Deeper Meaning is a series where we explore the personal stories of the Deep Roots community. This week we spoke with Deep Roots’ Co-Owner Kat Wickersham, uncovering her beginnings in the industry and the inspiration behind some of her favorite piercings.
At the end of the 10-year-long year that was 2020, Kat Wickersham called me up as she does every week to check in on my progress as the newest employee at Deep Roots. After exchanging marketing ideas for an hour or so we began discussing our favorite TED Talks, specifically her fondness for “How great leaders inspire action” from author Simon Sinek. His mantra of “Starting With Why?” was at the center of her leadership philosophy, which led our chat down a rabbit hole that shed light on how she and Deep Roots got started in the piercing industry.
As far back as she can remember, Kat had always been fond of piercings. On her 5th birthday, all she wanted was to get her ears pierced at the local mall chain store (you know the one). Unfortunately, her earlobes swelled up and her piercings had to be surgically removed. Four more attempts and five birthdays later, her ears finally healed properly as her curiosity about the culture behind piercings grew too.
From the Maasai tribe of Kenya to London’s punk rock scene in the ‘70s, Kat ate up all the knowledge she could about the history of body art at her school library. Years later when she met her future husband (piercing pioneer and Deep Roots Co-Owner Rion Wickersham), he explained how her troubles with piercing came from the sub-par quality of her earrings- like many others, she was highly allergic to the nickel in the metal alloy. Her unfortunate piercing experience as a child is a large reason why Kat is so deeply committed to offering the best experiences and jewelry through Deep Roots, which prides itself on only offering the highest quality jewelry, made with implant-grade bioinert metals that don’t react when they come in contact with the body. All installations are also performed in sterile and inviting environments with trained professionals that take pride in their work, which helps reassure kids that come in with their parents to get pierced that Deep Roots is the best place to be.
Even her love of the ‘70s burgeoning punk scene became part of their jewelry aesthetic, including fashion-forward designer pieces like the God Save the Queen Threadless GSTQ Genuine Diamond with White Topaz and the Threadless Chelsea CZ from Buddha Jewelry’s new Luxe Punk line. Kat’s excitement for body art is clear, but it was the purpose behind Deep Roots that broke down my preconceived notions of what a piercing studio can be.
It wasn't the “who” or “what,” but the “Starting with Why?” part of Kat’s story that helped me appreciate the care that went into the creation of Deep Roots. Every part of the in-studio piercing experience was optimized to prevent the same issues that she went through from happening to others. If I was going to express myself with new body art, I’d definitely rather be in the hands of a pro with the best tools than a mall employee trying their best. Knowing what I know now, I’m sure this is where I would plant my roots.