If you’re a beauty aficionado, or even if you’re not, you are probably obsessing over your eyelashes like millions of women throughout the U.S. I know I am. According to a recent ABC News report, the lash market is set to exceed $1.5 billion in product alone over the next 5 years.
The downside for beauty companies is women are buying less mascara. Guilty as charged. A recent Business of Fashion report backs this up. As mascara loses its relevance, sales growth is expected to slow to only 2 percent through 2021, from 4 percent in the last three years.
This is all especially interesting as we are in the digital age of “YouTubers” taking over the beauty industry with with their makeup tutorials. With lash extensions formally a more exclusive celebrity and model mainstay, the one beauty caveat to this trend seems to be the growing consumer market for the longer-lasting effect an eyelash professional can deliver. Enter LA-based The Blink Bar.
Capitalizing on the explosion of social media, friends and influencers sharing their best beauty secrets with the world, The Blink Bar founder and CEO, Tirzah Shirai quickly saw an opportunity to transform the beauty industry. With the objective of providing a safe, community-oriented environment where women can come to feel uplifted and empowered, locations were designed to ensure each of the salons had an open floor plan as well as a comfortable, inviting reception area.
Launching the concept in 2015 with a single pop-up shop on the weekends in Santa Monica, Shirai explained that her impetus was her inability “to find anyone in L.A. that was doing eyelash extensions that looked really natural, didn’t damage the lashes and would look good on camera. It was a need that wasn’t being met for women and it’s time was here.” Shirai took this one step further by becoming a lash technician herself, and began performing services at her pop-up.
What attracted clients to her services was that she genuinely wanted to enhance their natural beauty instead of having them conform to what others may define as beautiful. In no time BlinkBar became a destination that women trusted for consistent results.
The timing couldn’t have been better with the explosion of Instagram and the age of the selfie. In just a few short years The Blink Bar has grown revenues from $220,000 in 2015 to reporting close to $6,000,000 in 2018 and a 2019 revenue projection to exceed $10,000,000 after. Using customization as a key differentiator, the salons offer more than 300 types of different eyelashes and an endless list of options from “Coquette”, “Temptress” and “Vixen.” Shirai explained, the entire process takes about two hours and the approach is designed “to really bring out and enhance the natural beauty that every woman possesses.” After all, who doesn’t want to wake up looking just a bit more flawless?
If you’re a newbie, or even if you’re not, Shirai shared several of her lash secrets and key advice before you take the plunge or make your next visit.
- Lash Extension Sizing Is Critical. Although you may be tempted, never have your lash technician apply extensions double the size of your own natural lashes. The Blink Bar application technique preserves the health of your lashes. By doubling the size, you can potentially jeopardize your natural lashes. The Blink Bar lash technicians are highly trained in sizing properly to the individual client which is key to preserving eyelash health.
- Time Certain Treatments. A “Lash Lift”, which sets the shape of your natural lashes for an added lift and volume effect will reduce the contrast of your natural lashes against the extensions. It uses a chemical solution and should only be done a week or more prior to the extension application.
- Use This Maintenance Trick. One of the ways to preserve and elongate your treatment is to shampoo your lashes. The Blink Bar encourage clients to regularly wash their lashes.
- Save Time. The most common reason clients come in for lash extensions is to minimize their beauty routine for the ‘I woke up like this’ effect. If you have a busy schedule this is a real bonus and also a great way to periodically detox for two hours.
- Get The Look. News flash. The most commonly requested lash looks are Mila Kunis and Kerry Washington. If you want to avoid some of the guesswork, try either of these styles. It’s a great way to get started and grow into refining your own look.
Finally, with a vision of expanding to over 1000 locations and building a brand that women can truly trust, The Blink Bar has set its sights on becoming the Starbucks of the lash extension world. Shirai advises founders launching new businesses that one of her most important lessons she has learned over the years is “to not try to be everything to everyone. Be who you are and passionately stand behind it. And don’t be afraid to start small. By starting small, we were able to grow our brand alongside our clientele, nur