I'm Jade the Piercer and owner of Jade Alexandra Piercing and this is my humble journey!
I was born in December and as such, a thoroughly inquisitive and knowledge-seeking Sagittarius I indeed am. I have always lived locally in Durham and I am proud to continue to be a part of and to serve our community in providing safe body adornment to the area.
I began my career in 2010, I apprenticed under Lee from LLCooltatts initially as an aspiring tattoo artist, I had always been artistic and creative and Lee gave me an opportunity I am still so thankful for today. I didn't become a Tattooist in the end but it was how I got my "foot through the door" into this industry.
I was at the time quite young with no family or network of support and back then apprenticeships did not pay anything, so I found myself trying to pursue an industry I was inspired by whilst also being in financial difficulties and hardships trying to run a home on my own and support myself. Due to my circumstances at the time, I had been lucky to have support from a local support worker named Bert Moutter, from a charity known as DISC. I expressed to him that I wanted to learn body piercing, something I could do additionally to my apprenticeship as a means to generate a self-sustainable income. Bert helped me apply for a grant with another charity (BUTTLE UK) to access funds for a course. - it is super important to me to give credit and remember how important these charities and wonderful volunteers are and to humbly most of all, not lose sight of where I started!
In 2011 I enrolled on an above-the-waist body piercing "course". The course was over four days. The first piercing I ever did was a tongue and I was terrified, I had not been shown how to mark or pierce it, just thrown into it and told to aim for the mark. That was my so-called training.
"Naïve and brains brand new"
Equipped with a so-called piercing kit, I had been led to believe that after completion of my so-called "course" I had been given all the tools and knowledge needed to start a career in piercing, misled that a certificate and a not even "entry-level" piercing kit meant I knew what I was doing and oh boy was I wrong. Today I would strongly advocate that anyone wanting to become a piercer, seek an apprenticeship with a reputable, properly educated mentor and avoid piercing courses like the plague! I honestly had no idea what I was really doing and I had to completely learn everything from scratch, as what little I had learnt in the course was incredibly outdated, basic and completely insufficient. I have basically self-taught myself everything I now know today - The hard way. I now know that piercing courses are just another person's idea of a ''get-rich-quick'' scheme and the certificate I was given is not even worth the paper it is printed on. Not only that it is/was irresponsible, unethical and bad practice to take money from people like myself who did not/do not know any better and to then let them loose on the public to be a danger to themselves and others. Piercing should be taken seriously because it is breaking the skin barrier and proper education is absolutely crucial, particularly where it concerns sterilisation and cross-contamination. I share transparently where I started because unfortunately, not much has changed since then and piercing is still an unregulated industry and most training out there is just as insufficient. The reality is someone can have a license to pierce and not know what a bloodborne pathogen is, this is why it is so important to make sure you research your piercer for your own safety.
Over the years I worked in numerous studios, and in each of them, I learnt valuable lessons, not only as a piercer but in business too.
From 2014 to 2017 I worked in a busy city centre studio, it was around then that I really started to become aware of the importance of often overlooked aspects in piercing and I began a process of realising that these were the things I needed to change and educate myself on properly, such as the importance of jewellery materials, realising the UK is saturated with unverifiable and poor quality jewellery, I had to learn about jewellery surface polish, how that affects and contributes to healing, then to gain proper knowledge of wound care, healing stages, healing complications etc - Piercing is not as simple as most perceive. Poking a hole and inserting jewellery is just a small part of the bigger picture. I began to evolve how I did piercings and procedures, educated myself on asepsis and how to maintain it, 2017 I attended my first United Kingdom Association of Professional Piercers Educational Seminars, which completely opened my eyes. all I wanted to do was flourish and fine-tune where ever possible all aspects of my trade, by continuing to better educate myself.
I had improved greatly - however, despite my best efforts, the position in the studio I worked in at the time greatly hindered my ability to evolve in other necessary aspects & I had to accept that not everyone shares the same ethics and visions of growth that I had for the future. Why change something if it was already ''working''? I understand that mentality, but it's not a mentality I shared, then or now. I think to myself, but if you know can do and offer better why wouldn't you want to make sure you're doing it? Why wouldn't you want the best for your clients? Why not improve your standards if you have the knowledge and means? It just didn't sit well with me, that I knew my answer deep down and working for somebody else who had a different perception meant that, I was to remain limited nor have the necessary control to make the choices I knew I needed to make to progress ethically and responsibly.
''When met with resistance, it's time to propel forward into something greater''
After spending some time feeling frustrated, I asked myself an important question one day, "Well, do you believe in yourself to be able to do and be better?" my answer was "I do!" So with my answer, I left knowing the next and only step for me was to run my own business, where I could make all of the decisions, invest in what I wanted to invest in, and take responsibility for the direction I wanted my piercing services to go. I knew it wouldn't be straightforward, but it would be worth it knowing that my heart was in the right place and that what I was doing wasn't in pursuit of money, success or any shallow means, it was because I wanted to just be genuinely integral above all else. To prioritise health and safety over profits. Because that was what and continues to be what really matters.
At the time I had not long been bereaved of both my parents and admittedly, it was terribly frightening to leave a job where I had financial security, to pursue my own business. I had nothing saved up, nobody to help me, just very limited funds and some self-belief! I remember when my first quality jewellery order arrived and as little as it was, the feeling of excitement looking at the difference in quality to what I was about to use in comparison to that which I had been limited to using previously, is genuinely a feeling I will never forget. So shiny, hand polished to a literal mirror finish, I could actually see my face in it. I was going in the right direction, jewellery should be high quality, and made of the correct biocompatible materials, this was it! There was no stopping me now! I knew I was making the correct choices and making the right steps into a better future, not only for myself but to contribute positively to an industry that for so long had inspired me, I could now support to evolve.
I spent a couple of years learning, saving, investing, the ups and downs of business, adapting and growing. Not only was I evolving into a piercer I was proud to be, but I was also evolving on a personal level too, because finding out who we really are and want to be is equally as important in life. Our integrity is our biggest investment.
In 2019, after looking for new premises, I met Sue and Chris, who are the owners of Buzzin Guns, they had the perfect space within their studio available for my business to trade from. Not only that, but they were also business owners who shared the same ethics and dedication to evolving, integrally that I did! I have nothing but love and respect for them. It's an incredible Studio, every day is a joy to come to work and run my business from.