First Look: New store concept looks to update ‘mall piercing’ experience

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First Look: New store concept looks to update ‘mall piercing’ experience

By Marianne Wilson - 11/19/2019

There’s a new player dedicated to a very niche segment of the jewelry market: ear piercing.

Studs has launched nationwide online and also opened its first brick-and-mortar location, Studs Studio, in downtown New York. The fledgling company plans to expand its physical presence to additional locations in 2020.

Studs was created to modernize the traditional “mall piercing” experience, according to co-founder and CEO Anna Harman, who most recently served as interim chief customer officer at Walmart’s Jet Black, a text-message based personal shopping service. Prior to that, she was a director at Store No. Eight, an incubator inside Walmart.

According to Harman, Studs prioritizes healthy and safe needle piercing in a fun and bold space, and offers a trend-driven jewelry selection. The new concept is designed to offer the best of two models: traditional mall brands that offer piercing services and local tattoo parlors, combining ear piercing services with omnichannel retail operations and a wide assortment of curated earscapes (personalized combinations of piercings and earrings that customers can mix and match to create their own look), single earrings and collections.

Piercing at Studs costs a flat fee of $35 for one hole and $50 for two. The price range for piercing jewelry is $30 to $180 per earring. The fashion jewelry assortment ranges from $14 to $175 per single earring.

“There’s a lack of brands in the piercing and retail landscape that prioritize healthy needle piercing, offer a trend-driven product assortment and accessible pricing,” said Harman. “By having a singular focus on the ear piercing experience from start to finish, we’re confident that Studs can close the gap and deliver a service not only centered around ear piercing, but optimized for every possible need related to either piercing or jewelry in a way that no other brand is doing today,” 

The company also announced $3 million in funding led by First Round Capital with participation from Lerer Hippeau, as well as additional angel investors. Financing will be used for building retail locations, enhancing the e-commerce experience and expanding the Studs team.

“With the increasing demand for multiple piercings and jewelry styles becoming particularly trendy amongst this age demographic, tattoo parlors, which can be intimidating, expensive and limited in selection, have become more or less the default,” said Hayley Barna, partner at First Round. “This is a unique investment for First Round and we couldn’t be more excited to be breaking into the space with a brand that is so tapped into the mind of today’s consumer and ready to deliver to their high standards and ever-changing needs.”