Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael “Bambi” Held.
Michael, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I never sought to get into the body piercing industry, it just sorta all happened by accident. I saw some scarification work online one day and got curious about learning to do it myself one day, so I went to my current Piercer (Shane Post) and asked him if he’d ever teach me how to perform it, and he said he’d never teach anyone scarification if they didn’t already know the basics of body piercing and he asked if I would be interested in apprenticing so I did.
I was an apprentice under the guidance of Shane Post at Wingnut Tattoo and Piercing in St. Cloud MN for two years before I got my full license, and I continued to work at that shop till 2016.
For two of those years, I ran and managed one of their locations in Brainerd, MN and doing a few guest spots in Coral Springs FL at Joe Amato’s shop “AMATO fine jewelry and body piercing”. I actually stepped out of the piercing industry in 2016 and went back into my old line of work as a welder for a year until I came across an opportunity to come out to LA and work at Ancient Adornments Body Piercing in West Hollywood in 2017.
Body piercing just doesn’t seem to want to let me go, so now, I’m accepting that and going to go out of the country for a few months to take a quick break from life.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Choosing to pursue the piercing industry has absolutely had a vast amount of challenges and losses. First and foremost, I come from a typical upper-class family that follows the path of the stereotypical “American Dream,” go to college, get married, have 2 1/2 kids, get a dog, white picket fence home, etc… and among me and all my cousins I chose a different path. My father and mother have been extremely supportive, but I’ve heard comments from other members of the family that there’s no stability, and I should get a “real job”, the normal conservative family comments.
Prior to being a piercer, I was a precision welder, building such things as bioreactors, pharmaceutical tanks, beer tanks, oil rig components and more. The pay was great, especially in my early 20’s, but when I decided to go into piercing full time, I lost a huge chunk of my income for a number of years. It got so bad I had to file for bankruptcy and had my car repossessed. It was difficult to have such struggles and doubts, but I knew that this was something I was good at and I enjoyed far more than anything I had done before so I was going to make something out of it. I am now in a more financially comfortable position than I ever was welding, sticking through the tough times and struggles has now paid off more than I could have ever imagined.
We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I offer people not only a wonderfully thought out piercing, but an experience, from the moment I say hello to the final smile as they admire their new piercing, I give my clients my full and undivided attention. I have clients come in, and we discuss their ideas and expectations for their new piercings, and I take time to discuss why something would or would not work ideally for them, laying out all possibilities and developing a one of a kind combination of piercings specifically for that person’s anatomy.
There are plenty of amazing piercing shops in LA and the surrounding area, doing incredible piercings with great jewelry, but most of them are lacking in offering the full experience. Being able to give someone an uninterrupted consultation, listen to their expectations for their piercing and give them what they’re looking for, along with having them feel like they’re hanging out with their friend just having playful conversations, relaxed and excited.
What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I never ran with the crowd, always interested in activities I could do by myself, skateboarding, BMX, hiking, video games, etc. I was definitely the nerd in school, good grades but always picked last in grade school.
Things tended to turn around in high school, and my social abilities started blooming, and I ended up starting to run with the reckless crowd for a bit, did a lot of dumb shit, but I was fortunate not to have any lasting repercussions from any of it.
All of that really helped shape me into what I am today, and as tough as some of those times were, I appreciate the lessons I learned from them.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: Bambigrewamustache
- Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/?_rdr
@katrinalxo – IG, Tiffany Foley