by Casey Ek
When many people picture the quintessential piercing studio, they might conjure images of rough bikers set to heavy metal music, but Hail Mary Piercing, 678 West 7th St., is aiming to change perceptions while changing customers’ experience.
Scheduled to open April 28, after this issue went to press, the piercing studio is queer-owned and operated, and its operators want everyone to know that all are welcome. Among other strides, the studio had planned to donate some of the proceeds from their grand opening to a yet-determined local queer organization.
Hannah Girtman, who owns the shop alongside locally renowned tattoo artist Ransom Bennett, said she learned from her peers in the metro that creating a warm, welcoming space is a benefit to their customers and their business.
“The people in those businesses have only done better, and the clients have been happier,” Girtman said.
“My goal since the get-go was to make a place where everyone feels comfortable and everyone feels safe,” she later added.
The stuffed animals on the store’s vintage couches might be the focal point if not for the bright pink walls and radiators throughout, which eschew the intimidating piercing shop stereotype.
Hail Mary piercer Adrianna Doheny, who opted for a more subdued paint job in her work area, said the store’s appearance is just one of many factors that set it apart from other piercing shops.
“Working here is exciting because we’re facilitating an experience rather than just giving someone a piercing,” Doheny said. “It’s not just in and out; I really want to know what you have going on and what this (piercing) means to you and give you the time and energy.”
Both Girtman and Doheny, who met several years ago while working at another shop, said their past clients have been “chomping at the bit” to get into the store and that the West 7th business community has been equally welcoming.
Walk-in only, the store’s model lends itself to customers’ whims. Girtman said that many shops had to abandon the walk-in model with the pandemic, so she’s thrilled to potentially bring treasured memories to new clients.
“I remember being 18 (years old) and sitting around with my friends and giggling and being like ‘let’s all get our noses pierced,’” Girtman said. “I’m excited to be able to bring that back a little bit. You can wake up that day and say ‘I’ve been thinking about getting my nose pierced for six months and I’ve been too scared, but I can today.’”
Girtman said the shop will offer piercings on an a la carte basis, and customers can expect to pay about $40 per single service and up from $35 per piece of jewelry. Hail Mary for the moment will not offer genital piercing.
Customers can rest easy knowing that Girtman and Doheny are both licensed piercers who use only high-grade jewelry in order to prevent irritation to penetration sites.
For people getting their first piercing, Girtman said it’s important for them to remember that there is no typical customer.
“I have my sweet little 16-year-olds who are coming in to get their noses pierced; I have my lovely older women who are 75,” Girtman said.
by Casey Ek