Geoff and Rhonda started piercing in 1986 and back when they started the modern piercing industry in Australia was not even conceived. There was no such thing as registration for Body Piercing, and for the most part they taught the council what was needed and advised the health officers and the department for communicable diseases. The general public did not know what Body Piercing was and the early years were spent educating people that body piercing was a thing, and that you could pierce more than just the ear lobes. Many people said it was just a fad and that it was not going to be popular yet Geoff and Rhonda had a vision and so continued to learn and advance. After lots of letters and discussions and after setting up studios in both Surf Coast Shire and Warnambool. They slowly saw the industry growing. They were in fact the first studio in Victoria and to our knowledge Australia to be registered as having a ”Body Piercing Premises.” It took a lot to get this recognition and to get the skin penetration act to acknowledge body piercing as a separate industry to Tattooing.
This was a time before ebay and online shopping, it was before the internet and google. They had to work out what to do and how to do it safely with limited access to information, tools and body jewellery. They imported magazines like “PFIQ”( Piercing Fans International Quarterly, which was published by Jim Ward from 1977 to 1997 in America and was not seen in Australia) and “In The Flesh” (A piercing Magazine that had a short life in the late 1990’s) They reached out to learn from enthusiasts all around the world. In Australia they were the first people to see this as a separate industry and not just something done in the back of a Tattoo shop or Hairdressers. They still rally for this to be done by professionals who should be fully trained and have their qualifications recognised, it is horrific to see the one day or even one week courses that spit out piercers into franchise bong shops and hairdressers with no idea what they are really doing but just enough knowledge to be dangerous. Just remember that most professional Tattoo Studios and Hairdressers don’t do Body Piercing and All Professional Piercing Studios don’t sell bongs and drug paraphernalia.
One incident of discrimination that showed the general attitude to Body Piercing back in the late 1980’s, Geoff and Rhonda went to a stainless steel manufacturer and ask them to make a “taper” this was to be a small piece of stainless with one end 1mm and the larger end 1.6mm with small dent in the larger end. The salesman in the office listened to the request and asked, “What do you want this for?” They explained that they wanted it for Body Piercing to which his reply was. “What is Body Piercing?” the reply was a common explanation to them, “You know – like ear rings but in other places like nose, navel etc.” To that the salesman opened the door to the workshop and stuck his head through and called to the workers behind the door, “You are never going to guess what I have out here! There are a couple of freaks …” he then shut the door behind him and left them standing in the shop. Several minutes went past and the realisation that he was not coming back set in.
This was not the only time that they would be called freaks or made to feel that they should not be practising this art form. Their first studio was at their house out on the farm and was quite the challenge to set up. The council, while quite happy for the Tattooist in the shire to operate in is “pool room / bar” and he had merely done a Tattoo for the health council worker to be registered. But they were totally against body piercing. First there was an application for a planning permit which involved advertising the proposed room in their house in the local paper and letters to all the neighbours – being on the farm this was very few. However, the council then found that there was a ‘lack of parking” on the farm for people to attend by appointment and that doing body piercing would adversely affect the amenities of the local environment and so they were refused a planning permit. They then had to take this to the administrative appeals tribunal where the council compared the piercing studio on the farm with an application for a brothel in a suburban area in Melbourne. Once they had paid to take this to the tribunal and the judge found that, “While it wasn’t his cup of tea, there was no reason to deny the application.” So, finally they had permission to set up the room and have it approved by the the council health officer who did not have any idea about body piercing and was determined to make the room like an operating theatre. With separate sinks and hands free taps, with flush mounted lighting and laminated walls to 2.4 meters, coving and all of the modern set ups that you see today. They even had to provide a contract made out with a company to have the infectious waste removed. It was a room setup to the highest standards for the time. Far higher than any other premises registered for skin penetration.
And that was not all, then they had to demonstrate their knowledge of piercing to the local Medical officer, a Doctor who scrutinised their techniques and procedures before they could be approved. Once they proved their knowledge and sterilisation imagine the shock when the registration certificate turned up saying “Hairdresser or Like establishment – skin penetration.” They had jumped through hoops to get this registered and recognised as a Body Piercing studio and so did not stop until “Body Piercing” was recognised in it’s own right.
With all the information they could lay their hands on, researching through speaking with doctors and surgeons and many late nights faxing places around the world sourcing jewellery and manufacturers. There was no Google, there was no internet, it was phone calls and faxes and waiting for things to arrive snail mail from places like Gauntlet and Wildcat and even places that manufactured for Wildcat. They developed techniques and procedures working on placement and depth as well as best jewellery sizes based on information from piercers in America, the UK, and even from Italy as well as their own trials. Geoff designed and made tools to help develop techniques which hurt less and healed faster, they also studied metals and what was the safest to use. Their techniques have changed and evolved over the years and the procedures were modified to produce the best outcome. When you come to a Body Pleasure Piercing Studio you get the best of 33 years of research, the safest and most up to date techniques and jewellery that have been tested and proved to be effective and give the best results and fastest healing times.
Geoff and Rhonda have not stopped learning and evolving with this industry for the past 33 years and are a wealth of knowledge and experience. Their staff are mentored and trained for a minimum of 2 years before being classed as professional.
In 1997 they had noticed that some people had allergic reactions to Surgical steel and so started to import Niobium as a safe alternative, Titanium had not yet come onto the market. Geoff was also making jewellery and when he started to make Niobium jewellery they imported an anodising machine and were the first studio in Australia to do onsite/ in-store Anodising. Which they still offer in their studios to this day.
By the end of 1997 Titanium was becoming more widely available and one of their manufacturers increased their range of titanium so the experimenting started. Titanium versus Surgical. Titanium was winning and the piercings Geoff and Rhonda had done with titanium healed faster than those done with surgical steel with less complications. Geoff and Rhonda decided towards the end of 1998 to change all of the initial piercing jewellery to Titanium and started to phase out surgical steel from their range. At first they changed because of their own observations about what healed faster and so then started to look into why Titanium healed faster. Titanium actually has a side effect in the body to promote healing of the cells and also does not release any Nickel into the body. In 1999 the EU Nickel Directive was introduced to stop nickel strike caused by contact with metals such as surgical steel that release Nickel. It was also found that surgical releases more nickel into open tissue and so is generally safe to wear in healed piercings but not new or unhealed piercings.
In 1998 Geoff and Rhonda were invited to do piercings at the Sexpo exhibition in Melbourne, at the Melbourne Exhibition Building. This had never been done before and so to get a temporary Health Approval was unheard of. This involved many discussions with council and getting the hiring company who supplied the furniture for the event to make a hands free tap was a challenge. They complained that they would never have the need to hire out a hands free tap again and that they could not see the point of it. Now there are many portable hands free taps and setting up for an event is so much easier. During the event they wanted someone to get a piercing on stage and so to cover health regulations Rhonda let Geoff pierce her navel on stage. This was done in front of 5000 people at the event and was also broadcast live over the internet as the very new “live streaming” to the net was being trialled at the event. This was to our knowledge the first piercing to be live streamed on the internet and was watched by over 20,000 people worldwide.
Since their first studio, Geoff and Rhonda have set up 9 locations and dealt with many councils and Health officers. They have advised the department for communicable diseases who write the regulations and have helped to introduce legislation on age limits to regulate the industry. What started as a hobby and an interest in the 1980’s
Each studio has been set up better and more efficient than the last and they have an enormous range of jewellery from manufacturers all over the world. One of Geoff and Rhonda’s long term goals has been to destigmatize the industry and to make it safe, clean and accessible to anyone and everyone. With their range of jewellery, huge knowledge-base, their studios are set up to be inviting and relaxed and to cater to the die-hard piercing enthusiast, the B&D and S&M scene and the absolute novice even the parent wanting their childs ears pierced safely will feel comfortable.
Information provided by Body Pleasure Piercing is based on their 33+ years of research and practice, it is not self serving or pushy they provide advice and help people even if it is to advise them not to purchase something, they only want what is best for you and your piercing. Because Geoff and Rhonda started this as a hobby which grew they have always had an honest approach, they are passionate about providing every client with a safe and gentle piercing in a non-judgemental and relaxed environment. All staff are trained to assist every client with a no pressure sales policy.