Creation Body Piercing and Tattoo is a local piercing and tattoo shop here in Thunder Bay, ON. Originally opening in 1995, Creation and its staff has become well accustomed to the use of social media platforms in their day-to-day business life as their client and competitor base grew. The shop itself has accounts on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr, which keep current and future clients in the know of what is happening in the shop. Additionally, every artist, piercer, and team member of Creation has their own Facebook and Instagram account affiliated with the shop. This is a great way to not only promote sales and new merchandise – for example currently running “Friday the 13th/Halloween Flash Sale on tattoos until Oct. 31 – but also for clients to directly keep up with how and what their artist has been producing as of late. The comments sections on social media platforms allow us, as consumers, to complement work, ask questions, and state our opinions. A step further, however, is the direct messaging feature which has made it extremely simple to do everything from asking specific questions to your piercer or artist, to book appointments, and share inspiration for new pieces with them. From a personal standpoint, I have been going to Creation for the past six years. One of the things I like the most about dealing with the team is that they are very responsive to comments, questions, messages, and emails from their clients, it allows us numerous forms of contact with our modification professionals that we can’t really get anywhere else. Overall, I think that their approach with having a social media presence over multiple – and growing – platforms has aided the business to consumer relationship immensely.
In entering the dance wear market, there are two main target audiences we need to consider. Demographically speaking, we first typically see young girls/adolescents between the ages of 10-17. They are likely still in public school and high school, and single. Second would be mothers of these young women, who are likely graduates of post-secondary studies. These moms are likely married with children, and possibly a blended family. We are able to make these assumptions due to the overall cost of dance classes/competitive dance training. In psychographic terms, lifestyle choices of these mothers and daughters, typically fall into the followers’ bracket. They like to be trendy with the latest styles and products, as middle to upper class beings, meaning they have sufficient means of disposable income. The assumption can also be made that their opinions matter to others like them, and they share information on where they got their latest products. Methods of communication which would be sufficient in communicating with both of these audiences include social media platforms such as: Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, and Pinterest. They can also be reached by email, regular mail, flyers, demos, in person and “refer a friend, receive a discount offers”. Overall, this specific target group is one easy to reach through numerous mediums of communication, digital, and not.
My name is Kihannah (Key-on-ah) Perala, I was born May 17, 1998 at McKellar Hospital, to parents Lori-Anne and Jonas, in my hometown of Thunder Bay, ON. My mother is currently an SSP for the local Catholic School Board, and my father continues his 30-year career as a welder/pipefitter with Local 628. Initially, when my mother became pregnant, she was expecting twin girls. However, for uncontrollable circumstances, my sister did not make it past the first trimester. Uniquely enough, upon my birth, I had an extra finger on my outer left hand, approximately the size of a pea. To this day, even after the initial removal of the extra finger, I still have a small bump in the location it sprouted. I like to think, as per the advice of my family doctor, that this, in a way, is me living for both of us. Aside from my parents, my family is quite large. My mom, Lori, being the youngest of nine siblings, and my father the youngest of two boys. Just two and a half years, to the day, after my life began, I was introduced to the most challenging, yet rewarding experience. The birth of my younger brother, Kohl. As children, he and I fought tooth and nail, as most siblings do. However, no matter how much, often, or brutal those fights were, we both ended up with a friend for life. On January 6, 2001, just two short months after my brother was born, my grandfather (mothers father), 87-year-old George Edward passed away. This event was traumatic for me in particular, as I was with him previously to his death, when my mother had to call for an ambulance. After this incident, I was terrified of hospitals, ambulances, paramedics, and doctors for the following 5-8 years. A little over a year later, in October of 2002, my Varri (grandfather) on my dads’ side passed away. This was far more devastating for me, due to the fact that our bond was unlike anything else I have ever experienced. I still feel as though I carry a hole in me that will never be truly filled due to his loss.
Following the traumatic events of my early childhood, I was finally able to find a passion. I begun take dance lessons when I was eight years old, I never truly took them seriously until I got closer to the age of 10. I’m not quite sure what changed inside me, however, I started taking classes at the competitive level, and before I knew it, I practically lived at the studio. The opportunities offered to me through my dance career were countless, travel, workshops, classes, scholarships, lifetime friendships, the opportunity to be part of a team, and so much more. I think the most important lessons I learned while taking dance involved self-discipline, working hard to get where you want to be and achieve your goals, and certainly determination. Now, dance is not a cheap sport, there’s costumes, shoes, tights, practice wear, hair products, makeup, props, travel costs, competition costs, food (raising a dancer is worse than raising a football player… we never stop eating…), photo fees, the actual cost of classes, solos, duets, trios, productions, did I mention food ?Fortunately we had many opportunities to participate in fundraising to aid with these costs, I also begun working at the studio to teach kinder-dance (ages 3-6) and my paycheck used to be put toward my fees. I was a die hard. The year I turned 14 became increasingly difficult. Teenage hormones were everywhere, and when you put 8 or 10 teenage girls together all of the time, there’s bound to be drama. As far as my adolescent brain and body were concerned I looked fine. Maybe some acne here and there, but I thought that it was totally normal, I was pretty just the way I was. I then began to experience something that is fairly common in dancers. It has to do with the fact that we are constantly looking at our bodies in mirrors to ensure that our technique is proper and making progress. I just remember thinking to myself one day, “wow… you’re fat”, and at this point I may not have been wrong. I have never been and never will be a 120lb Barbie doll, even at 14 years old I had womanly curves, and was a little on the chunky side. Thus began my obsession with reaching a specific goal weight. This quickly and not to my immediate knowledge turned into an eating disorder. I was obsessed with counting calories, measuring myself, weighing myself, restricting foods I could and could not eat, starving myself for certain lengths of time… I remember one specific instance where the dance team was doing summer stretch and workout class. It was probably about 90F outside at the time, and I found the heaviest sweatpants and sweater I owned to wear to class, keep in mind that this is already covering tights, a leotard, shorts, wool socks, warm up leggings, and a loose-fitting shirt. I worked out wearing all of those layers for probably three hours.
The following year, I started high school (I was homeschooled from grades 7-9 from severe bullying). This change in environment for me was initially a positive experience. However, it was overwhelming trying to balance my dance life and school. This further impacted me, as high school comes with drama, and that drama coupled with dance studio drama, as well as, an existing anxiety disorder, ended up making everything too much to handle. Thus, I decided the best choice for me was to discontinue with dance. After this decision, I began to feel much better, but was diagnosed with clinical depression a short while later. I found attending school extremely difficult, making friends was hard, and I always thought that everyone around me was staring or judging. After three long years of misdiagnosis and psychological assessments, I was finally presented with a formal diagnosis. This felt like an elephant removed from my chest, as I had finally been heard and presented with options to treat my symptoms and overall well-being. Although, mental health is a struggle, I have learned may ways to cope and aid others. These experiences I have had throughout my life so far, have helped shape me into the person I am today. I have experienced heartache, trauma, hard times, and success. Although it is not an easy path, I would not change any of it.
Vacation? What’s a vacation? What I wouldn’t give to have a few days of freedom without having to worry about managing staff, a social life, and school. Oh well… One can dream.
The last vacation that my jam packed schedule allowed was back in April of this year. The time of year where here in Thunder Bay, the weather is usually melancholy with grey skies and mounds of slush up to your ankles. My boyfriend (Jeremy) and I had just recently moved in together and had been tirelessly working on making our house feel like a home; on top of both of us working full-time and myself going to school. One evening, he received a phone call from his dad saying that he was thinking of taking a road trip back to his home town sometime in the near future. After the phone call ended, Jeremy turned to me with the biggest smile on his face and said: “Do you want to meet my grandparents?” and I immediately blurted out the words: “Yes, of course I do!”
Flash forward to the night before we leave.
Jeremy and I are collecting items and checking things off of our packing list, when all of a sudden the largest wave of pure anxiety crashes over me. The look on my face must have given him every bit of information that I couldn’t with my own voice in that very moment, because his face fell expressionless and the only thing he said was: “You aren’t coming… Are you”. After a long sleepless night, our alarm went off and he left to meet his dad (Stephane). 45 minutes later they returned, with his younger brother Jayden and the three pleaded me to come along. I’m glad to say that I was able to defeat the constrictor that is anxiety and walk myself into the truck to start our adventure.
The car ride was a long eighteen hours. We skipped through heavy traffic by traveling the northern route from here, passing through small places like Geraldton, Hearst, Cochrane, and Kapuskasing. The scenery was absolutely breath-taking, and we were able to see many of the unique offerings of each place along the way.
Early the next morning, we finally arrived at our destination. An adorable little white farm-style house right off the highway near River-Rouge, QC. The couple standing at the front porch reminded me of Carl and Ellie from the 2009 movie UP. I was soon introduced to them, Mammi and Pappi.
The first few days had me in culture-shock overload. Every food item consisted of some form of maple syrup, the sugar and heavy cream in most making me unbelievably sick. The family, however, accepted me instantaneously. Asking many questions about my life, family, job, goals, and of course “Quand est le mariage et les bebe?”
Our little vacation turned into a humble routine for the next ten days. Wake up in the morning, eat breakfast, go out into the bush to get to the sugar shack. Collect the tree sap from the containers, and deliver it to whichever uncle was working to make syrup that day.
Overall, after a rough start, this will be a trip that I remember for a lifetime.
Picture Credit: Kihannah Perala
Church in Montreal