Building Clientele and Raising Prices for your Services
Cancer. Losing a Husband. Cheating husbands. Losing a child. Going through a divorce, and even deciding to stay. What do all of these life challenges have in common? They all belong to at least one of my lash clients over the years. I literally have grown to love these women. They started out as complete strangers, coming to get beautified. But lash by lash, they have become my sisters. Our souls literally connect every 2 weeks or so when it is time for their fills. I don’t want to offend anyone, because I know how popular this term is, but “Lash Naps” just aren’t my thing. I understand that many want to file in, half sleep while someone robotically applies individual lashes, then once finished they want to pay and get back to life. There is NOTHING wrong with this… but for me, as the one applying the lashes- there is something missing when that happens. The human connection. You know the saying, “if you learn how to love your job, you will never work a day in your life?” Well I think I found out WHY I keep doing lashes, and more, HOW I have raised my prices over the years as well. Let me explain.
I often get asked, “How do you GET and KEEP your clients?” I think I get this question because many times I actually turn away people who want me to do their lashes, and I am among the most expensive around for my area. I would like to think it is because I am WAAAY better than anyone else, but I just know that is not the case. I do take great care in my work, and you can’t discount that, nor would I want to mislead anyone into thinking doing a “half-job” will ever make sense when trying to either build or keep a clientele. But to think they couldn’t get at the very least a satisfactory set of lashes somewhere else is just not living in reality.
FIND YOUR REASON (as long as it ISN’T the money)
I think that what makes this “job” a passion for me, is not a passion for lashes- it’s a passion for people! I LOVE selling eyelash extension supplies and answering questions about eyelash extension training because I too was a beginner at one point. I also have made mistakes along the way. But I have learned from them, so now I love passing that knowledge on to others who I can relate to because I too was once a beginner. When I do that- I make friends, and connections with people across the country and even the world. I love doing lashes, because I make deep and lasting connections with my clients. They becomes a therapy session that we are both in desperate need of. When tragedy strikes either one of our lives- we talk about it and solve it together. Eyelash extension products and services can bring me together with people. Is this making sense? Your perceived struggle to get more clients is because lash artists think they need to be “the robot” so to speak. They think that they are no different from any other lash artist out there because all they do is apply lashes. Maybe that is true if you don’t connect with your clients- but if you take the time to ask questions about THEIR lives, and open up about yours, then you will gain a friend and as long as you do a great job on their lashes- who doesn’t want a friend they can trust?
Your “reason” for applying lashes is almost always initially the money. Whether it be extra money, or a way to provide for yourself or your family. Those are all noble reasons to do eyelash extensions. But, there needs to be something else that you label as the reason WHY you do this job. I recommend you dig deep and ask yourself what your core goals in life are? Is it to have a closer family? Is it to draw closer to God? Whatever it is, you need to find a way to tie your core goals into your job. If you can do this, you will find that everything else will fall into place.
FIND THE RIGHT KINDS OF CLIENTS
When building a clientele, of course you will take whoever is willing to pay you. But over time, I found that we tend to gravitate to a certain type of client. Based on what we PERCEIVE to be “good advertising” or the kind of person who it is cool to say you do her lashes. Most of the people (not all) that fit that mold, I have found to be flaky, and not loyal. They go to whoever has the best prices, or they simply care more about finding someone closer to where they live. They are also sought after by other lash artists because those people also view them as the “type” of person that would be good for business. But as you will read below, I NEVER judge a client too quickly.
I have found that since I look for people with depth in their lives that I end up gravitating to a wide variety of clients. Some of my very favorite clients have been over 70 years old! They have been former cops, divorced, parents of special needs children, bodybuilders and surplus store owners. They are doctors, nurses and stay at home moms. But they are ALL women that I am inspired by.
Whenever I get a new client- I like to start with the attitude that this person has ended up on my lash table for a reason. I’m not sure yet if that reason is for them or for me. But I want to find out as soon as possible. Taking this approach allows me to look for the good in everyone. It also prompts me to ask questions, and sometimes the kinds of questions that many would find too deep for an initial meeting. I have found that when someone is willing to open up even a little bit, and I reciprocate- we will have a wonderful and meaningful relationship that goes well beyond eyelash extensions. These are the kinds of clients that motivate me to be a better person and help me to be more sympathetic to humans in general because if there is one thing we all have in common, it is that life is hard. When I finish a fill and we have had a great conversation, I walk away a better sister, wife mother and friend.
I should also mention, that because I love these women, I find that doing a mediocre job on their lashes is impossible. I care about every lash and want them to look as amazing as possible. I notice that those who just do lashes as a job, or work- tend to watch the clock more and skip the little things that make for a great and professional set of lashes. So, really, finding the right clientele will help you to be a better lash artist in my opinion.
HOW DID I RAISE PRICES ON MY BEST FRIENDS?
As my clientele grew, my number one goal in life, which is to be the best wife and mother I could be started suffering. I had too many clients and I knew that any one of them would understand if I told them I was cutting back on clients. BUT, how on earth would I pick who to let go? It was agonizing. I would write lists and try to cross names off, but it was literally impossible. I would try to base it off who left the better tip- but then found that I would be missing out on people I adored. So, I did what made the most sense- I raised my prices and let them weed themselves out. Even that wasn’t easy, but it kept me from having to “choose” my favorites. There were times I had to eliminate a time slot, so that took care of those situations without having to raise prices. They were just necessary based on school schedules and other life priorities.
So, at the time of this post, I have raised prices 3-4 times. A couple of times thinking that by raising my prices I wouldn’t have anyone left willing to pay that much. I was wrong. Now I make more money doing lashes on fewer clients- and they are all clients I love! I look forward to doing lashes after a decade of lashing. But not because of the job- but because of the PEOPLE!
IN THE END…
In the end, they say, no one ever said on his or her death bed, “ I wish I spent more time at the office.” But I think in my case, it might be different- slightly. I know the relationships and life lessons I have already learned will carry with me forever. I’m not really into being sappy, but I wrote this post because I think it is tragic that so many only view this wonderful skill and art of applying eyelash extensions as a way to earn a pay check. Although as I mentioned above, that is always the initial and main reason we all start- this can become so much more.
I wish all of you the very best in your lash careers. I hope that this insight will help you enjoy your chosen profession much more and deepen your relationships with your clients!
I am so grateful for each of you who take the time to like my posts and follow Lashes Direct on social media. I REALLY appreciate the comments and I would LOVE to know what your thoughts are on this post. Do I look crazy? Lol!
You might have a similar question as some of the people who call me do, asking about how much do eyelash extensions interfere with natural eyelash growth? Can I damage my eyelashes by wearing thicker or heavier lashes?
There are even some (but few) lash extension trainers who use scare tactics to convince lash artists to only use lighter widths in an effort to promote their lashes for sale. If educated properly on the subject, you will be able to safely apply most lashes to your clients without fearing causing a rare disease or leaving them without their natural lashes!
So- here is a summary of a lot of research I have done over the years. And, believe me, I have learned a lot about natural lash growth. I hope that these facts I have studied will give you some direction and knowledge that will help guide you and provide a safe and great experience to your clients in your eyelash extension career.
1) CAN NATURAL LASHES GET DAMAGED BY EYELASH EXTENSIONS?
The simple and quick answer is, yes! But it helps to understand why. The human hair growth cycle:
There are 3 stages of eyelash growth. They are:
- Anagen phase, 4–7 months for a typical hair. The hair can grow up to 1 cm every 28 days! That means a lash will only take between 1-2 months to grow to full length.
- Catagen phase, 3–4 weeks. The lash is done growing and basically prepares to fall out naturally.
- Telogen phase, about 9 months. The lash naturally sheds.
- The lash returns to Anagen Phase again... and starts to grow naturally! ...yay!
"Unfortunately, thinning eyelashes are part of the aging process. So, if your lashes don't seem to have the same length and fullness they once did, don't worry, in most cases, there's no reason for alarm. Still, you should share any concerns with your health care provider.
Eyelash growth has four stages: growth, resting, shedding and re-growth. Your lashes continuously cycle through these four stages. As we age, eyelash follicles (the openings in the skin through which the lash grows) can slow or stop producing new lashes altogether.
Aside from age, there are other reasons someone might not have enough lashes. These may include:
- Scrubbing or rubbing eyelashes too hard, which can damage the skin and cause delicate eyelashes to fall out
- Medical conditions
- Some medications and treatments"
(information from healthywoman.org)
As it relates to Eyelash Extensions, If there is too much weight from the lashes and/or too much glue, your natural lash could break or pull out altogether and therefore cause damage to the EXISTING lash hair follicle. As you can see from the chart, barring age or disease, the lashes will grow back. The usual time to regrow to full natural length is 7-8 weeks. You do not want to have no lashes for that long however, so know your craft, and pay attention to the facts in this blog post. You should be fine!
The good news here is, that Eyelash Extensions for the vast majority will only cause temporary damage if any damage occurs at all.
2) WHAT WEIGHT OR WIDTH OF LASH SHOULD I USE FOR MY CLIENTS?
This is where your understanding of the previous question becomes valuable. You need to assess each client and the health of their eyelashes along with the thickness of the natural lashes and age should be considered as well. Making a blanket statement that a .25 will cause damage is like saying that using a drug store hair coloring kit will permanently damage your hair. For some that may be true, but for most- it might not look as good as a professional doing it, but it will not cause any lasting damage at all. To determine if your client's natural lashes can handle the weight of a thicker lash, just ask a few questions, like:
-Have you always had thick and strong eyelashes?
-Have you noticed eyelash loss lately?
-How long do you want your lash extensions to be?
The answers to these questions will help you determine what width would be best. Also, you get to know your clients after a few fills, and if you notice lash loss or drooping eyelashes- recommend they go with a lighter lash. The thicker the width, the heavier the lash. I have known some who do best with a 0.07 width (a volume lash) as individual extensions. You lose some of the fullness and mascara look that so many love, but they still get the benefits of length and beauty from eyelash extensions.
3) DOES THE GLUE ITSELF CAUSE EYELASH DAMAGE?
This one depends totally on the skill of the lash artist applying the lashes. If you are not familiar with eyelash extensions... then you might apply WAAAY too much glue (see image above) and do some pretty serious damage, at least temporarily, to the natural lashes. You need to make sure that the glue you use is as fresh as possible! I have another post you need to read about how you should store eyelash extension glue. That article will at least help you make it last as long as possible- but remember, eyelash extension glue has a limited shelf life, and once you notice it getting more clumpy or thick, it is time to replace it! Waiting too long can cause bad consequences with your career! Make sure you are trained properly by somebody who really understands the details of eyelash extensions. Take your time, and make sure you know what you are doing- don't guess. Make sure you are using the right glue for your client as well. There are many glues out there- get one that makes the most sense for your general use (I use Signature Latex-Free glue by Revelation) and then have a more gentle glue available for the more sensitive clients.
The glue itself is not likely to ruin eyelashes. I use Revelation products, and some blink products only at this point. I trust those brands. I am sure there are others as well- but I have found what works great for me and I stick with those. Also remember, you must have glue remover specifically made for eyelash extensions handy before you apply! If anything goes wrong such as allergic reaction to the chemicals in the glue and you are not ready for that possibility- then you are in a lot of trouble... Again, know what you are doing and if I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times- ALWAYS TEST THE GLUE FIRST ON EACH CLIENT! It is worth the wait! Use as little glue as possible and avoid bunching the glue or allowing the lashes to stick together in clusters after individual application.
4) ALOPECIA: WHAT IS IT? CAN EYELASH EXTENSIONS CAUSE IT?
Ok, so I will emphasize here that I AM NOT A DOCTOR! So, if you want a professional's opinion- go somewhere else. I have studied and read quite a bit about this however, and from all accounts I have read, Alopecia is a very sad disease. It is hereditary (passed down in genes) in most cases, and can be caused by things largely out of your control. There is something called "traction alopecia" which some say can be caused by wearing eyelash extensions. From everything I have read, it is almost always attributed to extremely tight and frequent wearing of ponytails, weaves or braids. (as in the image above) It usually presents in a retraction of a hairline. You can only imagine what kind of force that would cause that kind of hair loss. So, is it possible that eyelash extensions could potentially cause traction alopecia? Yes, I suppose it is possible. But keep in mind that it is possible you win the lottery too. From my humble and unprofessional opinion on medical conditions, it seems very unlikely, especially if as a professional eyelash extension artist, you pay attention to lash loss in your clients and respond accordingly with lighter and possible fewer lashes. The typical time between fills is 2 weeks, so to say that you could cause permanent lash loss seems far fetched to me. I have never seen it or heard of anyone seeing it be caused by eyelash extensions. My conclusion: Don't worry about it. Keep your tweezers sterilized at all times, and pay attention. Feel free to use any width you want if your client's natural lashes seem healthy and strong enough.
The bottom line is that if you know what you are doing as an eyelash extension professional- and you pay attention to signs that the lashes your clients are wearing are just too heavy for their lashes, then you can apply whatever your client asks for. I would ease into the thick and heavier lashes for older clients given that their lashes weaken with age. Also, like I mentioned above, ask a few probing questions about their lashes and history of lash loss BEFORE you apply eyelash extensions. If you are responsible and cautious- you will have healthy lashes and happy clients!
BEST OF LUCK!
Help your Eyelash Extensions Last! Only use the RIGHT Mascara.
You paid a lot for your lashes. And you look amazing! But you still want to use your favorite mascara... WAIT! If your lash tech didn't already tell you, you should NEVER use an oil based mascara for your lash extensions.
Your eyelash extension glue is most likely made with ingredients that normal mascaras will break down or weaken. Using your drug-store mascara just won't cut it anymore... at least not if you want perfect lashes by getting eyelash extensions. So, what is your option? You will need a mascara that is NOT oil based. Preferably you will want to get a mascara that is made by a lash extension specific company. That means a company that does not make every makeup product under the sun. You will not go wrong if you use a makeup company that Specializes in Eyelash Extension Supplies and Products. We have links here to some mascaras that we use or like ourselves.
We really are in love with the Blink NOIR eyelash extension mascara. It is a bit more than standard mascaras, but it definitely makes up for it by how much you will save by extending the life of you r eyelash extensions. Another cool product that most don't know about is called Eyelash Extension sealants. Again, there are a lot of good options, Revelation brand is great, but they are reformulating their sealant to be cutting edge, so it is not out yet as of this blog post- but again, blink makes a couple of really good ones. I will post the link on the pictures as well. The sealants basically seal your natural lashes to the glue bond, and therefore extend the life of your eyelash extensions.
I hope these little tips help you save money and time by making your lash extensions last that much longer!
Please let me know if you have any questions or what you think of these products below in the comments!!
If you have not experienced it yet- just wait! Once you have just one client who has major irritation from Eyelash Extension Glue, you will appreciate testing the glues on each client BEFORE application a lot more! I always stress testing, yet I frequently get emergency calls from people who applied a full set of lashes on a friend or client that was not tested first and as a result, has red, swollen & itchy eyes! When this happens, you feel HORRIBLE, and you never want to feel that way again! So, what do you do? Here are some steps and tricks that might help!
Before I get into the removal steps, here are some good business practices that you should implement immediately! DO NOT do a first time application for a major life event like a wedding or graduation without thoroughly explaining the possibilities of swollen itchy and red eyes if allergies or sensitivities exist. Not a bad idea to have them sign a liability waiver. The LAST thing you want is to ruin a big day. Not to mention, it can ruin a couple of your days as well trying to help fix the problem as you in part created the mess. And- ALWAYS TEST GLUE ON SENSITIVE SKIN FIRST! Either behind the ear, in the inner elbow crease or neck are usually good places. If you see redness or irritation- proceed with caution, or simply refuse to apply the lashes!
1) Don't panic! Your client however will be panicking, because she is in pain, and even more, she looks like she has been crying non-stop for a week... so can you blame her? Just remember that you are the professional, and you did not create her sensitivity to the glue. But you can help her fix the situation.
2) Waiting it out will most likely not work. Even the slightest irritation will most likely last a while, but if eye lids are swelling- take the lashes off as soon as possible!
3) When it is time to remove- you really don't have time to order a new remover. That is why I always have got a GEL and a CREAM remover available. GEL removers tend to liquefy as they heat up while creating the chemical reaction necessary to remove the Lash glue. The Cream is easier to control and keep away from contacting the eyelid I have found. So for sensitive clients, I recommend the Cream Remover Plus. (we sell it if you don't have it)
4) If extremely sensitive- one stylist just gave me a great tip- coat the eyelid with vaseline first to prevent as much chemical from touching the clients eyelids during the removal process as possible! I think it sounds like a great idea! Let me know if any of you try this and if it helps!
5) Have your client SIT UP so that the removing chemicals don't run back on to the eyelids. Do one eye at a time so you can quickly stop the process if needed due to burning or sensitivity. I use the micro-brushes to apply the remover, and for more precision, I then use my removing tweezers to carefully remove the lashes.
6) Apply remover gently and carefully. It breaks down the adhesive qualities of the glue, so understand that it is a chemical. Be careful. Let it sit on the lash until your tweezers can gently allow you to slide the lash extension off of the natural lash. If you have to pull or tug- you either did not apply enough remover, or you did not let the remover sit long enough. This can be a slow process, but take your time. You owe it to your client to do a great job!
7) Finally, have your client hold a wet cloth that can be held on the eye if the irritation becomes too much for her. If this happens, you have to start the process over again.
These are simple steps, but very important to know and practice BEFORE you have to do it for someone who is really having severe irritation. You can always start clients with a more sensitive or mild glue like Marvel, or Maximum Sensitive. Read the product descriptions well, and no matter what the labels say- ALWAYS TEST FIRST! If you do- you will have happy clients!
Don't use glue that will make you work for FREE!!! Get the memo by reading this post!
Want to get the most shelf life out of your Eyelash Extension Glue? Find out the 3 easiest ways here! Also learn How long Eyelash Extension Glue can last... and why!