Michelle Mirizio, owner of Let’s Talk Makeup Salon and Spa in West Palm Beach, Florida, and NovaLash brand ambassador, has one simple question for any salon or spa owner who isn’t offering eyelash extension services: “What are you waiting for?”
“The market for eyelash extensions is stronger than ever,” Mirizio says. “In 2004, the very beginning of the eyelash industry, everyone thought it would be a fad. But there are advantages to wearing lash extensions, and it’s a versatile service to meet many needs.”
In 2006, while Mirizio was an esthetician and nail tech at another salon, she saw an article about eyelash extensions and was intrigued.
“I saw the before-and-after photo and knew I needed to take a class and start doing the service myself,” she says.
Over a period of six months, she transformed her nail clientele to new lash clients. To lure them in, she made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.
“I had an introductory offer of $199 that included a full set of lashes (normally $250),” Mirizio says. “Clients then come in every five to six weeks for a touch-up, which is $95.”
Suzette Zuena, owner of Lash House Beauty Boutique in Livingston, New Jersey, has been doing lashes for 10 years and is passionate about the service. She opened Lash House five years ago, which specializes in the service.
“A lash client can be anyone,” she says. “We have girls in high school who use their parents’ credit cards, professionals like doctors or lawyers, housewives and even an 83-year-old who gets driven to us by her 63-year-old son.”
Zuena says some clients simply want to get rid of the mascara routine in the morning while others crave full, long lashes.
“We post lots of before-and-after photos so potential clients can see for themselves what a difference a lash service makes,” she says.
The salon is outfitted with private rooms with Tempurpedic cloud beds to promote relaxation during the lash service as well.
“Some clients come in on their lunch hour, sneak in a nap and wake up well-rested with long lashes,” Zuena says.
Mirizio also opened her salon specializing in lash extensions five years ago and lashes now make up 80% of her business.
“We market mostly by word-of mouth,” she says. “And I have standing clients who book far in advance—they are neurotic about their lashes.”
A Pretty Profit
NovaLash offers three different types of lash extensions: Classic, Minx (lighter-weight lashes) or American Volume. The average price for a full set ranges from $250-500 with fills ranging from $60-150. Add-on services include colored lashes or candied/glittered lashes that sparkle.
The cost of adding lash extensions to the salon menu is minimal to the owner. A spa or waxing room can be used, and the cost of product per client ranges from just $3-7.
“If the average rate for a class to get certified is $1,500, you can make your original investment back in four new clients,” Mirizio says. “These clients will be returning clients because they will need to get a fill on a monthly basis.”
Profitability is boosted with sales of products to maintain the lashes. “We send the client home with products that will help the lashes last longer and stay clean and conditioned,” Mirizio says.
Lash House offers clients waxing, brow tinting, lash tinting, lash treatments, makeup application, sunless tanining, mani/pedis and HydraFacial, but Zuena says her eyelash extensions make up 80% of her business.
“Our clients have been with us for years, so we make it affordable by having lash packages—purchase six sessions and get one free.”
The other services offered at Lash House are also designed to complement the extension service.
“The HydraFacial machine is great because there is absolutely no steam, and it’s used around the eye area,” Zuena says. “We also specialize in brow shaping, brow extensions and brow tinting, which complement your lashes and frame your face.”
And to really maximize clients’ time, the salon also does manicures and gel manicures while the client is lying down getting lash extensions—a perk guests love that ups the service ticket.
Mirizio says her typical lash client spends $1,100 per year not including retail. Although most clients never stop wearing the lashes once they start, if they do remove them, there’s no damage to the natural lash. Clients feel made up and can leave the house without having their makeup done,” Mirizio says. “And lashes can give you an eyelift by the way they are applied.”
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