Localize It: Becoming one with the needle

Lawren Young, a 26-year-old who recently moved back to her roots in Alaska, is currently working on her apprenticeship to become a professional piercer in Anchorage. Young came back to Alaska one year ago after living in South Carolina with her husband for a few years, which was where she began her first piercing apprenticeship.

“I’ve always been interested with the idea of being a piercer but wasn’t something I ever considered as a career until a piercer in South Carolina contacted me and told me I seemed like a good fit for this apprenticeship they were offering. From there, I’ve just kept learning more and getting better,” Young said.

Young spent time at several different piercing shops in South Carolina, but none of the apprenticeships lasted longer than a few months. With moving back to Anchorage, she has discovered a place that she can learn and grow at, which is Body Piercing Unlimited. Young has been an apprentice there since October of 2016 and is set to finish her apprenticeship towards the end of this April.

“With my current apprenticeship at BPU, I get a lot more one-on-one training with the piercers that I didn’t really get when I was in South Carolina. It’s helped me learn a lot more in a shorter time span and now I am actually piercing customers that come in,” Young said.

To be a professional piercer in Alaska, one must log one thousand hours in an apprenticeship at a certified piercing studio, and also pass a test at the end. Young started out her apprenticeship by shadowing the other piercers at the studio, watching their piercing techniques and learning safety and sterilization rules. From there, she went on to learn proper placement for piercings and the anatomy behind those placements and prepping trays for piercings. Now that she is in the tail end of her apprenticeship, Young is working with clients and piercing them.

“So far I’ve done a lot of nostrils, the nose is a very popular spot for a piercing so I’ve done lots of those. Cartilages, ears, belly buttons, I did my first lip a couple weeks ago too. I’m still learning a lot, but it’s really great to be working with customers officially now,” Young said.

Young’s apprenticeship has required nothing short of hard work and dedication, but she shows that if you are passionate enough about the field of work, it is absolutely worth the time put in.

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“I love it when a client comes in excited for a piercing, and I get to help be a part of the process. If I can do something to make someone smile and have a little more self-confidence, then it feels like a success. That’s my favorite thing I discovered about this job so far,” Young said.

Once she becomes a certified piercer, Young plans to continue working with Body Piercing Unlimited, and work at one of their locations in Anchorage as a full-time piercing artist.