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It’s high time artists started thinking like successful business owners.

OPINION: It’s high time artists started thinking like successful business owners.
By Courtney Buhler

It happens again and again. I log into Facebook to take a look at what is happening in the forum groups and I see the same thing over and over
“Which lash adhesive is best?”
“Where can I get cheap tweezers?”
“Looking for C curl lashes that actually hold their curl. Help!”

At the beginning of my career, this didn’t bother me. The lash industry was new, and we were all “failing forward” trying to sort out the best routes to take in order to build successful careers. It’s why I started Sugarlash PRO — to save people from perpetual anxiety. But 14 years later, and it feels like there are still large numbers of artists who simply don’t know what to use, who to train with, or what the next step is in their business.

I’ve been on every side of the lash industry there is to be on. I’ve been a part time solo artist out of my home (well — my parents home) at the age of 19. I’ve grown that into a larger (albeit illegal — oops!) home based operation out of my own home with 5 full time staff. I then grew that into a commercial space with 10+ staff and considered opening another location or franchising my salon to go national. But I paused for a moment — and I thought about how chaotic my journey had been. Constantly having to try new product, scour the internet for tips and tricks, read forum groups for struggles others were having in hopes not to replicate the same mistake in my own life. And I had an idea — what if I created an all-in-one solution for that every artist could take our courses, use our product — and SHUT OFF the constant anxiety cycle that I was never able to get out of as a lash artist and business owner myself? Sugarlash PRO was born.

7 years in this industry and I am so pleased to say that we have helped over 160,000 artists with both product and training around the globe.

The last 3 years we have seen a decline in customer stability, a decrease in lash industry quality of work, and an increase in “oh my gosh — what am I doing wrong and how can I save money on products?!” posts all over social media. Are you in this cycle? The cycle of never-ending anxiety that there HAS to be something out there that is going to *poof* instantly level up your lash skill 10-fold? A new $100 tweezer? One new solution to add into your lash regime? I understand the thought process — but I’m sorry to burst your bubble — until you settle down with an education solution, and product line — you will be focussed on ALL the wrong things.

The #1 reason clients LEAVE a service provider is inconsistent results.

What does that mean for you? That means that anxiety buying and mix and matching brands and products every month is undoubtedly hurting your business. Your clients become perpetual guinea pigs, and your results will bounce around all the time. Even if the product you purchase is great (and you won’t know that for 3-6 weeks after working it into your system), unless you continually stick with that formulation forever — there is bound to be a quality decrease if you ever switch it out to try another. Even worse — if you add in a new product, and it goes poorly (retention is worse, reactions go up) you will undoubtedly lose clientele which costs you WAY more in the long run (losing a client on average is a loss of between $500-1300 annually).

The HIDDEN Cost of “Jumping Around”
- Paying shipping, import, and duties on purchases which inherently drive down your bottom line and have no ability to be turned into an ROI (return on investment). At Sugarlash PRO, we have free shipping on orders of $149 and we pay all duties and import fees for you. Every dollar spent goes to your product which you can turn around for profit. -You lose the ability to engage with a qualified customer service team who knows a product line inside and out. Time and time again, we get heartbreaking calls of customers who have used our products for years, but all of a sudden something isn’t working properly. When we ask them if they are using our whole system, there is the short pause where they admit “no, Ive been trying new adhesive or a new cleanser”. When we don’t know these other products through and through it makes our job almost impossible to troubleshoot with you as we aren’t familiar with their ingredients, pH levels, or full function. If something isn’t working well, and a customer is using all of our product — its beyond easy for us to recommend adjustments to make to optimize it, as we know all solutions work together and strengthen each other.
We need to look to other industries to see how they are successful.
FACIALS
NAILS
HAIR
What do they all have in common?
In larger, more established beauty services — they all commit to receiving education and using the product of one to two large companies. So that they can deeply sink into their education and training, learn their product line — and then focus on themselves becoming the best they can be.
HAIR — Redken, Aveda, Vidal Sassoon
NAILS — NSI, OPI
SKINCARE — Dermalogica, Kirstin Florian

 

Yet here we are as lash artists — trying to piece meal the “perfect solution” with a bunch of different brands, thinking it is going to make our results 1000x better in a magic bottle.

Here’s what makes a strong lash artist and business owner:

1. Fully understanding your product range (see our LIQUIDS, METALS, and LASH, and LIFT ranges) From every lash type, curl type, diameter, adhesive type, and liquid. I mean REALLY knowing it. Knowing it so well that there aren’t days where you wonder “is my humidity off?! What is happening?”. When you settle into using a product range religiously, you become familiar with it and it becomes second nature. You have multiple adhesives for a range of clients or environmental swings, and the knowledge enables you to focus on what you should focus on: your technique, and your customer experience.

2. Understanding your profit margin.
Lash artistry should not come down to “what lash glue is cheapest?”. Even the most expensive bottle will be less than $1 per client when you’re using 3-5 drops per service. Did you know? That at Sugarlash PRO, we have EVERY service calculated out on how much the cost per service is using all of our products (hint: it’s all under $7 even for Mega Volume). So why the incessant desire to save a few dollars with cheap product? It doesn’t matter if you’re spending $3 or $7 per service — what matters is cheapening your results to “save” and not being able to build a strong clientele because of it.

3. Focussing on pin-pointed, progressive education.
This doesn’t mean taking every course out there. In fact, many artists we talk to say they threw money away on education from a bunch of educators that were all amazing in their own right — but offered conflicting information to each other on how to best achieve results. Your education should be focussed and taught by the company who’s product you use so that you know you’re best utilizing the system that is in place for great results as well as having consistent methodology for application techniques. As a side note to this: when artists take course after course, they lose the ability to self govern and propel their own skill forward. Something that is integral to being an amazing lash artist. If we are being honest, we all have the ability to SEE how our sets could be better. So write those down, and start working on them one by one. First with adhesive control, then distance from the lash line, then fan spacing etc. Master one skill, and move to the next — you don’t need to be shelling out thousands to know that. You have the ability to coach yourself after your initial course to keep progressing!

4. Enhancing your customer experience.
Wow them not only with your skill level, but the whole process of getting a service with you start to finish. From your website design, online booking process, to walking into the salon and the client intake process, consultation, comfy lash bed (psst — check out our favourite from Plush + Oak), and check out! Every single point of contact with your business should be an enjoyable, seamless experience. That will make a way larger difference to your business than a new tweezer, I promise.

At the end of the day, I want us to do better. And I want YOU to be able to be confident in the skills and product line you are using. I developed Sugarlash PRO because I needed a company like Sugarlash PRO when I was beginning my lash career. I didn’t start it so that I could sell you a lash adhesive or two… or so you could take one of our courses to add a certificate to your wall of 16 others. I want to have a meaningful impact. I want to get you solidified in your career and to propel the industry forward, together by developing a committed relationship and pouring into each other.

It’s high time you started believing in yourself. Your business needs you to believe in it, and commit to using high quality products and education. Your clients need you to be consistent in your results. And you need to allow yourself to get out of the anxiety state of constantly trying to find a miracle *course, product, IG reel* to change your life. I want you to partner with us, so I can show you exactly why I created Sugarlash PRO.

Need even more business advice? LashPRO Accelerator is open for registration until April 11th!

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