Interview with the Lash Maven
Investing in your business can be a really tough choice. When clients just aren’t coming through the door, you don’t have the money to spend on lash or business training, and taking time off work means missing out on potential bookings! So how do you stay on top of your lash game, keep up with a constantly-changing industry, and build a client-base that keeps you juuuuuust the right type of busy? We asked one of our Sugarlash PRO Brand Ambassadors Cassie Mayer (you may know her as @the_lash_maven) the key to her success in the lash industry, what education has done for her career, and how she tripled her income in two years.
SLP: Tell us about yourself!
CM: My name is Cassandra (Cassie) Mayer, I am a 32 year old wife and mother of 4 amazing kids! I Live just outside of Toronto and I am the owner of The Lash Maven Inc.—an eyelash extension studio—and co-owner of Oracon Ltd—an electrical contracting company. Before [getting into] eyelash extensions, I went to university for forensic science. I quickly realized that wasn't my thing and switched to George Brown College to go through makeup school. Polar opposites, I know! I did makeup for 10 years before getting into lashes. I'm a total type-A personality, and ultra organized. Maybe to a fault? But it works for us as we have a ton on our plate with 2 businesses and 4 kids.
My biggest joy is spending time with my kids and my husband. More than anything, I love being a Mom. I'd have two more babies if he would get on board, haha!
SLP: Tell us about your lash business.
CM: My lash business started as a side service to offer my makeup clients. One day I decided to get my lashes done, so I booked an appointment, and the lash tech who did them was also a makeup artist. We got to chatting and I left thinking "Why am I not doing lashes too?!"
That was in November 2014. I was registered for my classic lash course by January 2015 and certified soon after.
[After my course] I started off just practicing on friends and family—and all totally for free. At the time lash extensions were still relatively new to my area and people were very intrigued by this new skill I had. I probably did 50 full sets for free. I needed the experience and I sure got it! I made it clear that as soon as I was certified I would start charging, but you know what [offering free practice sets] did for my business?! It created a buzz. Word of mouth spread like crazy and referrals came in so fast that I couldn't believe my eyes. Within my first month of being certified, I was so booked I had to sit down with my husband and discuss my options. Lashes turned into a full out business and I wasn't even ready for it. That's when I decided to quit doing makeup.
I sat down and I designed a beautiful lash studio in my home and [my husband] got to work building it for me. A month later I was all moved in and totally ready to be a full-time lash tech. I quickly booked up and quite literally shocked myself at how well this business took off.
SLP: How has your income changed in the last 2 years, and what are you projected to make this year as a lash artist/business owner?
CM: My first year of lashing I made very good money, I averaged $40 an hour that year. This year, I sat down and worked out how to make the most money I possibly could—and that plan has included adding more retail products to my studio. I sell LashPure Cleanser—because every client needs one every couple months—a growth serum for those clients with fragile lashes, and I've just started selling Lipsense, which has increased my profits astronomically. Looking at my books, I'm averaging somewhere between $100-$130 per hour.
You have to work smarter, not harder. This year is my third year in business and I can confidently say I make more money than any of my friends I went to university with. To be totally honest, I probably make more money than most people I know besides doctors and lawyers—but even then, I'm close. The potential income being a lash tech is unreal, and learning how to unlock that [potential] is essential.
SLP: What do you attribute your success to?
CM: Well, probably more than anything [it’s] the drive to succeed and leave a profitable business behind for my daughters. Because of that, I want to stay relevant and up to date with the industry. I want to know and use only the best products and adhesives, and most importantly for me is training.
Anyone in the beauty industry knows how fast trends change. There's always a new technique or product out there. I dedicate money every year to do a minimum of 2 trainings per year. I search out lash techs I admire and if they have training dates I will be in their class. I am going on my third Russian volume training this year and I couldn't be more excited. You never know what you will pick up and from who. Plus it's just fun connecting with other like-minded individuals. And of course, it's always nice to meet your lash idols too! I've done 5 lash trainings in two years and I'm nowhere near done. Each averaged between $800-$2500, so I have invested a lot of money into my own education and my prices reflect that.
SLP: Why would you encourage lash artists to continue their education?
CM: You have to stay up to date and relevant. If you don't, you will be long forgotten and your skills will be rusty and your knowledge outdated. Look how much we have learned just about cyanoacrylate in the last two years—or nano misting. If you don't update your skills or your knowledge you have no competitive edge in the industry.
SLP: What do you think of the LashPRO Accelerator Program module lineup?
CM: I honestly think this is an insane value! For new or old lash techs, this class is like the holy grail of starting a lash business. I remember when I first heard the price of the class my mouth dropped. Excellent, excellent value! I would even say invaluable. I will also be taking this program, even though my business is established, you can never stop learning and some of my fave lash techs are teaching in it so I'm all in!
SLP: What would you say is the key to success in the lash industry?
CM: The key to success is not giving up. Practice nonstop, continue your education as much as you can afford, engage with other lash techs, and support each other and inspire each other. (Some of my best friends are lash techs I've met over Instagram or Facebook lash groups!). Never tear someone's work down— we were all new once. Stay focused on your goals because you have chosen a career that will easily allow you to accomplish them all! But most of all, find your balance. It's easy to overbook clients because the money is so good, but you have to give yourself downtime.
SLP: What are you optimistic about in the future of the lash industry?
CM: I'd like to see more lash techs raise their prices, and so far I've noticed more and more doing so. I am optimistic the industry is continuing to expand and we have this amazing global community of lash techs that have [banded] together through social media to keep the industry standards high. I love my lash family!
*Interview has been edited for length and clarity
Photo - @the_lash_maven