If you are in love with body art and want to start a business in this niche, you can easily open a body piercing studio. The right time to start such business is now because the body piercing and tattoo industry is presently at its growing stage. A body piercing studio can be a fun, profitable and interesting business for someone who is skilled in the trade. With the right location, top-notch service and good marketing skills, you can serve varieties of customers.

Opening a body piercing studio may not require huge capital, but it needs solid planning and attention to detail in order to keep your business profitable. If you are diligent enough and if you have good business strategies, you can build the business from just one outlet to numerous outlets across the United States from the sale of franchise.

You need capital to purchase or lease/rent a suitable facility, the required equipment and working tools. You also need capital to pay your employees at least for the first 3 months, and also to pay your utility bills. You can start your body piercing studio from a small town In the united states.

21 Steps on How to Start a Body Piercing Studio Business

1. Understand the Industry

Players in the Body Piercing industry are known to provide body piercing services, which involve puncturing the skin in order to display ornamental jewelry.

The major activities in this industry revolves around navel piercing, cartilage, rook, nostril, eyebrow, daith, lip, tragus, and earlobe piercings: and facial piercing and we are not ruling out the fact that most players in this industry also provide tattoo services by injecting ink under the skin and permanently altering the coloration of the skin.

In the united states, different states have their rules and regulations as it relates to running a body piercing studio. For example, according to the health departments in the State of Oregon and Hawaii, body piercing and tattoo artists are required to take and pass a test ascertaining their knowledge of health and safety precautions, as well as the current state regulations.

In Oregon, operating a body piercing and tattoo shop without a current license or in an unlicensed facility is considered a felony. Between 2002 and 2006 was when body piercing and tattooing was legalized in New York City, Massachusetts, South Carolina and Oklahoma.

So also in the state of Tennessee, the local health department can/will do a hands on inspection of body piercing and tattoo studios every 4 months. The location of the body piercing and tattoo studio will be graded based on the areas being inspected.

If the studio passes an inspection, the health department will sign off on a passing scorecard and the studio will be required to show their score publicly. If the studio fails an inspection, they will be given the opportunity to correct the mistakes (if minor) or be fined (major health risks) and can also be kicked out of business on the spot.

Interesting Statistics About the Body Piercing & Tattoo Industry

The Body Piercing and Tattoo industry is currently in the growth stage of its life cycle. Statistics has it that the industry in the United States of America is worth $722 million, with an estimated growth rate of 9.8 percent. There are about 35,399 registered and licensed body piercing and tattoo studios in the United States and they are responsible for employing about 54,712 people.

It is import to start that no body piercing and tattoo studio can boast of having a lion market share in the industry. According to report published by Pew Research Center, 36 percent of Americans aged 18-25 have at least one body piercing and tattoo. This goes to show that more than one third of America’s young adults have body piercing and tattoos!

Little wonder the body piercing and tattoo industry is the sixth fastest-growing retail business in America, as determined by the U.S. News & World Report. This has obviously translated to online interest as well, as there are more than 147 million body piercing and tattoo related searches each month on Google.

A close study of the body piercing business shows that the business exhibits low barriers to entry. The industry is highly fragmented as there are smaller body piercing studios that cater to a market niche of consumers. The body piercing business will continue to blossom because people would always want to join the trend, so it is safe to say that the industry is growing steadily despite its competitive nature.

Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own body piercing business could be that the business is easy to set up and the capital is indeed affordable; you can actually start your own body piercing studios business from the comfort of your house. All you need to do is to create a space somewhere in your house.

Over and above, the body piercing and tattoo industry is very open to any aspiring entrepreneur who has acquired the required training, skills and perhaps professional certifications to start his or her own business.

2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic composition of those who patronize body piercing and tattoo studios cut across people of all genders and age groups, hence the demographic composition for a body piercing and tattoo studio business is all encompassing.

The truth is that when it comes to body piercing and other related services, there is indeed a wide range of available customers. In essence, your target market can’t be restricted to just a group of people, but all those that reside where you have your studio and who have the purchasing power.

So, if you are thinking of opening your own body piercing studio, then you should make target demographics all encompassing.

3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On

It is important to state that there is no known niche area when it comes to body piercing business. Every player in this line of business is involved in providing body piercing services. So also, it is common to find a standard body piercing studio engaged in all of the under listed services;

  • Designing customized tattoos
  • Providing body piercings
  • Predesigning tattoos
  • Maintaining aftercare tattoo services
  • Administering permanent makeup tattoos
  • Laser tattoo-removal service
  • Sale of jewelries

The Level of Competition in the Body Piercing Industry

The competition that exists in the body piercing business goes beyond studios in your location; you are expected to compete with complimentary service businesses like beauty parlors and tattooing studios. Thus, it will be right to say the competition in the body piercing business is tough.

The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done your due diligence and you brand and promote your services or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure you are good at carrying out body piercing studio services.

4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry

Please note that in every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than the others. Some of these brands have been in the industry for a long time, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years.

There are several body piercing and tattoo studios that started locally but have grown to become a global brand. Some of the internationally recognized brands in this industry are;

  • Altered Image Tattoo and Piercing Studio
  • Studio 88 Tattoos and Peircings
  • Rock City Tattoo & Piercing Studio
  • Classy Tatz Tattoo & Body Piercing Studio
  • Against All Odds Tattoo and Body Piercing Studio
  • Temple Tattoo and Body Piercing Studio
  • Diablo Rojo The Body Piercing Studio
  • Sailor Cher’s Tattoo & Body Piercing
  • The Bell Rose Tattoo & Piercing
  • Studio 28 Tattoos and Body Piercing
  • Dreamtime Tattoo and Body Piercing
  • SA Tattoo & Piercing Studio
  • Body Art World V
  • Body Treasures Tattooing & Piercing
  • New Image Tattoo & Body Piercing
  • Tattoo Attack & Body Piercing
  • Slavedragon Tattoo & Piercing
  • Accent Tattoo & Body Piercing
  • El Templo Tattoos & Piercings
  • Star Tattoo & Body Piercing

Economic Analysis

As an aspiring entrepreneur who is looking towards successfully launching a business and maximizing profits, you need to ensure that you get your economic and cost analysis right and try as much as possible to adopt best practices in the industry.

Body piercing business is not a Green business as you will come across several body piercing studios, and complimentary services businesses that also carry out body piercing services when you drive through town. So, if you are mapping out your economic analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey of what is required to rent a space where you are expected to open your studio and the amount required to purchase tools and other supplies and also the cost to successfully run the business.

If you are considering starting a body piercing and tattoo studio business, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of renting a studio facility and purchasing equipment and supplies but also on branding and on how to build a robust clientele base. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust clientele base, you are going to maximize profits in your business.

5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

When it comes to starting a business of this nature, it will pay you to buy the franchise of a successful body piercing brand as against starting from the scratch. Even though it is relatively expensive buying the franchise of an established body piercing studio brand, but it will definitely pay you in the long run.

But if you truly want to build your own brand, then you might just want to start your own body piercing business from the scratch. Starting from the scratch will afford you the opportunity to conduct thorough market survey and feasibility studies before choosing a location to launch the business.

Please note that most of the successful body piercing studios around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.

6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

If you decide to start your own body piercing business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established body piercing and tattoo studios, and complimentary services businesses that also carryout body piercing and tattooing. The only way to avoid this challenge is to ensure that you create your own market.

Other challenges and threats that you are likely going to face are economic downturn and unfavorable government policies. There is nothing you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work well for you.

7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)

As an aspiring entrepreneur who is considering starting a body piercing business, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow. You have the option of choosing a general partnership, limited liability company, or even a sole proprietorship for your body piercing business.

Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale body piercing business especially if you are just starting out with a moderate startup capital in a small neighborhood and with just one outlet.

But if your intention is to grow the business and have chains of studios across the United States of America via franchising, then choosing sole proprietorship is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company or even general partnership will cut it for you.

Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholder meetings and other managerial formalities.

These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your body piercing and tattoo studio business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and of course taxes. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.

Please note that if you upgrade your body studio to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation it will give you the opportunity to grow the business so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company.

8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below

When it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. It won’t cost you anything to go online and check out the names of the leading body piercing brands in the industry so you can take a cue from them. Here are some catchy names that you can choose from;

  • Black Temple® Body Piercing & Tattoo Studio, LLC
  • Sergeant Larson™ Body Piercing & Tattoo Studio, LLC
  • Oscar Vincent® Body Piercing & Tattoo Studio, Inc.
  • Cristiano Smiths™ Body Piercing & Tattoo Studio, Inc.
  • Benny Blanco™ Body Piercing & Tattoo Studio, Inc.
  • Tim Jordan™ Body Piercing & Tattoo Studio, Inc.
  • Shannon Williams© Body Piercing & Tattoo Studio, Inc.
  • Daniella Brighton® Body Piercing & Tattoo Studio, LLC
  • Uphill™ Body Piercing & Tattoo Studio Inc.
  • Red Zone© Body Piercing & Tattoo Studio Inc.

9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

The rule of engagement in the United States is that you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your body piercing business.

Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own body piercing business in the United States of America;

10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

If you are considering starting your own body piercing business, you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

But if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO.

11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

Aside from your ability to handle body piercing and tattooing equipment and tools, professional certification is one of the main reasons why some body piercing and tattoo studios stand out. If you want to make an impact in the industry, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications.

Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career, and up-to-date in the competitive market. These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own body piercing studio;

  • Tattoo & Piercing Safety Certificate
  • Tattoo and body piercing studio certification

Please note that you cannot successfully run a body piercing studio even on a small scale in the United States without acquiring professional certifications and business license.

12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hand of the law catches up with you. These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own body piercing and tattoo studio business in the United States of America;

13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

Starting a body piercing business can be cost effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale by running a mobile body piercing studio. Securing a standard studio facility and purchasing body piercing supplies are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital.

If you choose to start the business on a large scale, you would need to source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard large scale body piercing and tattoo studio business. When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan.

If you have a good and workable business document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business. Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your body piercing and tattoo studio business;

14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

When choosing a location for your body piercing business, you should be guided by the demand for body piercing services. Of course, if you are able to secure a central location for your body piercing studio, it will give people easy access to your studio.

It cannot be overemphasized that the location you choose to open your body piercing studio is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people with the require purchasing power and lifestyle.

If you make the mistake of renting or leasing a facility for your business in a not too visible or hidden location simply because it is cheap, then you must be prepared to spend more in promoting the business and perhaps giving direction to potential customers.

Most importantly, before choosing a location for your body piercing and tattoo studio business, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out.

These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your body piercing business;

  • The demography of the location
  • The demand for body piercing and tattoo and other related beauty and body arts services in the location
  • The purchasing power of the residents of the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of body piercing and tattoo studios, and complimentary services businesses that also carry out body piercing and tattooing in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community
  • Traffic, parking and security.

15. Buy the Necessary Equipment for your Technical Needs

There is special technology needed to run this type of business except for body piercing equipment (junior hand punch, sterilizing machine, surgical stainless steel, piercing needles, threaded stainless steel bent barbells, straight barbells, labret studs, circular barbells, captive rings, piercing retainer, medical latex gloves and dermal & surface piercing jewelries), and receipt issuing machines,

Sound System (For playing music), Point of Sale Machines (POS Machines), CCTV Cameras and Flat Screen TVs. You will also need computers, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others.

As regard leasing or outright purchase of a body piercing and tattoo studio facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standing, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short – term rent/lease while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you go on a long – term lease or outright purchase of the property but if not, then move on and source for other ideal facility for such business.

16. Hire Employees for your Manpower Needs

When it comes to hiring employees for a standard body piercing business with more than one outlet, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer (you can occupy this role), Studio Manager, Body Piercing and Tattoo Artists/Specialist, Sales and Marketing Officer, Accounting Clerk, and Cleaners. On the average, you will need a minimum of 5 to 10 key staff members to run a standard body piercing business.

The Service Process Involved in a Body Piercing Business

The practice when running a body piercing studio is that you must ensure that you are licensed to do it and that your tools, equipment and studio facility meet the required standard of the industry.

You are expected to sterilize your equipment before and after use. When a customer visits your shop to get a part of his or her body pieced, it is your responsibility to ensure that the customer is above 18 years before proceeding with the business.

Once the client tells you the part of the body to be pieced, you put on your latex hand glove, sterilize your equipment and then carry out the job. In some cases, the client comes in with their jewelry and in some other cases they purchase from your studio. Once the piercing is done, then you help them fix the jewelry, and when they are satisfied they pay you the amount charged.

17. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies

Running a business requires that you should be proactive when it comes to marketing your goods or services. If you choose to launch a body piercing business, then you must employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well – known brands that determine the market direction for the industry.

These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your body piercing business;

18. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products

One key factor that will help you offer your body piercing service at rock bottom prices is to purchase your supplies directly from the manufacturers in pretty large quantities. The truth is the higher the quantities you purchase directly from manufacturers, the cheaper you tend to get them.

Another strategy that will help you offer your services at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your services.

You can also try as much as possible to work with independent contractors and marketers; it will help you save cost for paying sales and marketing executives.

19. Develop an Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win

The availability of a wide range of body piercing services, your business process and of course your pricing model are part of what you need to stay competitive in the industry. If you are into body piercing business, then it is advisable that you make use of effective body piercing tools and also ensure that you take testimonials from your clients who are satisfied with your services.

Another possible competitive strategy for winning your competitors in this particular industry is to build a robust clientele base and business network. Over and above, ensure that your organization is well positioned, key members of your team are highly qualified and your body piercing and tattoo services can favorably compete with the some of the best in the industry.

20. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers

When it comes to business, no matter the industry that you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customer retention and perhaps attract new customers is to produce results and satisfy your customers always. If your customers are satisfied with your products and services delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service providers.

Statistics has it that one of the major reasons why clients source for alternative service provider or product is when there is a drop in quality. Another reason is poor customer service. If you can continue to make available a wide range of body piercing services to your customers, and your customer service delivery is top notch, then you won’t struggle to maintain loyal customers.

Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers, and building loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software.

With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick surveys, you can introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, you can felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, you can keep track of their progress, you can send bulk sms and customized e – mails and above all, you can easily receive compliant and feedback from them).

21. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they spend fortunes to boost their brand and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them to be.

If your intention of starting a body piercing and tattoo studio business is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national brand by opening chains of body piercing studios and selling franchise, then you must be ready to spend money in the promotion and advertisement of your brand.

Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your body piercing business;

  • Place adverts on both print (newspapers and beauty magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Sponsor relevant community based events
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your body piercing and tattoo studio business
  • Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
  • Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
  • List your body piercing and tattoo studio business in local directories / yellow pages
  • Advertise your body piercing and tattoo studio business in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
  • Position your Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your body piercing business is located.
  • Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles are well branded with your company logo.
Ajaero Tony Martins