Herron uses piercings to stand out


Ashley Herron poses in her piecing studio.

By Corinne Doubek

Poising herself ever so delicately above the pale, sweaty, erratic breathing body, she narrows her vision and lines up her steady hand with the carefully placed tiny black dot. Requesting a deep breath and then tak- ing her own advice, she swiftly plunges the long, hollow needle into the no-longer perfectly smooth skin. Color finally comes back to the body lying on the table in front of her and the gloves come off with a snap of finality. The once fear stricken customer now stands and walks confidently to the mirror to view her now pierced self, courtesy of Ashley Herron.

Finding fame in a small town like Ashland, Ohio is difficult. Local heroes are going to be common; the all-star football player and the homecoming queen will be recognizable for years. But for someone that comes from this town to be famous all around the state and further would take something much more than winning a high school prize. Local Ashlander Herron of Mainstreet Studios has just what that something is.

Growing up in a small town does not really provide many opportunities for making it big unless someone takes the matter into their own hands. Herron under- stood this. Coming from an even smaller town than Ashland, Bellville, OH, everyone in her hometown knew her and she knew everyone else. It was the kind of town where no one ever left and their dreams con- sisted of graduating high school, getting married, and having kids. Living paycheck to paycheck and borrow- ing sugar was common there. Aspirations were low and Herron did not seem to fit in due to her constant desire to leave town and make a name for herself somewhere else. Transferring her life over to Ashland did not seem like a big change; but it was big enough.

At the age of just 16-years-old, it became appar- ent to Herron that it was not the small-town life she was made for; instead, she wanted people to know her name. More specifically, she decided that piercing bodies was her calling. After a little research and

investigation, Herron’s connections were made and an apprenticeship was negotiated with Joe Crossmon, a now just-as-famous tattooist.

“She is nothing like she was back then…now she has confidence in what she is doing and knows how to handle herself,” Crossmon said.

Herron has been a part of the Mainstreet family for over seven years. At 27 years old, she believes she is right where she needs to be for now. With a constant surrounding of supporters and encouragers, Herron can now move forward with her endeavor to become even more famous to people outside the Ashland area.

She continues to learn more about her job in order to expand her clientele and gain recognition. After learning the basics from Crossmon, she dove into more detailed and intense piercings like surface-to- surface and dermal anchors. Herron travels as close as Akron and as far as Las Vegas to keep her knowledge up-to-date. There she visits the Association of Professional Piercers where she spends eight hours a day for an entire week learning techniques to keep her clients happy and safe.

As for her career on a daily basis, Herron likes to keep it simple: have fun, do her job, and meet as many people as possible. One such person is Ashland University Junior Jordynn Skipper. Without other students who had visited Mainstreet, the Northeast Ohio resident may never have heard of Herron. But, lucky for her, many have.

“It was clear that Ashley knows what she is do- ing. She was very happy and calm about everything; I would definitely go back to her for another piercing,” Skipper said.

There are many reasons why Herron has become such a recognizable name among Ashlanders and more. Her continuous and constant positive attitude in the workplace allows her to connect with customers on a personal level. Instead of focusing solely on mak- ing money, she focuses a lot of her attention on mak- ing her customers feel like they are always welcome, appreciated and needed. While many other piercers only see their customers inside their business, Herron makes it a point to visit them at parties, bars and more. It is for these reasons that Herron has become a local celebrity. As for sticking with the fame and upholding her name, she has high hopes for the future. There are no regrets for Herron; instead, looking ahead to her possibilities keeps her going. It is not necessarily the fame her name has acquired that entices her; it is the satisfaction of doing what she loves and helping

people achieve something they want. “I’ve decided I will not be happy until I make the money my boss makes…And then when I make what he makes I want to make more,” she said.

Being in an industry that is not worked in by

many, the Mainstreet family and Herron are subject to meeting all sorts of people and families. Herron has had quite a few points in her career worth remembering. For example, swingers have asked her to join them while she was in the middle of piercing their genitals. Dealing with events like that on a daily basis requires her to have just as interesting of a personality.

Lucky for Ashland and its general normality, Herron does not plan on leaving. Her regular, strange and new clients and the small-town area are enough to keep her around.