Piercing studio and jewelry brand Studs is pushing further on its goal to become the U.S.’ top destination for piercings.
The company opened its first Miami location in the city’s Wynwood shopping district today. Located at 250 NW 25th Street, the 995-square-foot space includes two piercing salon rooms as well as Studs’ signature earring bar, where shoppers’ lobes can be styled, or “earscaped,” as Studs prefers to call it.
“Miami is becoming a really hot tourist destination and Wynwood is a hit between locals and tourists. Studs does really well when we are next to amazing food and beverage and our location has the best of that to offer,” said Studs cofounder and chief brand officer Lisa Bubbers of the new location — situated between buzzy Japanese restaurant Uchi and Pacific Northwest ice cream chain Salt & Straw.
Miami is one of the country’s fastest-growing cities and is attracting untold numbers of tourists. Despite the city’s “exuberant sense of style,” as Bubbers called it, high-end piercing studios there are few and far between. In May, luxury piercing auteur Maria Tash opened a boutique at the Bal Harbour Shops, but Studs — with its jewelry priced from $30 to $125 — is gunning for a different audience.
“I think of [Wynwood] similar to sort of how Williamsburg, Brooklyn, started with a few cool independent boutiques and restaurants and now that’s where a lot of brands are going. We are right near Warby Parker and the Wynwood Walls. I think for us, versus other neighborhoods, Wynwood hits our target demographic of Gen Z and Millennials who love to eat, drink and shop,” Bubbers said of her and cofounder Anna Harman’s attraction to the location.
The Miami Studs store has been outfitted with localized details orchestrated by architectural designer Madelynn Ringo. There are silver palm trees, Art Deco-inspired benches, hot pink mirrors and specially commissioned LED lighting. The location will also sell Miami-specific earring designs like a pavé palm tree and a gold-plated dolphin.
Miami marks Studs’ eighth location, and there are plans to raise that number to over 20 stores by the end of 2022. The company administers hundreds of piercings each day across the country, with locations in cities including Boston, Los Angeles and Austin.
Despite shutting down for COVID-19 regulations just four months after launch, the company quickly geared back into action and attracted month-long waitlists for appointments in its New York stores. In October, the company closed a $20 million series B round of funding that is fueling its retail expansion.
“We did bounce back fast — I’m very proud of that and I think we were just waiting to go. We raised our Series A right before COVID-19 and we expanded to Austin, Boston and L.A. all in really quick succession over the spring and summer,” Bubbers said. She declined to reveal if the company is already planning future rounds of funding and if the brand has plans to IPO like many of its direct-to-consumer start-up contemporaries.
“We are moving to a more permanent location in Boston on Newbury Street and will continue our plan to expand in primary and secondary cities across the U.S. and cluster stores in cities that we already exist in,” Bubbers said.
While Studs has put a concerted effort on its e-commerce business, the company is bullish on physical retail as an integral part of its brand experience. “We are a retail business with a strong e-commerce business but getting pierced in-store is key to the company,” she said.
While a lobe chockfull of ear piercings was once considered counterculture, the trend quickly accelerated, first becoming a high-minded fashion statement to now being essentially mainstream.
“Especially now with our target demographic of 18 to 35, it’s almost like you feel you aren’t trendy enough if you don’t have piercings right now. We are just seeing it become super mainstream and people are finding interesting ways to do it,” said Bubbers.
With that, Studs is expanding its earring offering and will soon roll out 100 new designs including titanium and 14-karat gold materials, with the aim to elevate its overall experience. “It’s a big initiative for us,” Bubbers said. The line will begin hitting stores on Feb. 2.