Industry / Retail

Pierced by Claire’s Shows How This Savvy Chain Is Courting Gen Z and Gen Alpha


Getting your ears pierced is a rite of passage, and Claire’s—a piercing destination for more than four decades—hopes to expand on that ritual with an updated in-store experience that focuses on self-expression, the brand says.

What’s interesting about this new Pierced by Claire’s campaign is how the company is approaching what it calls Gen Zalpha. Jewelers who offer earrings—and that’s pretty much everyone—as well as those who do piercings may want to look at what the 2,300-store chain is doing in terms of its imagery, messaging, and product.

This reimagining of its legacy piercing experience comes as Claire’s has recently entered the demi-fine and lab-grown diamond world. In April, the brand introduced C Luxe, which features jewelry products—at prices ranging from $24.99 to $119.99—made using solid 18k gold and white gold, platinum, lab-grown diamonds, and gemstones.

In other words, Claire’s is coming for Generation Z and Generation Alpha (those born since 2010)—who are the future of the jewelry industry.

Claires Paris
The Paris flagship Claire’s has the look and feel of the new Pierced by Claire’s in-store experience, with bold colors and expanded earring choices. (Photo by Sansho Scott/BFA for Claire’s)

Claire’s has been in business since 1974, putting it squarely on the map for Gen X (who grew up in the ’80s), their children, and their grandchildren. It has pieced more than 120 million ears, according to company officials. The chain is described on the corporate website as “the fun fashion destination for jewelry, cosmetics, accessories, and ear piercing for tweens, teens, and young girls between 3 and 18 years of age.”

Pierced by Claire’s went live in stores in July. Claire’s debuted both a new visual identity for its piercing business and a special offer: Anyone who signed up for its loyalty program and purchased a piercing starter kit in-store receives a free pair of earrings every month for a year.

Claire’s also introduced something it is calling EarPrints, a term for how an individual styles her earrings—which could include lab-grown diamond, demi-fine, and gender-neutral piercings. An EarPrint is “as unique as each person’s fingerprint,” the brand says in its media materials, and creating them is a great back-to-school activity for its stores.

In a statement, the company told JCK: “Gen Zalpha is constantly making an impact, especially in fashion, redefining style and pushing boundaries as they find new ways to express themselves. Pierced by Claire’s builds upon the platform we have created to inspire self-expression in these generations—as well as the next. Through a reimagined experience, a playful tone, compelling new creative, inviting digital characters, free earrings for a year, and more, we are welcoming even more people to get pierced by Claire’s.”

Claires Pierced campaign
Pierced by Claire’s is out to draw in two generations, Z and Alpha, with its gender-neutral styles, the brand says.

Claire’s piercing experience has new imagery with a bold attitude. The marketing plan includes TV advertising to maintain its position as an industry leader in piercing.

By offering demi-fine and lab-grown diamonds, Claire’s can keep customers coming back to the store well beyond their initial piercing, so they don’t have to move toward other jewelry brands or stores as they reach college age or older.

Disruptive? Yes, and that’s why it’s worthwhile to watch Pierced by Claire’s and C Luxe.

“Piercing creates a deep connection with our consumers and draws new people and returning customers to our brand and stores every year, and we are proud to build on that legacy to meet the next generation,” Ryan Vero, CEO of Claire’s Holdings, said in a statement.

Top: This combination of earrings is called an EarPrint, per a new campaign by Claire’s, which has also introduced demi-fine and lab-grown diamond jewelry so customers will continue to shop at its stores after piercing. (Photos courtesy of Claire’s)

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Karen Dybis

By: Karen Dybis

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