EXCLUSIVE: Studs to Open 10 Stores This Year

Studs has major growth plans for 2024.

The ear-piercing studio is opening 10 new storefronts this year as part of its rapid retail growth plan. Studs’ newest studio opens on Friday in Rockefeller Center, marking the company’s sixth location in New York City.

Studs, which launched in 2019 with its first store in NoLIta, has developed a loyal, younger customer base with its modern and inviting piercing studios and trend-driven earrings. Studs has been able to grow at a steady rate year-to-year, opening 23 locations across the U.S. in just under five years. 

“We’ve really focused on making sure and proving to ourself that the concept of Studs worked in many different types of markets,” said Studs cofounder Anna Harman. “We have stores in urban metros like New York, L.A. and Chicago and we also have a store in Madison, Wisc. We’re really focused on the idea that Studs can be everywhere in the future.”

In addition to the Rockefeller Center location, Studs will be opening new stores in San Diego, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. Studs’ location in Atlanta is its first in the city. 

Studs' Rockefeller Center store

Studs’ Rockefeller Center store.

Courtesy of Studs

The company has taken a multipronged approach to retail, focused on three things: online shoppers, demand in existing markets and partnering with like-minded developers, Harman said. The brand mines information on where its online customer lives as it looks to target a retail presence in non-urban areas.

But cities are important to the business, too, Harman said, which is why Studs has opened multiple locations in the same city. For instance, New York City will have seven Studs locations by the end of the year with the addition of a store in the Meatpacking District, while Boston will have four total. 

“We have a lot of excess demand [in New York], and so we’re going to open more stores here in order to fulfill that,” she said. “We also think there are different types of customers here — some are local and some are tourists. Rockefeller Center is going to be most likely by and large a tourist customer, with some locals mostly people who work in and around Rockefeller Center.” 

The third element of Studs’ retail strategy is partnering with real estate developers to be first or early to market. Harman explained over the years Studs has maintained relationships with developers like Westfield Group and the Irvine Company to open in their new spaces.

A selection of Studs earrings

A selection of Studs earrings.

Courtesy of Studs

Studs opened locations between 2021 and 2022 at a time when the retail landscape was finding its footing again after the challenges presented during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The first store that we opened in 2021 was in Austin and it was our first store outside of New York City,” Harman said. “I remember going to the store opening and feeling so energized by the experience of getting to open a store again because at the end of the day, Studs is a store business. You can’t get your ears digitally pierced so COVID[-19] or no COVID[-19], we had to march forward and continue on the mission of the company, which was to create this giant retail footprint.”

Harman explained Studs has been able to continue the momentum of its store openings by leveraging its quick growth and homing in on its in-store customer experience.

“When you can provide amazing customer experience, it means that word of mouth and referral can become your biggest organic channel of acquisition,” she said. “We spend very little money on marketing and I really credit the retail team with all they’re doing to provide amazing customer experiences because that’s the reason people want to come to the studios and why they want to come back.” 

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