The Ultimate Guide to Starting an Eyelash Extension Business
Eyelash extensions have been around for centuries, but the craze for permanent, feathery, long lashes only hit the beauty industry in the late 2000’s. It’s a trend that isn’t showing any signs of slowing, and many young entrepreneurs have already capitalised on its popularity by starting their own lash extension businesses.
Starting your own lash business is an exciting, flexible venture, and for people with the necessary skills, attention to detail and artistic flair, it can also be incredibly lucrative.
However, starting an eyelash extension business can be daunting. It’s difficult to know where to begin, especially if you’re new to the beauty industry. What equipment will you need? Can you work from home or should you be in a salon? How will you market yourself?
In this ultimate guide we’ll set out the steps you need to take to ensure the success of your eyelash extension business — even if you’ve never had prior business experience.
We will explore:
It’s likely to be a rewarding career move if you’re prepared for the challenges. The beauty industry can be incredibly competitive, and you’ll need drive, determination and a passion for what you do.
Above all, this step by step guide will help assess the suitability of this industry to your passions and goals.
Defining Your Business Goals and Industry Fit
Before you launch your own lash business, it is essential to ask yourself what your short term and long term goals for the business are. It is necessary to have a clear path to ensure you can measure progress along the way.
Here are some guiding questions to assist you in deciding your suitability for the lash industry:
After answering these questions, you should have a good indicator of what your expectations are when running your eyelash extension business. These answers can be referred to when setting specific targets in the future or helping you decide the steps you need to take to set up shop.
Startup Costs involved
Location, Location, Location
One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is where to run your business. Lash technicians can either work in house from their own home, or go into a beauty salon. The one you chose will either increase or decrease your startup costs.
Running your business from home means you’ll have lower startup costs than if you decide to rent or buy a space. It’s a great way to dip a toe in the industry and see if you’ll truly enjoy making it your career without the pressure of being locked in by a lease.
In house lash technicians are incredibly common these days, and many clients expect – and potentially prefer – to be getting their lashes done in their technician’s home.
If you have the space, it might be valuable to set up a dedicated lash room in your house where you can work.
If you’re working in house, a massive benefit is having flexible hours. You might decide to work in the evenings and nights to attract clients who don’t have time to get their lashes done during the day. The hours you choose to run your business can be a massive point of difference between you and your competitors.
One of the biggest perks of choosing to run your business out of a salon is a dedicated space for you and your clients. You may not be comfortable having clients come into your home, and likewise, some clients mightn’t like the idea of being in your private space and would prefer to be pampered in a salon.
You may also find you’re able to retain a better work-life balance by working in a beauty salon. You’ll likely have specific opening and closing times, and won’t be tempted to squeeze in extra appointments before or after business hours.
Some options to consider if you want to run your business from a salon are:
- Rent a space in an established salon. Many hair and nail salons offer spaces to lash technicians. It can be a mutually beneficial relationship because you’ll bring clients to one another. You also might prefer to work in the company of others.
- Rent a space on your own. This will significantly increase your startup and ongoing costs, however you’ll have the benefit of a private space for you and your clients. You’ll also be able to properly brand and decorate your own salon, which is great for increasing business. This might be something to consider once you’ve established a profitable lash business.
Another thing to add to your startup costs will be equipment. You’ll need a range of things, including:
You may also need a salon chair or bed for your clients to lie on while you do their lashes.
While you may be trying to keep costs as low as possible, investing in high-quality glue and lashes will give your customers the best looking natural lashes and an overall quality experience. Having high-quality products and tools will ensure you get return clients, which is great for your business book.
Lash artists can source equipment from a wide variety of places. You’ll be able to find a lash starter kit pretty easily, but it’s always a good idea to invest in a few different products such as volume lashes, synthetic lashes or mink lashes.
Especially when you’re starting out, it’s wise to be able to cater to the needs of different clients. Some people might require a sensitive lash adhesive, others might be allergic to mink, and some might prefer a bold, full set of 3-D lashes.
There are many ways to market your lash business to new customers, such as through social media, magazines, word of mouth, and so on. Some mediums are more expensive than others, so it is crucial to understand who your customers are before you start marketing.
Marketing is explored more in-depth below; however, the cost of marketing is only relevant to the amount of revenue it generates. Therefore, it may be a great idea to trial different types of advertising mediums to produce an optimum mix.
If you’re just starting out, you might prefer to focus on building your business social accounts up to attract customers using the tips below.
How to Market Your business
As mentioned before, there are several ways to spread your marketing across different mediums and platforms, the most common being social media. Creating an Instagram account for your business is a fantastic way to showcase your work, as well as providing an easy way for potential clients to book in or ask questions via direct message.
When making social media accounts for your business, think of them as portfolios:
Your social accounts will play a big role in boosting publicity for your business. Consider offering free services to people with a more extensive following base, in return for a social media post about their experience. Designing specific ads on Instagram and Facebook relevant to your local area can work as well.
Another cheap way to get your name out is to join Facebook beauty groups using your business account. In these groups, you can advertise your services — maybe at a slightly discounted rate to attract new clients — and you’ll have the benefit of immediately reaching an interested audience. When you make posts in these groups, it’s a good idea to include pictures of your work or a link to your other social accounts so potential customers have a greater sense of trust in you.
Client Relationships & Word of Mouth
Initially, your clients should be your family and friends to perfect your lash training. Once you start lashing new clients though, the relationship you build with them is crucial.
Positive relationships are fundamental for a business’s success, and word of mouth is a powerful tool for increasing business. Your reputation will be influenced by what clients say about you to other people, so make sure high-quality lashes are given to everyone who books in with you. This way, your clients are more likely to refer their friends and family to your salon.
Lastly, positive feedback and reviews only further increase awareness of your business and help you maintain an excellent reputation for return clientele.
Sanitisation and Safety Regulations
It is imperative you understand the sanitation and safety regulations around being a lash technician. The eye is a sensitive area, and if clients place their trust in you, you need to know how to keep them safe.
If you have a clean salon and sanitised tools, your business’ reputation will also massively benefit.
You should be properly sanitising and disinfecting your lash tools:
For this, you should wash your tools with soap and water, and then proceed to disinfect them with a barbicide or germicide, following the product instructions. You must then wash your tools thoroughly again. It’s a good idea to have a sterile place to store your tools as well so they’re always ready for use.
Make sure to check your state’s laws and regulations on decontamination as well so you can adhere to them.
With proper qualifications, you should have a thorough understanding of the risks of eyelash extensions and how to prevent them.
Some of the most serious risks are:
If you don’t have an adequate knowledge of safety and risk management as an eyelash technician, you should undertake a course to get up to scratch before you start working on people.
Managing your business once started
Organisation and scheduling are essential to running an eyelash extension business. You want to ensure you are seeing as many clients as possible at your business’ inception. Therefore, it may be an idea to consider scheduling software. This will allow you to track and build your schedule for the hours that you wish to work. Scheduling software can also play a role in gaining more clients as it can connect people looking for specific services such as eyelash extension on Google or other mediums by merely typing, “eyelash extensions near me”.
In addition to scheduling, it is essential to know how much you wish to charge for your services. It should be more than enough to cover your operating costs and pay yourself a wage. Therefore, it may be a good idea to do some research on similar businesses to gauge a price.
You’ll also want to look into bookkeeping for your business, whether you choose to outsource it to a small business accountant, or choose to undertake a short bookkeeping course to lower your costs and manage it yourself. Bookkeeping is an imperative part of managing your business. It helps you monitor your financial health, takes the pain out of tax time, and the documentation is necessary to have in case of an audit.
The beauty industry can be a competitive and challenging industry at first. However, It’s important to realise that building a business from scratch takes a substantial amount of time and effort. It is essential to treat every client with the respect and care you would expect for yourself. By doing this, you’ll see massive benefits for your business.
And, at the end of the day, try to maintain a positive outlook and attitude. You’ll have bad days and great days, but always let your passion drive you forward, and be proud of yourself for making such a bold career move.