What Ear Piercing Can Teach Us About Jewelry Marketing

Piercing Gun

So you’re wondering: what the heck does poking a needle through my ear lobe have to do with marketing my jewelry brand?

In this post I’ll show you what ear piercing can teach you about increasing your jewelry brand’s strength and presence.

I recently stumbled across a fascinating history of ear piercing, focusing mostly on the Western cultural relevance of basic earlobe piercing from the 1990s to today. Though not as comprehensive as it could be, the article shed light on the fashion jewelry store Claire’s, an American shopping mall mainstay that nearly any American girl would recognize.

You know Claire’s too. Walk into any Claire’s location today and receive free ear piercing services (a.k.a. get your lobes clamped by a teen wielding a staple gun) with the purchase of a pair of starter earrings.

Here a few interesting facts about Claire’s:

  • Claire’s “has been in the ear piercing business since 1978”
  • “The chain does 3 million piercings a year, and its global piercing number recently hit 94 million.”

And here’s the most important one…

  • “So famous is Claire’s for its ear piercing that the accessories retailer historically hasn’t done much to promote the service…”

What? Imagine being so famous for your jewelry or jewelry-related service that you don’t even need to do anything to promote yourself.

Theoretically, a person can get an ear piercing at a number of places: a clinical ear piercing business, a doctor’s office, a tattoo/piercing shop, in your friend’s bathroom during a sleepover (not recommended), or a mall fashion jewelry store like Claire’s or Piercing Pagoda.

Why Claire’s?!

Claire’s discovered how to make a near-mythical rite of passage accessible to the audience undergoing that rite of passage, mostly 10-year-old girls. No 10-year-old girl wants to visit her doctor or a tattoo/piercing shop, and I’m sure few parents want to bring her to the latter. 

But Claire’s? At Claire’s the 10-year-old can choose from hundreds of bright, happy, playful starter earrings, and she can flaunt her newfound maturity to anyone who happens to be browsing the store or gawking through the window.

Sure, 10-year-olds aren’t Claire’s only audience. But the same principles apply to everyone else: the process is easy. You don’t need to know any special lingo or mentally prepare yourself for the ear piercing process.

Getting pierced at Claire’s is transparent, literally. For former CEO Beatrice Lafon to assert that the company hasn’t done much to promote the process is completely untrue. The thrilled little girl getting pierced in the store window is all the promotion Claire’s ever needed.

So what can ear piercing teach you about marketing your jewelry brand? Ask yourself:

  • What intimidates my target customer about the jewelry-buying process?
  • What can I do to make the experience more breezy for them?
  • How can I simplify the experience so that they walk into my store or enter my website without any fear and with the knowledge they’ll leave feeling transformed?

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, go ahead and tell me about your first piercing experience in the comments below.

Featured photo by William Rafti

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