Viral Piercing Studio, Studs, Opens New Location in Austin
Studs, the upstart piercing salon said to have taken investment from Gwyneth Paltrow, among others, is in growth mode. On Wednesday, the company will open its third store in Austin, representing an inaugural push into markets outside New York City.
The Austin location, at 1510 South Congress Avenue, occupies about 900 square feet and incorporates special details that nod to Texas’ heritage. Special product in collaboration with jewelry brand Shop Zuck, including cowboy hat and cowboy boot-shaped earrings, will be exclusively available at the location.
This kicks off what will be an ongoing rollout of new units, with the aim to operate between eight and 10 total locations by the end of this year. A Boston pop-up is slated to open on May 5, while the first of an eventual two Los Angeles stores will bow on Melrose Place at some point this summer.
Studs’ Austin location. ANDREA CAL0
“Piercing is a thing people really want to do and when they’ve been cooped up for many months they want to get out and do something. You can’t virtually pierce your ears,” said Studs’ chief executive officer and cofounder Anna Harman of the company’s success upon reopening. The Studs store in SoHo often draws a line spanning down the block and books out piercing appointments weeks in advance. The company also operates a smaller outpost in Hudson Yards.
Chief marketing officer and cofounder Lisa Bubbers added: “People didn’t have many options that were COVID-19-safe to have fun and give them a sense of self expression. If you go to get your ears pierced you are wearing a mask, following safety protocol. We have gone appointment-only and found that more people are getting two piercings done, just more overall — it’s been a solid silver lining.”
While Studs had to close its stores from March until September, the company quickly pivoted to focus on e-commerce sales, which grew 20 times from March 2020 through the end of the year. Now the company is looking for additional “coastal cities” for expansion, particularly hubs of trend-driven 18- to 30-year-olds, which the company considers its key audience. While piercings continue to be a major trend for young consumers, there are a limited number of on-trend piercing studios, particularly in locations outside New York and Los Angeles.
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