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How to Start a Lash Business From Scratch

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How to start a lash business from scratch in 2023: The most practical guide to follow

Looking to break into the lucrative lash industry? With the market expected to reach $2.31 billion by 2028, there's no better time to turn your passion into a profitable business. But with so many competitors vying for the same customers, how do you ensure your success?

Fear not, as we've got you covered! In this comprehensive guide, we'll take you through everything you need to know about starting an eyelash business from scratch. Our expert tips and step-by-step approach will help you stand out in a crowded marketplace and maximize your profitability. Let’s start!

How to build a lash business: a step-by-step guide

Whether it's your goal to start a home studio, a larger beauty salon, or a store, building a business from scratch is never child’s play. There are certain steps to follow and a budget to spend, but it’s definitely a rewarding venture. Eventually, you will have your own lash business!

And here are the exact steps to accomplish if you want to start a lash business and succeed.

1. Research the market 

Researching the market is a critical step when starting any business, and launching a successful lash business is no different. As a beauty professional, you may have a good understanding of your customers, but owning a business requires a more in-depth analysis of the market.

Starting a lash business can be daunting, and it's natural to have concerns. Will you attract enough clients? What if negative reviews harm your reputation? Are there too many competitors in your area? Will your prices be competitive enough? Don't worry; you're not alone. The keys to addressing these questions and mitigating risks lie in conducting proper market research. With a clear understanding of your target audience, competition, pricing, and market trends, you'll have the insights and confidence to succeed. 

Find your niche

You may feel you need to attract as much attention to your lash extensions business as possible. Potential customers are all around, so why not tap into the entire client base? For one, your service will hardly be able to resonate with each and every person around. Secondly, even if you could draw everyone’s attention, you may not be able to serve them all.

So, it’s always better to choose a major niche and serve the exact kind of customers who will appreciate your approach most and who you’ll be most happy to work with. For example:

  • Classic eyelash extensions that target customers who prefer a natural look.
  • Volume eyelash extensions for those who desire fuller, more dramatic lashes.
  • Lash lifts and tints for people who want to enhance their natural lashes without using lash extensions.
  • Cruelty-free and vegan lashes, made from synthetic fibers or human hair, rather than mink or silk, for environmentally-conscious and ethical consumers.
  • Specialty eyelash extensions services that focus on clients with specific needs (allergies, sensitive eyes, or medical conditions like alopecia).
  • Or, you may want to sell lash products and accessories (in a wide range or for specific lash studios) rather than provide lash services by yourself. 

This doesn’t mean you should provide only one type of service, but you should know and demonstrate your primary direction and proficiency. 

Learn your target customers

After you understand what kind of eyelash business you would like to build, the next step in your "How to start your own eyelash business" journey is to dive deeper into the features and needs of your target customers. 

Who are they? What exact kind of services do they need? What do they appreciate? What are they afraid of or skeptical about? Answering all these questions will help you effectively attract and retain customers despite the competition.

You will need to gather the following information about your target audience:

  • Demographics – age, gender, and location of your potential customers.
  • Psychographics – their motivations, attitudes, interests, and lifestyle preferences.
  • Purchase habits – how often they purchase lash extension services or buy related products, where they do it, and what is their typical budget.

The next question is how to get all this information. And here are some ways to perform your research:

  • analyze the current customer base of local salons
  • survey your existing customers if you have a private practice 
  • conduct a focus group (either in person or online)
  • interview colleagues and industry experts
  • use social media to speak with your audience and ask questions 
  • explore online forums and related communities.

The above will give you a great starting point to understand the needs and preferences of your potential customers, which, in turn, will help you obtain clients easier and with a smaller budget. 

Analyze other eyelash businesses in your area

The next step is to look around and check out other lash businesses already operating in the area. This will help you understand the position you can occupy on the market with the greatest benefit for your business. 

At a minimum, you will want to know the following:

  • How many competitors are there in the area?
  • What eyelash extension services and products do they offer? 
  • How much do they charge for each service?
  • How do they attract their customers? 
  • What features and benefits make their services attractive to customers?
  • Are there any areas where their services fall short?

But how exactly can you get all this information about your competitors? There are multiple ways to find out what you need. The easiest ways are:

  • Visit websites and social media accounts. Check not only publications but also comments. 
  • Visit other salons in person and make notes about their prices, offers, customer service, interiors, and other important things.
  • Check customer reviews on Google, Yelp, and similar websites. Pay attention to both positive and negative feedback and gather insights. 
  • Call other salons and ask questions about their services, like you were a potential customer.

After completing this step, you will get a clearer picture of your district's current demand, preferences, and uncovered demands. This, in turn, will help you understand if there's room for a new lash business and how exactly you should position yourself in the market. 

Create your unique selling proposition (USP)

After completing your customer and competitor research, you can formulate the key differences that set your eyelash business apart from the existing competition. 

And here's how to do it in a few simple steps: 

  • Write down several things that your chosen target audience values most, e.g., some people may value low price over quality, while others may demand only luxury products and the best customer service. 
  • List the unmet customer needs in the area you may be able to cover (high-quality products, personalized approach, affordable pricing, etc.).
  • Find intersections between the two—the unmet customer needs that match your target audience's values and your own possibilities. 
  • Formulate it as a short value proposition statement. 

Here are several examples to support you in the creation of your own formula: 

"Wake up to perfectly curled lashes every day with our lash lift services"

"Achieve a natural, effortless look with our classic lash extensions"

"Say goodbye to mascara with our flawless hybrid lash extensions"

 2. Write a business plan for your lash studio

While it may feel overwhelming, taking the time to create a solid business plan can actually save you time and stress in the long run. By outlining your goals and developing a strategic plan, you'll be better prepared to handle any challenges that come your way. 

And here’s how: 

  • A business plan will help you clarify your business strategy, vision, and goals, making it easier to take the exact steps to achieve them.
  • It will provide structure to your decision-making process, helping you prioritize tasks and allocate resources efficiently.
  • It will allow you to find potential risks and threats at the earliest stages and develop strategies to avoid costly mistakes.
  • While composing a business plan, you may also find new perspectives, opportunities, and insights to help you start and grow your eyelash business more efficiently.

Contrary to popular belief, a comprehensive business plan doesn't have to be a lengthy document. In fact, a shorter, more focused plan that prioritizes the most critical aspects of your business can be much more effective than a lengthy one that includes irrelevant information. 

Here is an example of a concise business plan structure to follow:

  • Executive Summary — a brief overview of your business, USP, target market, products or services, and financial projections.
  • Market Analysis — the main information about your target market, its major trends, your competitors, and consumers.
  • Marketing and Sales Strategy — actions you are going to take to reach your target market, channels you are planning to use for promotion, and your pricing strategy.
  • Products or Services — a list of your offerings, including their unique features and benefits.
  • Financial Projections — your predictions for the next three to five years, including your business’ revenue, expenses, profits, and cash flow.
  • Operations Plan — your day-to-day operations, including your production process, supply chain management, and any other relevant considerations.
  • Management Team — both the initial team you will need and the full team you will be aiming for, together with their qualifications and experience.
  • Funding Needs — the amount of money your eyelash extension business requires to start and grow and how you plan to use these funds.

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3. Register your lash business

After your planning stage is complete, now it’s time to register your business. And here’s how to do it right:

Choose a legal structure. The most popular options for an eyelash business include a sole proprietorship, a partnership, and a limited liability company (LLC).

  • A sole proprietorship is suitable for a single-owner business that wants to keep things simple and has limited liability.
  • A partnership is ideal for businesses with two or more owners who want to share profits and losses equally.
  • An LLC is a popular option for small businesses that want limited liability protection and flexible management structures.

Get the required licenses and permits. Depending on the type of eyelash extension business and its location (state), you might need to obtain such documents as a general business license, cosmetology license or salon license, sales tax permit, zoning permit, etc.

Register for taxes and obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You can do it for free.

Get appropriate business insurance. You can purchase business insurance from any national or private insurance company or trade association that works with your type of business. 

Open a business bank account. For partnerships and LLCs, opening a separate business bank account is obligatory by law. For sole proprietorships, it’s optional but highly recommended to avoid the mess of having your personal finances merged with your business account.

Legal registration seems like tedious work, but it is essential to protect yourself, your finances, and your customers from any issues that may arise. Any legal, regulatory, or insurance problems can quickly sink your business and make you bankrupt. It’s better to set things up right from the start than worry about taxes and liabilities later.

4. Hire and train staff

If it’s not a one-person business, hiring and training staff is a very crucial step on your way to starting a lash business. Regardless of your concept, salon design, and prices, the staff is what makes your clients decide whether they will come back or not. 

How to hire employees for a lash extension business

  • Define the roles and job requirements. Create a job description that outlines the necessary skills, experience, education, and personal traits required for the position.
  • Post the job listing on job boards, social media platforms, and industry-specific websites. You can also reach out to professional organizations and schools to find qualified candidates.
  • Screen resumes and applications to identify candidates who meet the job requirements based on their experience, education, and skills.
  • Conduct interviews with the top candidates to assess their qualifications, experience, and fit with your company culture. Here are some question examples to help you evaluate the cultural fit:
    • Why are you interested in working in the lash industry, and what motivated you to pursue this career path?
    • What motivated you to pursue a career in the lash industry?
    • What experience and skills do you have that make you suitable for this role?
    • How do you handle difficult customers or situations?
    • How do you stay up-to-date with the latest lash trends and techniques?
    • How do you maintain high-quality work and handle mistakes?
    • How do you approach working with clients with different needs or preferences?
    • How do you use feedback to improve your work?
  • Check references. Contact the best candidates’ previous employers to verify their work history and performance to identify any red flags or potential issues before you hire a person.
  • Make an offer. Once you have identified the top candidate, make an offer that includes details such as salary, benefits, and start date.

New team members onboarding

When hiring a new employee, be sure to provide them with proper onboarding to help them succeed in their role:

  • Clearly communicate job responsibilities and expectations by providing a job description and employee handbook.
  • Provide training and support, such as job shadowing and ongoing education opportunities.
  • Help the new employee develop relationships with colleagues and encourage teamwork.
  • Set clear goals that align with company objectives, such as achieving proficiency in lash techniques or demonstrating excellent customer service skills.
  • Provide regular feedback and recognition to help the employee understand their performance and improve.

All of the above help you not only hire the best professionals for your lash company but also build a strong team that leaves your customers satisfied. 

5. Set up an inventory management system

Effective product ordering and inventory management are essential to the success of your lash business. This involves keeping track of your stock levels, anticipating demand, and ordering new products as needed to ensure that you always have the right supplies on hand. Without proper inventory management, you risk losing customers due to stockouts, wasting money on unnecessary overstocking, and wasting time on manual tracking and ordering processes. 

These issues can be a thing of the past with specialized inventory management software, which streamlines your inventory management processes and helps you avoid costly mistakes. Suplery is an innovative solution that can improve your efficiency, reduce the risk of errors, and let you focus on growing your business.

Suplery is a powerful and completely free tool that will help you:

  • Avoid stockouts. You can set reorder points and receive notifications when it's time to restock, minimizing the risk of running out of products.
  • Optimize inventory levels. You can keep track of your inventory and analyze sales data in real time to optimize purchases and reduce carrying costs.
  • Improve ordering processes. You can access top beauty suppliers and their products in Suplery, all in one platform for streamlined ordering.

With its simple interface, you can easily set up your inventory and start tracking your products in no time.

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6. Find and rent a location

As a future eyelash extensions business owner and beauty professional, you know that choosing the right location is really important when you're starting a lash business. But you cannot always rent an ideal spot; there may be limited locations in your area, prices may be too high, or other issues may come up. 

Criteria to choose a location

The issue is finding the right balance and prioritizing what will influence your eyelash business the most. For example: 

  • Is it more important to be in a highly visible location with lots of foot traffic or a quieter area with less competition? 
  • Should you prioritize a larger space or a lower rent? 
  • Is it better to rent a cheaper location that needs renovation or the one that is ready to move in and start?

These are just some of the questions you'll need to consider based on your business concept, target audience, chosen area, and available budget. And here is the full list of criteria:

  • Visibility and foot traffic
  • Accessibility and parking
  • Demographics of the surrounding area
  • Competitor proximity and market saturation
  • Local regulations and zoning laws
  • Availability and cost of commercial real estate
  • Safety and security of the area
  • Proximity to public transportation
  • Availability of utilities and internet services
  • Noise levels and potential for disturbances

Checking the property

As soon as you find the property you like, contact its owner or leasing agent, visit the property in person, and check it out. Pay attention to the following:

  • the overall condition of the building, including the roof, walls, floors, and windows
  • the size of the space, including the square footage and ceiling height
  • the layout and functionality of the space, including the placement of electrical outlets, plumbing, and heating and cooling systems
  • the accessibility and parking options for customers
  • the security of the building, including locks, alarms, and surveillance systems
  • the availability and quality of utilities, including electricity, gas, water, and internet
  • the proximity of the premise to public transportation and other amenities
  • the local zoning laws and regulations may affect your business
  • any additional features or amenities that may be important to your eyelash extensions business, such as storage space or outdoor areas.

If you're happy with the property, it's time to negotiate the lease terms (rent, lease length, maintenance responsibilities, and any other relevant details) and sign the lease agreement. 

7. Take care with equipment and design

The next step after you have chosen and rented a premise is making your space nice-looking, well-equipped, and ready for the opening: 

  • Set up utilities. Contact the local utility companies to set up electricity, water, internet, and phone service.
  • Ensure safety and security. Install proper safety measures, such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and security cameras, to ensure the safety of your staff and clients.  
  • Design and decorate. Create an inviting and comfortable atmosphere for your clients by choosing the right color scheme, furniture, and decor that reflects your brand and appeals to your target market.
  • Equip your space. Purchase or rent all necessary equipment and eyelash extension supplies, including lash beds, chairs, lighting, mirrors, eyelash extensions and supplies, sanitation and sterilization supplies, tools, etc.
  • Install signage. Set clear and visible signage outside your location that includes your business name and logo and any other relevant information.

Making your lash salon visually appealing and comfortable with the right equipment and design will not only attract clients but also make them stay loyal to your eyelash extensions business over competitors.

8. Open up!

And now it's time to open up your lash salon! There are several ways to organize an opening, depending on your budget, location, and target audience, for example:

  • Soft opening. You can start by hosting a soft opening for friends, family, and loyal customers. This can help you test your business operations and get feedback from your audience before the official launch.
  • Grand opening. If you want to make a big splash and attract new customers, you can organize a grand opening event. This can include free services, discounts, giveaways, and other promotions to attract customers and generate buzz.
  • Online opening. Another option is to make it all happen online and promote your lash salon through social media, email marketing, and other digital channels. This can be a cost-effective way to reach a wider audience and generate interest in your newly-opened business.

Whichever option you choose, make sure to have a plan in place and promote your event well in advance to ensure a successful lash business opening. And don't forget to celebrate your hard work and dedication to making your eyelash extension business a reality!

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Frequently asked questions

Why start a lash business as a new lash tech?

Starting a lash business as a new lash tech can be a great opportunity to turn your passion into a profitable business. Here are some reasons why it might be a good idea:

  • Low startup costs. Compared to many other businesses, starting a lash business requires relatively low startup costs. All you need is some training, certification, basic equipment, and a space to work in.
  • High demand. The beauty industry is constantly growing, and eyelash extensions have become increasingly popular in recent years. There is a high demand for skilled lash techs who can provide quality services to clients.
  • Flexibility. Starting your own lash extension business gives you the flexibility to set your own schedule and work around your other commitments, such as education or family.
  • Creative freedom. As a lash tech and beauty business owner, you have the creative freedom to design your own services and brand identity, which can be very fulfilling and rewarding.
  • Profit potential. With a growing client base and effective marketing strategies, you can potentially earn a good income as a lash tech and business owner.

How do you start an eyelash extension business?

Starting a lash business can be a lucrative and rewarding venture due to the high demand for eyelash extensions in the beauty industry. Here are the basic steps you can follow to get started:

  1. Conduct market research
  2. Create a business plan
  3. Register your business
  4. Hire and train staff
  5. Set up an inventory management system
  6. Find and rent a location
  7. Obtain equipment and supplies
  8. Launch your eyelash extensions business

Read the full article to learn more about how to start a lash business and get our practice-based tips to avoid mistakes.

How much does it cost to start your own lash business?

The cost to start your own lash business can vary from $5,000 to $20,000 or more, depending on location, the size of the business, equipment needs, and other factors. 

Here are some general estimates for common expenses:

  • Training and certification: from $500 to $2,000.
  • Business registration and licensing: from $100 to $1,000.
  • Rent: from $500 to $5,000 per month.
  • Utilities such as electricity, water, and internet: from $100 to $500 per month.
  • Equipment and supplies such as lash beds, chairs, lighting, mirrors, and eyelash extensions: from $2,000 to $10,000.
  • Marketing and advertising: from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars per month.

Is a lash business profitable?

With a growing demand for eyelash services and products, there is potential for high revenue and profit margins in the lash industry. According to some industry experts, a lash business can generate an average of $50,000 to $100,000 in revenue per year. However, this number can increase or decrease based on the business's expenses and the owner's ability to market and manage the business effectively. It's important to conduct thorough research and create a solid business plan to ensure profitability in the long run.

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