From small beginnings in a storage cupboard at The Park five years ago – Soniya Zellinger has now opened her own piecing shop in the heart of Knowle West.
Launched on Filwood Broadway at the end of March – Soniya runs Piercings 4 You with partner Aaron Pritchard. She specialises in body piercings while Aaron carries out tattoo laser removal.
Soniya says: “I’m looking most forward to being back in the heart of the community. I love Knowle and having a shop front means people can access us easily.
“I do piercings everywhere, ears, lips, tongues, eyebrows, nipples, genitals and belly button.
“I also do microdermal inplants, which are little plates under your skin with gems on top so you can have diamonds all over your body…”
Soniya also claims to be Bristol’s first branding and scarification artist – and was trained by one of the top body modificators, Dr Evil.
A 650 degrees iron is used for branding – but Soniya says nerve endings are bypassed “so it’s not very painful’ – while scarification designs are cut into the skin with a surgical scarpel.
Soniya first decided to train in piercing five years ago after her 11-year-old son had a stroke and she spent three months in hospital with him.
She recalls: “My tattooist said I needed to find a different career and suggested I became a body piercer. I didn’t like blood and needles and wasn’t sure if I could do it, so I went and did training courses and set up a room at The Park and got licensed and the rest is history…
“I didn’t like injections… and couldn’t watch horror films but I can perform stuff on people. Cutting is a very artistic skill to have, you can’t make a mistake on someone’s body with a knife.”
Former scaffolder Aaron has doing tattoo removal for the past three months and says it’s extremely popular in the area.
He explains: “You’ve got older people who had tattoos when younger and their children want them to remove them as they are graduating or something. Someone could be now in a different job. One of the biggest ones is tattoos of ex partners…”
The pair have a lot of clients sent to them from tattooists – and Soniya stresses how important it is the treatment rooms are to a high medical standard with premises checked by Public Health.
They are looking forward to expanding the business and hope the venture will encourage other shops to set up in Filwood Broadway.
Aaron says: “People are always looking in and there’s been a lot of interest from the community…we hope to be a catalyst for change here.”
Future plans include having a semi permanent make-up artist in the shop tattooing lips and eyebrows.
Soniya says: “I’m just happy to be here in Knowle, it’s an amazing community and amazing people. Every customer becomes a friend and that makes this shop unique.”
Piercings 4 You is based at 39 Filwood Broadway and is open Monday 10am-2.30pm;Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10am-2.30pm and 5-8.30pm and Saturday 10am-3pm. For more information visit www.piercings4u.co.uk or call 0796 7248 787.