Everybody wants to look their best, which is likely why the global beauty industry was worth an estimated $145.3 billion in 2020. On average, women in the U.S. spend $313 per month or $3,756 per year on beauty rituals and pampering experiences, such as manicures and pedicures. The trend is further fueled by the popularity of social media platforms and "selfies."
Nowadays, false eyelashes and eye makeup are all the rage. If you're looking to start an eyelash extension business, expect good opportunities within the industry. With good resources and a great business plan, you can join the ever-growing beauty industry and help women look and feel their best. Keep reading to find out what you need to get started with your own lash business.
Develop the Required Skills
Before you can start offering eyelash extension services, you need to gain the required skills for the job and keep improving and developing those skills. To make sure you're registering for the right eyelash extension course or learning from the right person, consider the following:
- Research the license requirements of your state regarding lash artists. Are you required to get eyelash extension training from accredited institutions? Do you need to be a registered esthetician? Do you need to have a certification in cosmetology?
- The different styles of eyelash extensions. Familiarize yourself with each style to see which ones you'd like to specialize in.
- Look for a course structure that works for your schedule and learning pace. For example, can you handle a two-day crash course or will you be more comfortable with a four-week lash training? Some courses also offer ongoing support for skills development. Check to see if this is available in your area.
- Find a lash technician whose work you admire and who you think is genuinely willing to teach. It's easier to learn from someone you respect and like.
Create a Business Plan
Don't get intimidated by the words "business plan." Your business plan doesn't have to be pages and pages of complicated financial analyses and market research. Instead, think of it as a map detailing how you want to start and grow your business.
Your business plan should include:
- A brief description of your business
- The services you offer
- Your marketing strategy
- The legal structure of your business
- Market research
- Startup costs and how you plan to fund your business
- Pricing and how much you expect to earn
If you're unsure where to start, you can find free business plan templates online. In addition, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) have great tips and tools that allow you to create a well-researched business plan.
To have accurate and reliable numbers in your business plan, you need to do market research. Market research means gathering information about your potential customers, your competitors, and the industry. It doesn't have to be too in-depth. You only need enough to make sure there's a need for your service.
For instance, if you live in an area where most residents are of retirement age, you might have a small market. However, if you're the only one offering the service, that makes your business viable even if only half the town needs or wants your service.
Next, determine your startup costs. Your startup costs will vary primarily on whether you're setting up a lash room in your home, renting a chair in an existing beauty salon, or starting your own lash salon. If you'll be operating in your home or sharing a space with other lash technicians, your rent and utility expenses might be minimal. However, if you open your own studio, you'll need the capital for rent deposits and ongoing monthly costs.
For supplies and equipment, you'll need:
- A comfortable eyelash extension bed or reclining chair
- A quality ring light
- An ergonomic rolling chair
- A lash cart, shelves, or storage
- Linens and covers for your reclining chair or bed
- Eyelash extension supplies (e.g., high-quality lashes, tweezers, and adhesive)
- Decor for your home station or lash bar
Lastly, determine how much you'll charge for your services. Prices generally depend on where you live. For instance, New Yorkers can expect to pay $100 to 400 for a basic full set (70 to 80 lashes per eye).
When calculating your pricing structure, consider your operating expenses and how much other local eyelash extension artists charge. If you're confident, you may choose to offer your services at higher prices. To stay competitive, remember that you'll have to make sure your customers are getting a great value for their money. On the other hand, don't price your services so low that you can't make enough money to cover your expenses.
The sections below will have more details about marketing strategies and choosing the legal structure of your business.
Building Your Eyelash Extension Business
There's a famous quote by Benjamin Franklin that says, "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail." This rings true if you're planning to start a profitable business of any kind. You'll be investing your hard-earned money, time, and effort into your business. Ensure you are doing your due diligence to prepare and understand how to start and grow your investment.
Business Registration, Insurance, and Licenses
Before you can legally open your business, you may need to register it. You can choose from four business structures - sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), corporation, or a partnership.
If you're registering for a sole proprietorship, you can use your Social Security number (SSN) to register your business name or DBA (doing business as). You'll need an employer identification number (EIN) for all other business structures.
For other permits and licenses, contact your local business development agency or the secretary of state's office. You can also check the SBA database and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for licensing and tax requirements by state.
What else do you need to get for your business?
- Insurance: Make sure you get business insurance to protect you from liability and provide coverage in case of injury to customers.
- Business bank account: Whether you register your business as a sole proprietorship or as an LLC, consider getting a business bank account. It's essential to your day-to-day operations to have a dedicated bank account where you can accept and pay your expenses. Keeping track of your income and expenses will also be easier and faster with a business bank account.
Design a Marketing Strategy
All businesses rely on marketing to let customers know about services and how to get them. It's important to start marketing and networking even if you're still in the process of getting your certification. It's never too early to advertise your services.
As you get more comfortable putting yourself out there, you'll find methods that will work for you. Here are a few ways to reach your potential customers:
- Use social media platforms to introduce your business. Being visible on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok can help you attract clients. You can show photos and videos of your work. To keep your followers engaged, you can post advice on lash extension aftercare and retention, interesting information about lashes, and promos.
- Post on Facebook Marketplace local groups. This is also an effective marketing strategy to reach new clients near you.
- Build your own website. Even if you're on social media, make sure you have a dedicated website. Your website does not have to be elaborate. You only need a page to introduce yourself as a lash professional, a page that lists your services, and an online booking system.
- Link your website to Google My Business to make sure you show up when people search for lash extension services in your area. You can also add your business to Yelp.
- Attend community or volunteering events. You don't have to hand out flyers or business cards at these events. Instead, your purpose is to better know the community you serve.
- Small businesses thrive on word-of-mouth marketing. Make sure you're asking your customers (politely) for referrals and testimonials.
Grow Your Business Daily
The growth of your new business starts from day one. Before you welcome your first customer, make sure you're ready for every aspect of your eyelash extension business. Aside from giving your customers amazing eyelashes, you also need the following:
- Payment options: You'd probably prefer cash or e-transfer, but not all customers may want to pay that way. You need to offer different modes of payment, such as Paypal or Square for debit and credit cards.
- Receipts: Offer to send customers their receipts through email. In the same email, add a gentle reminder for your customer to book their next appointment. This is effective and efficient marketing in play. For easily customizable receipts, use Skynova's template. Our business templates are professional-looking and can be directly emailed to clients.
- Accounting: If you want to claim business expenses when you do your taxes, you need to keep your receipts. The IRS expects you to be able to back up your claims, so you can't be guessing and estimating numbers. You can minimize the challenge of tracking your income and expenses with Skynova's all-in-one invoicing and accounting software. It keeps all of your receipts organized, backed up, and in one place.
Build Your Eyelash Extension Business With Skynova
As you've probably learned by now, there's more to owning an eyelash extension business than applying extensions. You have to do your due diligence and get the proper licenses and permits to operate your business in compliance with the law. You also need to protect your business with insurance coverage.
To make sure your business is complying with tax requirements, you need to keep accurate records of your income, expenses, and sales taxes (if applicable). Thankfully, you can do all of that with Skynova's all-in-one invoicing and accounting software.