How to Determine Where You Should Open your New Piercing Studio
So you’ve decided you want to open your very own piercing studio, or maybe you already own your own studio, and want to expand to a second location!
Either way, one of the first big steps you’ll need to take as a business owner is finding your perfect location. Your location will need to appeal to you as the business owner, your staff, and of course, your target demographic. There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to choosing a location, and in this blog post we will discuss a few things that might be helpful to keep in mind before signing your lease.
We decided to ask Nick from Voodoo Body Piercing (@voodoopinchy on instagram) for his take on what to keep in mind when choosing a new location for your studio. Nick highlighted two factors he deems to be extremely important when choosing your location:
Location Amenities and Accessibility:
“Being in the main centre of town (or as close to the centre as you can get it),”
Nick explained that being closer to a downtown core can help to generare walk-in traffic, especially if your studio is yet to be considered well established. The more people that walk by, the more eyes you will have on your business!
“Look for car parking and public transport routes as this makes the studio easily accessible for people traveling from out of town.”
We completely agree with Nick, accessibility is key! Think of where you live, and what modes of transportation most people use. If you’re operating in the suburbs, having ample parking can definitely benefit your business. If you’re looking to open downtown, where most people get around via public transit or bicycles, ensure you’re close to a bus stop, or have a bike rack outside! Making your business easier to get to can be a make or break for some clients, so definitely keep this in mind when searching for your next location!
During our conversation with Nick, he also highlighted the idea of opening up your studio inside of a shopping centre or mall. There are absolutely pros and cons that go along with operating inside of a shopping centre, we’ve created a quick pros and cons list below:
Shopping Centre Vs. Independent Shop
Nick made us aware that some shopping centres (in the UK especially) have dress codes. This means that your staff may not be permitted to wear whatever they feel best or most comfortable in.
Our friends at Pierced, who operate out of two separate malls in Ontario, Canada said they “Ensure not to wear any clothing with profanities or crude words on them.” This is out of respect for their clients, as well as children who may walk by or enter the studio.
Nick also mentioned that shopping centers often have strict opening or closing times. So if you choose to work out of a shopping centre, you’ll need to operate on their schedule. This means no after hours appointments, and typically starting your day slightly earlier. You also may need to change your staffing schedule to ensure that your team is not working too long of days, as malls can sometimes be open for 10-12 hours a day!
The main perk of being inside of a shopping centre which Nick highlighted is the huge amount of walk by traffic. By default, people inside of a mall are there to spend money. This means that you may get a lot of new clients, who decide to get pierced on impulse alone, especially on weekends.
There are also certain days where people flock to shopping centres, and you’re very likely to reap the benefit of those days if you are located within a mall! For example in the USA and Canada we have “black friday” sales or “boxing day” sales throughout the year. These days mall traffic can easily be tripled, resulting in a high volume of clients who will be eager to get piercings, or do jewelry upgrades.
Being inside a shopping mall also offers marketing opportunities that you may not normally get as an independent studio or shop. Usually shopping centres have their own social media channels and websites, that regularly get pretty good online traffic. Most malls like to feature their shops, and their shops promotions on a regular basis, so you may find that this can be helpful when trying to get the word out about your services or a new campaign.
Having an independent studio will allow you more freedom. Having your own shop means you do not have to conform to a mall’s operating hours, dress code, holidays or any other regulations they may have in place.
You will also likely be able to have a bit more freedom when it comes to the overall “look” of your studio. Most malls need to approve your design choices, which can even include window displays or outdoor signs. So if you’re looking for a bit more freedom in terms sof design, independence might be the way to go! We absolutely love what the folks over at Owl and Pussycat Piercing have down with the look of their studio.
This can be extremely appealing to many business owners. If your brand and studio is already well established, and you typically no longer rely on walk by traffic or prefer to only pierce by appointment, this may be a better option for you.
Independent shops can also have lower rental fees than malls or shopping centres (depending on your location. This is because shopping centres oftentimes build things into your rental costs like janitorial services, hydro, etc. They can also charge more because as a business owner, it can be more appealing to be located in an area where customers are already in the mindset to shop and spend money.
Being close to a University or College Campus
It’s no secret that college and university students are very likely to be interested in getting piercings, and can become one of your most popular demographics you see in your studio!
Being located in a town with a significant student population can give you a nice boost when it comes to walk-in appointments and jewelry sales. But, Nick let us know that university or college students can sometimes be a tricky crowd to schedule. Nick told us that “most university students will come down between classes or on a lunch break. This then gives you a time limit to work between and realistically limits the amount of piercings you can do in that time.”
This can pose its own issues regarding not wanting to rush your clients, but also wanting to respect their time constraints and schedules. Nick stressed the importance to us of ensuring you have enough time for each client.
“Time is a very important factor. You never want to rush with your client, you want to make sure you give the customers a good experience and you don’t know what is going to happen after (they could feel faint for example).”
Nick offered a good solution to these time constraints . He recommended trying your best to have them come in on a weekend, when they won’t have classes to rush to. Scheduling a time will allow you to prepare for the appointment accordingly, and will hopefully allow your client to clear their schedule, and relax more about their upcoming piercing. Nick said “On Saturdays or Sundays university students could be in the main town shopping so you could catch their business over a weekend rather than during the week, especially because if they want a piercing they will come in as soon as they have a chance.”