In her own words: Reno body piercer Angela Watson
Name/title: Angela Watson. owner, Black Hole Body Piercing
Number of years in this job: We will be going into our 20th year in 2014
Years in this profession: I have been piercing for about 21 years
Education: I took a few years of community college when I was young
Last book read: “Soiled Dove: Prostitution in the Early West” by Anne Seagraves — another affirmation of my love for northern Nevada
Favorite flick: “The Goonies,” and any horror flick.
Spouse, kids or pets: All of the above. My husband, Levi Watson, is a math teacher at Mt. Rose elementary, a K-8 school. I have Jude and Lucy. Lucy is 5, and Jude is 12 and a sixth-grader. We just got a dog from the Humane Society; her name is Blue, and she is a Chihuahua mix of some sort. She’s a perfect fit for our family.
Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about Black Hole Body Piercing and what you do.
Angela Watson: In the beginning, I was the only full-time piercer, but over the years I have taken more of an administrative role, though I still do pierce. Over the last five years, when my daughter was born to the time she went to kindergarten, I was afforded the luxury of being able to stay home with her because I have a really good staff and I was able to rely on them to do the day-to-day work. These days I am here three days a week, and I work on a lot of business-building activities.
NNBW: How did you get into the piercing profession?
Watson: By being an enthusiast myself. I was 21 years old and went to maybe the first piercing shop around, The Gauntlet in San Francisco. The following year, a girlfriend of mine wanted to get her navel pierced, and I wanted to get my septum pierced. We found someone in Sacramento to do it, and that person was teaching people how to pierce. I did some piercings around the United States and then found Black Hole and bought it.
NNBW: Is this the career you had envisioned for yourself?
Watson: Absolutely not. I thought I would have something more to do with community efforts, or psychology, therapy, counseling — something more person-to-person. But piercing is kind of that way. We are very invasive to people’s bodies and their situations. People tell things to their piercer that they’ve never told anyone.
NNBW: How has the resurgence of Reno’s Midtown area helped your business?
Watson: We have always had a good strong base of loyal customers in the area, but the Midtown resurgence brings more walk-in traffic. Someone might be shopping at one of the other businesses and they’ll stop in just to see what we are.
NNBW: What do you like most about running a small business?
Watson: As a parent, I loved the opportunity to stay home with my daughter when she was born — people don’t get that opportunity often. If the business was in its infancy I wouldn’t have gotten that opportunity. But I had a good staff, and I had learned how to be a business owner, so I was able to let other people do things and take a backseat role.
I really love that I get to employ a lot of people I know. I have two sisters working here. And I love the community aspect. You see a lot more of what other people do to make their businesses successful. I also get to learn more about being a business owner. I only knew how to be a piercer when I started, but now I have many other skills.
NNBW: Is there one particular piercing you enjoy more than others?
Watson: I have two. One is little girl’s earlobes. We are doing more small children’s earlobes than ever. Being able to give kids their first piercing experience, and give the education they can take for the rest of their life about piercings and how to take care of them, that is really cool. The other is a first-time piercing. It is exciting for them, and they are nervous, so being able to actively coach them through that is a really nice experience.
NNBW: What was your first job?
Watson: It was at a French cafeteria in Mission Valley in San Diego. I wore a little costume and served French food.
NNBW: What did you dream of becoming when you were a little girl?
Watson: An airline stewardess. I started flying at age 4, and I loved to say the words and point out the seat belts. That sense of adventure has never really left me.
NNBW: If you could hold on to just one memory for just the rest of your life, what would it be?
Watson: That’s a hard one because there are a few great, epic moments in your life. But it was probably a week after my daughter was born there was a moment that I realized I could not even for one second get close enough to that little body. I looked down at her and could not believe the moment. The day I signed the papers for my business also was pretty good.
NNBW: If you could retire right now, would you?
Waston: Yes — but retirement really isn’t in my future as a small business owner.
NNBW: What’s the last concert or sporting event you attended?
Watson: My husband and I saw Fleetwood Mac at Hollywood Bowl in California. We stayed at the Roosevelt, and it was a really fun weekend.
NNBW: Where’s your perfect vacation spot?
Watson: A week in Santorini, Greece. I so badly want to go there.
NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like most about working/living here?
Watson: I ended up here by happenstance. Being from Southern California, with the weather extremes here I was going to leave, but I then I met my husband. I had no desire to ever leave again. He taught me about Nevada. We did a staycation where we did 1,700 miles within the state of Nevada. This state is so beautiful and has so many different types of terrain. It has provided me and my husband the opportunity for a good life. It has a lot to offer, and I was naïve to that in the beginning.
Know someone whose perspective you would like to share with NNBW readers? Email reporter Rob Sabo at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 775-850-2146.
From a national standpoint, research shows the embrace of digital commerce is a whole decade ahead of schedule thanks to the pandemic. We spoke with the Retail Association of Nevada, Downtown Reno Partnership and the Reno+Sparks Chamber of Commerce to give local context to the growth of online retail.