Bad Girl, Good Business

(Very) Personal Branding

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Let’s talk about holes and tats.

We all like to show our individuality. Those folks who are lower-key do it simply through their hairstyle, make-up (or not), and choice of clothing. Communication style and tone (in the real world and in social media) also contribute to ones public identity.

However, some of us take the personal branding thing one step further…literally. We’re talking piercings and tattoos

I was in Boulder, Colorado this weekend for CampMinder Camp (#campmindercamp7) and was walking up Pearl Street.My Ear On a total whim, I decided to get another piercing in my left ear in honor of my upcoming 59th birthday. I opted for something small and subtle to join my “regular” earring holes and my “N” (which I wear all the time). My left ear has become part of my personal brand statement, I suppose.

But I felt like a total branding rookie when I stepped into the newly-opened location of the Iris Piercing Studio. The manager and his assistant were fully decorated — human canvasses — with tats and piercings. Like I often do after these new and novel personal experiences, I immediately started wondering about the history and the commerce behind them. (Yup…I’m a geek.)

For example:

  • Early piercings (5,000 years ago) could be a sign of wealth or could mark a whore (literally). Piercings also were believed to prevent demons from entering ones brain. That’s a relief! Read more here.
  • You can start a body piercing business for as little as $2K, according to Entrepreneur.
  • The practice of tattooing is 8,000 years old and was the subject of a Ted Talk. Tats have even been found on mummies.
  • The tattoo removal business has surged 440% to $75.5 million over the past decade, says this report.
  • Psychology Today offers up this intelligent view on the differences between self-expression and self-mutilation.
  • Social media seems to be an ideal place for people to show off their “body modifications” (i.e., piercings and tats). Pinterest is filled with photos of human art. And, in fact, Jaymes Instagrammed my newly-branded lobe, along with the story behind my piercing, and it immediately got 37 likes. Who knew so many people could adore my ear?

Although I appreciate body art on others, I am taking my own personal branding process seriously. Before I contemplate any more needles I’ll ask myself, “How will this look in the nursing home?” and “Will this turn off prospective clients?” After all, one woman’s brand can be another’s sideshow attraction. And I’d rather people look at my marketing proposals than giant bling in my nose, lip, forehead, or other body part.






Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *