Eyelash Magazine X LAshX
I was interviewed by Eyelash Magazine on the Secrets to a profitable lash business. The questions and answers from our interview are below, but first I will tell you the number 1 secret to success. If you do nothing but this first tip you are guaranteed success.
I have the privilege of meeting tons of lash professionals over the years and one of the most common comments that I get from people, who are new to learn about LAshX, is that they think it's great that I can charge the prices that I do at my lash bar, but in their location they feel they have to charge way less because of the "competition". Here is a secret; my business is not successful because of my location, or the fact that celebrities come to my salon. The secret is simple. To have a profitable fully booked schedule, you don't even need to read this entire article. The secret to a profitable thriving eyelash extension business is: lash retention equals client retention.
What does that mean? If your clients' lashes last longer and promote healthy natural lashes, you will automatically be busier, and make more money. Why is this true? You may be thinking, if clients come less, wont I make less money?
Most clients do not want to have to come in for fills every two weeks. If your lashes look good longer they will be more likely to keep them up for years. If their natural lashes get healthier you will be able to lash them for years. Word of mouth will spread that your lashes last longer and are safer and you will get busier. You will be able to charge more per service and see each client less often. The benefits for the client are that they save time and money. The benefits for your business is that you can accommodate more clients at a higher price per hour. You will be making a higher per hour fee. Read more about this and our system ON MY BLOG ABOUT LASH BUSINESS TIPS
ABOUT THE LASHX SYSTEM AND HOW IT MAINTAINS LASHES LONGER
ORDER THE CORE KIT TO SAMPLE THE SYSTEM
I partnered with Eyelash Magazine to answer the hard questions on what it takes day-to-day to maintain/create a profitable lash business.
"I have learned over the years it’s better to invest in quality products and equipment rather than the cheapest because in the long run it will save you."
EM: How can lash artists/studio owners make sure every dollar invested is a smart one?
M: I have learned over the years it’s better to invest in quality products and equipment rather than the cheapest because in the long run it will save you. I coach my lash partners to focus on being the best, rather than the cheapest, by providing quality products, ingredients, and the best possible service. This way they can charge a little more and ensure their clients keep coming back. Healthy lashes mean a client for life and longer lash retention leads to client retention! In addition think about services and products that can be added on, costing little or no time to increase margins. Time is our most valuable commodity in the service industry so anything that increases revenue without taking a lot of time, or decreases time of a service is a great investment. I have designed the LAshX system is designed around health which improves retention and leads to a better lash extension experience.
EM: When it comes to staffing smart to net profits does it pay off to hire staff that is well-trained at a higher level? Why or why not? Or, is it better to hire newbies and invest in them? Why or why not?
M: Hiring the right staff is the one of the most important things you do. I think more important than the new employee's skill level is their personality, if they mesh with the corporate culture, and if they have clear goals and values that fit the business. It's nice to have a mix of talent levels so the more experienced team can anchor your salon and train newer staff. Keeping a great staff is the other most important thing you do. I believe in paying my team well because they are the business. If you try and save money here it will probably end up costing you money in the long run. Having quality tools, supplies and inventory will also help you keep the most talented of staff. Stylists of talent and integrity don’t want to work with or recommend cheap sub par products.
EM: In terms of continuing education, how much does that investment pay off when it comes to staff and netting profits?
M: Education is so important. By making sure your team is the best there is, you are insuring clients keep coming back. Clients are quick to learn the newest techniques and trends now via media so it’s essential your team also stays cutting edge. It’s equally important for your team to know that you are invested in them and that they can continue to grow and have more opportunities within your company. We all need to feel like we are continually growing and the clients will love your team’s renewed excitement as they learn new skills.
EM: It’s never a guarantee that artists will stay with one studio. If a studio owner invests in education for their staff, how can they find a balance so their investment isn’t wasted? Is there any way to ensure artists stay with them if they foot the education bill?
M: Education should be a privilege and opportunity for teammates who show initiative or meet certain goals. Its great to spread out different trainings as staff grows with your team. Although you can't force an artist to stay with your company, hopefully if you have a great corporate culture that fosters growth, everyone will be no one will want to leave. Salons that we train go about these incentive programs differently and some have a contract that the stylists will work for a certain amount of time before leaving in exchange for lash training.
EM: How can a studio owner create an environment where staff wants to stay for the long haul so that they stay profitable? Why is this important?The most successful M: salons I work with have an amazing work culture. Setting up systems to coach and guide team allows employees a growth path. We all want to continue to grow and succeed.
"Ask Yourself, What would Starbucks Do?" - the Lashpreneur
EM: When it comes to setting prices how can artists ensure they’re not underselling themselves and undercutting their profits?
M: I coach my students and partners to differentiate themselves on things other than price. Its very hard to compete on price because someone will always be cheaper, and then with most services there is a max amount of hours you can work. I stress keeping prices higher but offering a better service and value. For example the LAshX lashes last 4 -8 weeks between fills, which is double almost all other brands so the client comes less, actually saves in the long run, but my lash pro can change top dollar for her time. Other strategies that are really successful include having a base price and then offering additional options to increase the price, for example volume lashes, under lashes or brow extensions. Learning how to educate and sell the aftercare will also save the client money, give them better results and increase your profits. We offer LAshX Proline Serums, Drama Liners, mascara, heated lash curlers, protein remover wipes, extra mascara wands, Lashx Lash Cleanser, Endure Lash cloths, and Beauty Booster supplements that all help improve natural lash health and give better extension results so they are really easy to suggest.
EM: In terms of setting prices, how should they determine their value?
M: When figuring out your pricing you want to account for the costs of your time, your experience and the value you are providing. Stylists can also research similar salons that offer similar services to know what the area is charging. Value should be determined based on the market and what the stylists is bringing to the table.
EM: How can they make sure their clients know they’re worth their prices?
M: Once you determine your value you need to stick to it. If client compares you to a competitor's prices , It’s your job to let them know what sets your apart. What value do you add? for example the quality of your products, or you include a free touchup, or your product or service last longer, the goal is to differentiate yourself on value rather than by trying to be the cheapest. Our LAshX Partners share that they are committed to lash health and offer a longer retention.
EM: Any other tips for setting prices to remain profitable? For example, Does adding service value work better than raising prices?; Does it help with profits to set various price points depending on the level of tech experience?; How should they determine service prices based on cash paid for supplies bought?; etc. And please tell us why any suggestions you offer work.
M: Time is your more precious resource, our supplies dont cost that much per client, even for the best quality. So by adding service value and keeping prices higher you will profit more. Adding on services are great because it cuts time. It is great if you can have different price points because that will appeal to a broader clientele but too many pricing options can often be confusing to a client. Also if your prices are too low clients will wonder why you under value your services. With lashes in particular, newer techs will take longer and thus be using the treatment room for a longer period of time, limiting how many clients or services can be done in that room for that day, you want to account for this if you are considering offering a lower price point for a newer service provider.
EM: What are some tips you can offer for maximizing space and creating maximum profits with the space artists/owners have?
M: Design is a very individual thing but when planning your space make sure you have enough room to comfortably work. Some lash bars will have lots of beds in one open area to maximize beds or treatment area, but I personally prefer to charge a little more and provide clients with a more private experience. For some clients their beauty appointments are their chance to vent, or share personal information and I want my clients to feel comfortable. Also for services where clients eyes are closed the whole time I think it’s a little scary when there are lots of noises going on around you. This is just a personal preference and I charge rates at my salon to accommodate for seeing less clients and giving a more private or personal experience.
EM: Is there a science to how many stations you can fit? If so what is it and why does it work?
M: When planning any treatment space You want to consider the size of the bed or table - usually about 3 feed and add at least a foot to each side for a table or lamp. Think about the services you will provide and the equipment you need and how you will store supplies. Also consider how close clients will be to each other and their level of comfort. Again remember this is not just a lash appointment, for some clients, its also therapy. I do prefer private rooms.
EM: What are some tips you can offer on booking smart to maximize profits?
M: In earlier years I would book people back to back trying to fit everyone in, because I hated to say I was unavailable to a client. I later realized that this would actually prevent me from giving my clients the best possible service. I now like to leave room in my schedule in case a client is a few minutes late, or wants to add a last minute small service to their appointment. This buffer prevents me from feeling stressed, running late and allows for flexibility.
EM: How much should you space out appointments for max profit? How do you make sure everyone stays stress-free/not overworked, too?
M: I add 15 minutes to how long the actual service usually takes the service provider, per guest. When performing many services on one guest I usually deduct a little time because I know services can be multi-tasked or overlapped a little. Remember you don’t have to change linens between services for the same guest either. Make sure to schedule breaks too!
EM: Where do the most profits come from? Packing in more clients per day or less clients with more services? Why?
M: Service providers will always make more per hour when they are seeing less clients but performing more services per client. The reason for this is there is a loss of time whenever you are in between clients, waiting for them to get settled, changing the linens, filling out forms, consultations. When you can maximize your time by performing several services on the same guest you can do it in less time and thus be making more per hour. You will also perform better, ensure client satisfaction and retention.
EM: How much does retail play into profits?
M: Retail is an essential part of the lash business that many service providers overlook. Not only will selling the right products to your clients help them maintain their lashes and actually save money on touchups, its revenue that does not take as much time. Studies show that clients that purchase 3 or more products from a service provider are 90% more likely to return to that service provider. Clients that purchase just 1 item are 25% more likely to return than the non purchasing guest. With lash extensions educating and retailing the correct after care is crucial to the guest having a successful experience with the lashes. In my salon services and retail are about 50% of the business each so if you aren't retailing you are leaving 50% of your potential earnings, that takes no additional time, on the table.
EM: Retailing clients after care products may mean they need to come in less for fills. How does this work to a lash artists’ benefit in terms of increasing profits?
M: We stress health, and I would much rather someone take care of their lashes. By ensuring a client's lashes remain healthy, your are making sure that client will have natural lashes to extend for life. Also clients talk and lash retention leads to client retention. No one wants to have to have an appointment every two weeks when they can look just as good coming in once a month. Word of mouth will spread and you will be busier if your lashes last longer and look better. LASH RETENTION = CLIENT RETENTION
EM: How much money should be put into marketing to make it worthwhile? And why?
M: No one can tell a salon owner or service provider how much money to put into marketing. Instead I would advise the business owner to think about the brand, the outcome or result wanted and what are all the options to get that result. There are tons of free or low cost ways to market. Most of us start out with a very small budget. The best advertising is still always a referral. At my salon we like to reward clients who refer friends. Social media is an amazing platform to market your work for free.
EM: How can they determine what marketing methods to use to net them the most return on investment?
M: Each business is different but you can always test a method and track the returns. The best way to see if something is working is to ask your clients how they found out about you. I am not a big fan of groupons or discounted sites because they take a large percentage and many of the clients from those sites bounce from deal to deal and don't always become loyal clients but I know they have been very successful for some people when they are able to get those clients to commit to a discounted package on the first visit.
EM: Will offering promotions (specials, packages, discounts, and loyalty and referral programs) help to increase or sustain profits? Why or why not?
M: It's always great to reward loyal guests with package discounts or other specials, as long as it makes sense financially to you. Everyone likes a deal or to be rewarded for sending a friend.
EM: Are there any die-hard rules or tips for tracking business expenses you can offer? Do you know of any proven systems to aid in this?
M: We are a larger business with tons of expenses so I have Point of Sale and Ecommerce systems that integrate with Quickbooks software. I also have a financial team, bookkeepers and CPA that help me track expenses and earnings. For smaller salons or individual service providers you could take photos of receipts and invoices and track them in excel or google sheets (I am an excel addict). Evernote is great for paperless records. It's so important to track the financial aspect or you won't know if you are working to get paid or paying to work. Quickbooks online syncs with most banks and credit cards and is really pretty easy to use. You can even take classes in it.
Check out my blog with more on building a sustainable beauty business - bit.ly/lashbusinesstips