We sat down with co-owner and piercer Shandra Swilling of Mom’s Custom Tattoo & Body Piercing in Spokane, Washington to get the in’s and out’s of what life is like working in a piercing and tattoo studio.
What do you do at Mom’s? Or should we ask, what don’t you do at Mom’s?
I think the only thing I don’t do at this point, is tattoo! I usually have my hand in most of the workings of the studio at some point during the week!
When did you first become interested in piercing?
I think the first time I became interested in piercing was in the early 90s when I was a kid. I was first obsessed with eyebrow piercings, then as I got older when nostril piercings became all the rage in the mid-2000s, I wanted one so bad! I begged my mom for one, but she wouldn’t let me get one because “it was too close to my brain.”
When I turned 18, I got my nostril pierced and thought, “now my face is complete!” Now my face is even more complete with a pair of nostril piercings, a septum piercing, and a vertical labret piercing! We’ll see if I add more! I’ve always loved how piercings can complement a face and add just that extra bit of dimension!
What is your story about being a body piercer?
I essentially became a piercer because I saw a hole to fill in Spokane. Growing up here, we never had a reliable piercer that you could go to for a good, safe piercing AND one that would be around when something was going wrong. It felt like it was either one or the other. When Beth (the owner of Mom’s) decided to expand, we decided to add piercing so that Spokane could have a good, safe, AND reliable place to go for piercing. We saw how great Deep Roots in Seattle, Wa was doing in the industry and asked their owners to mentor me in all things piercing and jewelry related! I’ve been piercing at Mom’s ever since 2014!
What are your top three favorite things about working in The Industry?
The Self-Expression, Passion, and all the Shiny things!
Can you tell us more about what being an APP Member means to you?
Being an APP Member is important because it tells clients that we go above and beyond what the state requires us to do. The state only requires a Bloodborne Pathogens certification and $250, so having an APP Membership shows the extra care and consideration that we take as a studio. As APP Members we have to send a 360° video, send invoices of what jewelry we use, submit spore tests on a monthly basis, write out our procedures, and have certain environmental criteria. I also love that the APP supports education for all piercers with their annual conference. It takes place every year, and we are able to learn from other professional piercers and even medical and scientific professionals. I always want to be “forever learning” and the APP supports that.
Which piercings are your favorite to perform?
This is always a hard question to answer! I love doing nostrils because I feel like they look amazing on everyone and they look great from the start! I also love doing ear lobe projects, meaning I love doing multiples in different shapes on the lobes!
Tell us more about your favorite jewelry styles! Which pieces are your favorite?
A classic piece I love that I think looks good all the time is the Tri Bead in any color gold! I also love big chunky stones and fun designs! It’s really hard to choose a favorite and I feel lucky to work with them all! I am very excited for the Leia piece from Modern Mood in Moonstone and Rose Gold! They are just gorgeous!
Which piercings are the most popular amongst your clients?
It really depends on what is trending at the moment! I could say what the most popular piercing is when writing this and when this blog comes out, the most popular piercing could be something else. I think right now, nostrils and septums are most popular as the world opens up more since the beginning of the pandemic. However, a mainstay that will always be popular are nipple piercings! I feel like I do those most often!
Do you have any advice about someone deciding between two different piercings?
Get them both! As long as anatomy allows, why not?
What should clients generally know after an appointment?
Know that pain, swelling, discharge, and discomfort are very normal occurrences! You just got a puncture wound!
Sleeping can be a hard one! I recommend getting a travel pillow or a donut pillow and sleeping with your ear in the hole if you got an ear piercing. It greatly relieves the pressure of your head on your ear while you sleep!
Keep it clean by rinsing in the shower and using sterile saline between showers.
If you got pierced with a barbell, downsize your jewelry! Your jewelry should fit your piercing comfortably, and you really shouldn’t see the barbell at all, only the ends.
Touching and pressure are the number one causes of irritation, so hands off for happy, healthy piercings!
Where can people find you on social media?
Website: Shandra's Portfolio
Book With Me: Shandra's Books
Shop TikTok: momsofspokane
Questions on any of the services we talked about today or others?
Studio Site: momstattoo.com
Jewelry Site: momsjewelry.com
Email Us: [email protected]
Call Us: (509)426-4465