Lash and Brow Artists Reveal Their Secrets to Success

Photo credit: Envious Lashes

Let's face it—due to the prevalence of mask-wearing throughout the current global pandemic, it’s truly become all about the eyes. The majority of the face is concealed when out and about, so the spotlight presently shines on the lashes and brows. As a result, the demand for lash and brow services continues to persist, and we talked to a few of the most prominent figures in the industry for some insight into the best practices that will help spas, salons, and lash and brow studios thrive.

Clementina Richardson, founder of Envious Lashes (multiple locations)

What would you say is the secret to your success?

The secret to my success is hard work and keeping up with the times. I have always focused on customization, seeing each client as unique and treating them accordingly.  

What was the biggest obstacle you came across while building/running your business?

The biggest obstacle I have come across is finding licensed lash artists. Insurance companies will only cover a licensed esthetician or cosmetologist.  

What tips do you have for growing a lash service business?

Be patient. It takes time to grow a clientele. 

What professional advice would you give to aspiring technicians/business owners?

I would advise them to stay with what's relevant in the lash industry. To be successful, you must be able to change with the times.  

 

Joey Healy, founder of Joey Healy Eyebrow Studio (New York City)

What would you say is the secret to your success? 

I think, for me, it's always been sticking to one lane and really focusing on it. I am a one-trick pony proudly as a brow master, but I also have a philosophy on eyebrows and I stick to it. I don't fall for every trend, so we don't do microblading, we don't do threading, we don't do lamination. I love tweezing and threading. I believe it to be the most artistic and precise. Tweezing and trimming is really the key for me for sculpting a brow, so basically sticking in one lane and standing behind your philosophy. Also, another reason for success, I think, is growing slowly and cautiously. Slow and steady does win the race. I've worked really hard for more than a decade, every single day to grow my business. I never expanded to 10 locations overnight. I didn't roll out a huge product line all at once. I started by doing house calls, and then clients came to my studio apartment, and then I opened my first studiovery smallthen I expanded to a bigger studio. So slow, steady growth, I think, is the key and not getting too ahead of yourself. And definitely sticking to one major focus of your business and really having a philosophy that you don't waver from.  


What is the biggest obstacle you came across from building and running your business?  

Building out our studio in 2015 was at the time, the hardest thing. I was 29 years old. I was opening a ground-level salon in Manhattan, which was not easy. I did it all through my own financing. There was no outside investment, no bank loan. I did it by basically reinvesting our earnings. I had to lead a team of contractors, architects, designers. I had to work with real estate lawyers, real estate brokers, commercial New York City landlords—it was hard and it was tough and I'm proud of myself that I did it, and I sometimes can't believe I did it.  


What tips do you have for growing a lash/brow service or business?  

Strong branding and marketing is essential. You need to know who you are and what makes you different. Why are you unlike any other person in the marketplace? Good old business school—they teach you the SWOT analysis. SWOT strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It's good to make a quadrant and to look at those things. What are your strengths? What do you offer? What's different? What are your opportunities? Where can you grow? Where can you expand? What new markets can you break into? What are your threats? Who's the competition? Are they nearby? What are they offering? What are your weaknesses? Maybe you have a low cash flow or you're not in a city or a town that really is tuned into your business. So really doing a strong analysis is important.  

And then, when you're past that, the marketing and branding. My tips would be getting on social media, getting on Instagram, and, in the beginning, taking lots of before and afters of your clients so you can showcase your work. Setting up a Yelp page, maybe doing lots of deals and promos up front to kind of drive traffic. Getting in a good location—get on the Main Street if you're in the small town. Location, location, location. People say it matters—it really does matter. But basically, marketing and branding take you from a local business to a global business. We're a New York City-based brand, but we've been able to sell our products the world over and help clients the world over. And that's through marketing and branding  


What professional advice would you give aspiring technicians and business owners? 

The key to me right now is customer service because we are dealing with this pandemic, so, the customer really is the king, and that is the key. Treat them very well, take your time with them. I mean I've been doing it now for 10 years, but when I made those house calls, I worked so hard to make sure that clients were happy and well taken care of. I would exude warmth. I would educate them on the brows. And I still like to think I conduct appointments in the very same way now, and that kind of attention on the client hasn't changed. And I do believe that's another key to success.  

But other professional advice: never stop learning. Never stop pushing yourself past complacency. I think that constant education is important. Even though I like tweezing and trimming, I am well-informed about microblading and lamination. I've chosen not to incorporate them into my business, but I'm always learning about them so I can understand the business that we're in. I never say never to anything. Even when I train my staff, I used to just have our training manual and just, you know, basically read through with them, like this is how we do the brows. But now I sort of learned from them, because they have their own unique experiences. So never stop learning and pushing yourself to learn more. Constant education is important in staying abreast of the newest trends, so, the minute you stop learning and you think you know it all, you don't. And I like to think I know a fair bit about eyebrows, but I'm always trying to learn more, and it makes it not only a good challenge for me, but it keeps my work fun and fresh for me. 

 

Jimena Garcia, Chanel brow artist, who sees clients in Los Angeles and at Atelier Beauté Chanel (New York City)

What would you say is the secret to your success?

I love what I do. When you love what you do, you shine. It transfers into what you’re creating and it can be felt by everyone. I appreciate my clients and the vulnerability they share because it helps me to see them more clearly and understand their essence. Personally, it has always been about more than just creating beautiful brows. I work with amazing clients, which I’m grateful for, but each appointment, I make it a personal goal to be present. I build authentic connections with my clients––to know them, is to understand them, and I take everything into consideration, including, their energy and personality traits in the design and style choices I make to achieve their most perfect brows. In return, this uncovers their natural beauty and confidence. A brow service needs to be excellent, but creating a personal connection with a client builds loyalty and that’s ultimately what creates lasting success. 

What was the biggest obstacle you came across while building/running your business?

Letting go of fear. Life can be easy if we choose to see it that way. What makes certain goals, or actions hard, is the fear we build around it that keeps us boxed in and thinking small. The best advice I can share is to throw yourself into the fire––throw yourself into what drives you and lights you up and if you have to, convince yourself you can do it––fake it until you make it, right? Focus your energy on the present moment and building the future you want; accomplishing one thing a day brings you a step closer to your goal. Do that. Consistency pays off. Pick up the phone, make the uncomfortable call, it could just change your life. The best thing you can do is fully commit to your goal and go after it unapologetically. You have nothing to lose, but your fear. 

What tips do you have for growing a brow service business?

  1. Create and master your own technique––a personalized method that sets you apart from other artists. This also gives you the option to train aspiring brow artists if you want to expand and grow your business.
  2. Think BIG. When you’re in the creative process of building your business, identify your brand identity––understand your ethos, fine-tune your mission statements, and establish a clear aesthetic. Create a world that’s authentic to you, but that can expand with you, as your business grows. Think big––dream big, but take one small step at a time; give the same attention and nurturing love to your business, as you would a baby.
  3. Excellent customer service. Think of your clients, don’t get stuck thinking about numbers. Train yourself and your employees to recognize that no matter what, the client comes first and when they do, your reputation and business will grow.

What professional advice would you give to aspiring technicians/business owners?

You're only as good as your last client.

 

Alixandria Taylor, brow and lash expert and owner of Hairy Little Things (Los Angeles and Newport Beach, CA)

What would you say is the secret to your success?

I think the secret to our success is that we recognize there is no one-size-fits-all brow and lash situation. Clients come to us and constantly say that they love how all of the brow and lash photos on our Instagram look different and are not a copy-and-paste version of the photo before. At Hairy Little Things, we are about enhancing and accentuating what clients already have going on instead of completely changing and making them look like someone else.


What was the biggest obstacle you came across while building/running your business?

This year was about taking a step back and figuring out how to pivot and survive as a brand. I keep telling my team that the strong survive, and that's what we plan to do. I am so happy and thankful for our amazing clients who continue to show us love and support through this crazy, crazy year. 


What tips do you have for growing a lash/brow service business?

The best advice that I can give someone getting into the industry is to work hard, say 'yes,' have patience, persistence, and never give up. In this industry, there are slow times, high times, and very few in between. Especially when you are first starting out, it is important to have patience. There will be times when you will question if you are in the right industry and if you have the heart for it. The answer is 'yes.' Once you get the ball rolling with your first clients, it will have a snowball effect. If you do good work, are fun to be around, and are reliable people will come back and they will tell all their friends. Trust me!

 

For more helpful tips and tricks on creating a successful lash and brow business, check out our latest issue.

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