Four years ago, the then-34-year-old Studs founder Anna Harman wanted to get a second lobe ear piercing. “She, in her words, just wanted to feel young again and do something cool,” her friend and cofounder Lisa Bubbers says. But she couldn’t find a clean place without a long wait that wasn’t overpriced. So, like many who want to get their ears pierced, the pair went to a tattoo parlor.
“We had sort of an Aha! lightbulb moment,” Bubbers says. The friends decided to start their own operation. In 2019, they opened Studs, a Gen Z and Millennial-forward ear-piercing and jewelry store, in New York City. Since then, they’ve taken the concept all over the country. On April 26, they opened their fourth Texas and first Dallas location in West Village.
Studs is the third in a series of specialty ear-piercing stores to open in Dallas over the past three years. Ylang 23’s Alysa Teichman opened Wildlike in Highland Park in 2021 to “[marry] the rough edge of tattoo culture with designer jewelry and fashion.” Late last summer, luxury jewelry designer and body piercing brand Maria Tash opened in NorthPark Center. The spot is shiny and sleek, with sparkly, and costly, diamond jewelry on display. A new ear-piercing store, Rowan, which already has locations in Fort Worth and Southlake, is set to open in Preston Royal Village soon.
While places like Maria Tash and Dallas’ La Lobe have been around for decades, Bubbers says the rise of specialty piercing stores is thanks to relaxing societal norms. In the ’80s and ‘90s, “having multiple piercings, just like having tattoos or having crazy dyed hair or having really wild nails, would make you seem unserious for your job,” she says. But over the past 20 years, workplace standards have relaxed, allowing people to express their fashion and style.
Plus, she says, the late 2010s saw an explosion of celebrities, like Kylie Jenner, Scarlett Johansson, and Rihanna, showing off multiple piercings all over the ear. It’s “a force in culture right now,” Bubbers says, who admits she didn’t get multiple ear piercings until she and Harman began working on Studs, which focuses on second and beyond piercings. Now, she has nine total piercings across both ears. She decided, “I’m not cool unless I have multiple ear piercings.”
Squeezed in next to Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, Studs has a “disco spaceship” vibe, Bubbers says. There are bright neon lights in the small, 694-square-foot shop. Visitors can shop styles, like puffy daisy hoops or cowboy hat charms, on a squiggle earrings display. A tin foil-wrapped hallway leads folks to the piercing rooms, which have stress balls, buckets of candy, and extra hair ties and clips.
They wanted “someplace that’s really fun and really experiential that you want to spend time in with your friends,” Bubbers says. “But it’s also a place where you’re getting a needle through your ear, and it has a medical element.”
Studs puts an emphasis on cleanliness and prioritizes ear-healing, Bubbers says. The store uses single-use needles to pierce. They only use studs with flat backs on new holes—so the jewelry won’t get caught on your hairbrush or towel during the healing process. The earrings have a slightly thicker and longer post, “because your ears will swell a little bit” after getting pierced. And since it takes weeks for a hole to heal, Studs uses surgical grade titanium for its piercing jewelry, instead of materials like nickel that can cause allergic reactions.
But despite these limitations, Studs offers a wide variety of piercing studs, plus some hoops for daith placements and a few bars. They also offer single earrings so you can mix and match your look on each ear. “We really love that our customers can have cute piercing jewelry,” Bubber says. Piercing jewelry starts at $30, and a single piercing is $35. Appointments, which are encouraged, are 20-minutes long and are currently only for clients older than 18. Bubbers says they hope to eventually welcome guests as young as 13.
And after a client’s holes have healed, they can come back and plan out their “earscapes,” or combination of earrings on one ear. “There’s literally like infinite combinations of earscapes you can make,” Bubbers says. The brand offers a selection of studs, hoops, cuffs, dangles, chains, and more in 14-karat gold, silver, titanium, and Cubic Zirconia materials. Earrings are affordable, she says, with the most expensive pieces costing $150. “You can get the look you want without necessarily spending a lot.”
However, that look is exclusive to your ears. Unlike other piercing stores, Studs doesn’t pierce any other part of the body, like the septum or belly button. Bubbers says many of their clients don’t necessarily want other parts of their body pierced. And with Studs, they wanted to establish themselves as an expert in ear piercing and earrings, without wading into other parts of the body.
“You can get safe and healthy ear piercings,” she says. “And you can buy really cute earrings.”
*A previous version of this story erroneously stated the Dallas location was Studs’ 19th store. This has been corrected.