Piercers - Jesse Villemaire and Daniel Thomas
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A message from the studio owner, Jesse Villemaire.
As the head piercer at Thrive Studios since 2005, I felt it was important to share with you some news about my current life passions and projects. I’d also like to welcome the extremely talented professional piercer to Thrive Studios, Daniel Thomas!
As Thrive has grown throughout the years, I have as well. Many of you now know me as a reputable adventure photographer within my new business venture, Follow Me North. I’m also still heavily involved within the tattoo and piercing community and created an industry specific health and safety educational platform across Canada called Progressive Mentorship.
These two new projects have taken off substantially and my fear was finding a reputable piercer that was willing to move to Cambridge and take on this new challenge of filling the roll as a full time piercer. Obviously this can be an intimidating task and it would take the right person to fill this position.
Once Daniel Thomas had heard Thrive Studios was potentially seeking a piercer he jumped at the opportunity to meet with me. At the time he was working in Edmonton and I invited him to Thrive to work as a guest piercer for one week to see if he would fit in. It was an instant bond. His charming Australian accent helped quite a bit as well I’m sure.
My clients that have come to love the Thrive experience had welcomed Daniel with open arms. Since March of 2017 Daniel has decided to make Cambridge is home and looks forward to meeting all of you!
Recently I had a chance to sit down and ask him a few questions…
An introduction to Professional Piercer, Daniel Thomas.
Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from?
My name is Daniel Thomas and I'm originally from Perth, Western Australia and have lived in Beautiful Canada since 2015. I spent the first 2 years living in Edmonton Alberta before moving to Cambridge Ontario to work at Thrive studios in 2017.
That seems like a weird move why did you come to Canada from sunny Australia?
I loveeeeee Canada. I am a traveler at heart, after a backpacking trip through North America in 2011, I always had it in my mind that I would like to live in Canada for a little while. When I came in 2015 to pierce in Edmonton didn’t think I would stay for too long but Canada keeps digging its claws into me and feels like home now. I still find snow so whimsical as I never really saw any as a child except for in movies. You can still sometimes find me trying to catch snowflakes on my tongue in winter.
How long have you been piercing?
I started piercing in 2005 at Primitive Body Piercing in Perth. I fluttered in and out of the industry being young and trying to find my place in the world but my heart always brought me back to body piercing.
What other jobs did you have?
Well, I did picture framing for a while which was awesome because I love seeing different art every day and it allowed me a creative outlet. I then moved into the disability industry because I really love to help people, I worked numerous roles in that industry from in-home support to helping people with injuries and disabilities to get back into the workforce.
I enjoyed these jobs but when I would do casual/part-time work as body piercer you could see that was where my passion was and I think that is because it gives me a creative outlet and as well as the ability to connect with people.
What do you enjoy about being a body piercer?
Oh sooooo many things, too many to list really. Obviously, from the last question, it’s a lot to do with that connection with clients as well as a creative element. Working in a studio that only sells the highest quality body jewellery also allows me to offer my clients the best solutions for their piercing. My clients love this! I’m also am a bit of a nerd when it comes to technical aspects of body piercing like sterilization.
Did you have a mentor in body piercing or someone that really inspired you?
Many people have inspired me and have helped me on my journey to be a body piercer, but none as much as one of my best friends Eden Thomson of Absolution in Christchurch, New Zealand. Eden was the Piercer that inspired me to come back to this industry full time and helped move my career into 5th gear. When I was living in Christchurch any free moment I had I would be in the studio trying to soak up every piece of knowledge I could from his brain. He introduced me to blogs of piercers we both looked up too such as Jef Saunders and Brian Skellie. We would sit around and talk about the blogs and find ways to improve our skills from the knowledge we learned. We still often Skype or talk over text about piercing procedures and help each other grow.
Do you have a favorite piercing to do?
Anything in the ear. it might sound a little creepy but I find ears so interesting and beautiful, everyone has unique folds and shapes to their ears, with Thrive Studios carrying such a large range of designer body jewellery that also has many unique shapes and sizes I love to find that perfect item that fits in to your ear like a jigsaw puzzle piece you never knew you were missing.
Where can we find you if you are not piercing?
I’m trying to get out of having a one track mind for body piercing but that can be hard for us piercers. Lately, in my free time, I have found myself reading a lot, exploring beautiful Ontario and listening to podcasts.
Have you done any extra education since finishing your apprenticeship?
I have attended the 2015 and 2017 Association of Professional Piercers Conference in Las Vegas and I plan to attend every year from now on. It is such an amazing conference that lets me network with the other amazing piercers from around the world, not only do we learn in the classrooms with lectures we also learn just from talking to each other and sharing ideas.
I also have attended Progressive Mentorships bloodborne pathogens and infection control class and their sterilization workshop.
You say you are a traveler at heart where is your favorite place you have visited?
That is a hard one, I love each place for its own reasons, but I would have to say Oaxaca, Mexico. I have been twice to Oaxaca to visit my friends at the Gorilla Glass Factory. On one trip I was there at the same time as Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead festival), we were invited by a local community to come dance and celebrate with them. We paraded through the streets of this little community from house to house dancing and partying (and drinking a little too much Mescal). It was beautiful seeing the way this culture had a positive way of dealing with the loss of loved ones.
Any closing remarks?
I am really happy to be working at Thrive Studios, obviously, Jesse Villemaire has left some big boots to fill but I plan to continue the outstanding quality body piercing with superb customer service Cambridge had grown to expect for over a decade. Come find me online and say hi, or better yet come visit me in person at Thrive Studios. I look forward to piercing you soon!