm like, I don't want [inaudible 46:16] it.

Jessica: I check out a coffee shop.

Shayna: Okay.

Jessica: Like the drive-throughs. I would ask them questions about how they're doing they're distancing because sometimes it's a little too cramped to fit more than one person at a time.

Shayna: Yeah.

Jessica: I worked at Black Rock. I could have any person I wanted.

Shayna: Good to know.

Jessica: Restaurants or a little whatever. But -

Shayna: Yeah. Anything, honestly to get through this though?

Jessica: Yeah.

Shayna: Yeah. I'm really glad that you're able to still go into the shop and, like, take orders and get them ready and everything because at least it's keeping you active and I feel like a lot of people it's easy to just kind of, I'm gonna stay in bed all day or?

Jessica: Yeah. No, and I mean for a little bit, when we didn't really know what was going to happen with the store, it was a lot of that was like, What do you do? Like, you know, you wake up and you don't know what day it is. And ---

Shayna: Oh god though.

Jessica: Right your whole entire day or at least for mine was like, I got up and I would just eat all day, and like sleep all day and it sounds fun, but it wasn't.

Shayna: Yeah, I have been I've been getting better about not buying snacks at the grocery store because I will fly through them.

Jessica: I ate three boxes of donuts.

Shayna: You what?

Jessica: I ate three boxes of donuts. Once a week since the shutdown.

Shayna: It's fine.

Wrapping it all up
Jessica: It's okay. I'm just going to end this really quick do a quick outro and then I'll keep talking to you. So thank you so much, Shayna, for your time. It's been great getting to catch up and I'm really looking forward to having you in the studio when we're finally up and running.

Shayna: Thank you for having me. It's been fun being derailed in conversations.I'm excited for this to be over so I can come physically hang out in the shop and be back in all of this.

Jessica: Yes, me too.

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