Find out all about how Anna Phillip, the first lash tech and trainer in the U.S got started, built her empire of over a hundred salons since 2006 after switching from IT.
When you’re a newbie trying to make out in the world of lashing, it’s important to take inspiration from others who’ve made their mark in this industry. The trick to doing it is by learning from the professionals. While I try to offer my best tips to all of you every month, you can also take inspiration from other lash techs and artists around the world who’ve done it.
Today we’re going to talk about one such artist named Anna Phillips, the CEO, and founder of Lash Lounge. From her switching careers to becoming America’s first lash trainer, there’s a lot to learn from her journey.
In the following article, you’ll find out all about her history, achievements, and opinions on how she got to be who she is today. We’ve compiled four of her most famous interviews in Franchise Chatter to Elle, Best Team Wins, Scale With Joy, Authority Magazine, and other sources so that you can learn more about the industry and how to make it work. It spans over almost a decade and emerging lash techs, as well as salon owners, can use it to learn about her achievements and how it happened gradually over the years.
Reading all about her achievements will help you notice and resolve your own challenges faced within the industry too.
Let’s get started!
One of the first persons to bring lash extensions to America, Anna Phillips is the face of modern beauty today. She is not just one thing, but many things from aesthetician to permanent makeup artist, owner of Lash Lounge Salons all over the country, and even a massage therapist among other things.
Before plunging into the world of lashes, Anna worked as an IT systems admin for a few years. She switched from the technical field in the early 2000s because of many reasons. Some of those reasons were that ‘massage therapy’ and ‘wellness’ caught her fancy. Anna worked for a whole decade in the beauty industry before she completely picked up lash extensions as her full-time profession.
At the time, there weren’t any lash extension salons. Clients would fly or drive for hours to get their infills done. Renowned as the first lash trainer at the time, Anna founded ‘Rejuvenate Spa’ in 2003 that offered massage therapy in addition to lash extensions. While that had to close down, she became a global service trainer for Xtreme Lashes from 2005 to 2009 until she found the Lash Lounge in 2009.
Why? Extensions didn’t cost a fortune, most of the money went into labor.
Now that you know a brief history of Anna’s beginnings, it’s time to turn to her hurdles, accomplishments, and much more in the coming sections. Take a look at the complete compilation of interviews with Anna from different hosts in the past decade to get to know her more.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that the questions and answers have been paraphrased and re-written for the Dolvlashes website.
Host: Franchise Chatter
Answer: Began from a single room in 2005, Anna opened the shop to meet the rising demand for lash extensions. She had two options- to get bigger or stop taking any more clients. As there weren’t any competitors for this novel idea, Anna had to start from scratch to build the entire industry by researching, creating the manual, protocols, and processes.
Answer: Once Anna was done with her homework in 2005, Anna Phillips opened the Lash Lounge in 2006. In just a year, she opened another, and another in the coming weeks. Once Anna started franchising in 2010 with her first franchisee client and since then opened three more locations by 2011, and another by the end of 2012.
Answer: Set in a luxurious setting, the Lash Lounge guarantees relaxation during lash treatments. The main thing about the salon is eyelash extensions. They are popular for perming, tinting, for lashes and brows besides permanent makeup. The Lash Lounge also has trendy clothing, gifts, jewelry, and makeup for interested customers.
Answer: Brought to the U.S in 2004, eyelash extensions were famed to bring over $1 Billion annually by 2010. It expanded the $40 billion cosmetics industry. By the time of this interview in 2012, it had crossed the $14 Billion per year mark with a steady growth rate. According to Anna, the earning potential of a Lash Lounge franchise would bring in $532,000 to $734,000 to each location.
Lash Lounge is unique with its exclusive focus on eyelashes. Customers can also enjoy extra services for their eyebrows to pair the extensions flawlessly with their facial features at the same salon.
Answer:One of the best things about being a Lash Lounge owner is to be part of the first-ever destination for lashes in the country. But even better is that you get the complete manual to operate a great lash salon right from the pioneers. There’s a thriving support system at the Lash Lounge family to help new lash artists and salon owners excelling on their own.
There are several different products at every Lash Lounge. From lash-specific products to cosmetics, and even a sassy salon, it’s a good business to earn well and enjoy yourself.
Answer:Anna says she has a definitive business plan and course. The Lash Lounge provides support and facilities to excel the salon.
Here’s her bullet-points verbatim-
The Lash Lounge is one of the best in the country for its thorough and well-defined process that Anna has created herself.
Answer: Anna briefs the three key reasons as shown below:
The recurring clientele is the mark of an eyelash extension salon like the Lash Lounge. Most often, clients come back every two weeks to redo their lashes. When the customer is satisfied, it means business twice a month from the same person.
The second thing about Lash Lounge is its high-quality service, no matter who the customer is. Anna claims that most of their clients can tell lash extensions done at the Lash Lounge vs other places.
The third and final thing behind the success of the Lash Lounge is how it offers a one-stop shop for semi-permanent and permanent beauty. Anna’s salons offer the best and easiest makeup tool that avoids the need for eyeliners and mascaras.
Answer: The basic franchise fee of the Lash Lounge salon is $30,000. You also have to pay the royalty fee of 6% of the revenue to the company. You’ll also be charged 2% for the national marketing campaigns monthly on the gross revenue. You also need $220,00 to $383,000 to open a Lash Lounge salon. This includes the complete setup of things a lash salon needs to start functioning from the get-go.
Answer: Anna back then hoped to expand by adding brow services to her menu by 2012 as per customer demands. They also plan to collaborate with luxury hotel chains to create ‘The Express Lash Lounge’ services within boutique hotels.
Answer: With six lash salons under her sleeve at the time of this interview in Texas, Anna aspires to open 10 more by the end of 2012 and 25 more Lash Lounges by 2015 (around Chicago).
Host: Amber Katz, Elle
Answer: It was G.W Griffith who is attributed to the creation of the world’s first lash extensions over 100 years ago. His goal- lashes that brushed against the cheek of the heroine to add more drama. Gauze and human hair were the first of lash extensions.
Lash extensions are popular for the way it enhances the look of eyes without the hassle of eye makeup. Anna says it’s all about having the least maintenance.
Answer: Unlike one-time lashes, eyelash extensions are applied one at a time to your natural lashes. It’s not as rigid as other false lashes and poses the least problems. It’s possible to choose a natural or a dramatic style based on your preference and even swim or workout wearing these lashes.
Answer: Anyone with eyelashes can get lash extensions. Anna says they do even have cancer patients for treatments. In such a case, Anna lets the client know beforehand that extensions would magnify the sparseness on their lash line. That being said, such lashes make the original lashes look thick and dark. Most often, customers go through with the treat. Anna agrees the only downfall is you need to grow lashes if you don’t have them.
Answer: At Anna’s salons, they start by gathering a clear idea of the lash extension style that the client wants at first. Once they’re ready, the client is requested to lay down on a table. Two things are taped onto the bottom lashes- an anti-wrinkle gel pad and medical-grade tape. Next, each eyelash is isolated with tweezers and affixed with a lash extension using the lash glue. After five seconds that it takes to dry, the next extension is added. For a typical starter set, it takes about 50 eyelash extensions per eye. Doing a full set requires about 1.5 hours. If it’s about refills, the total time would only be 30 minutes.
To put things into perspective, if you do a full set of lash extensions and never go for a refill, you’ll remain with one extension on your eyelashes after two months. Anna recommends getting refills every two to three weeks.
Answer: Yes, for example, a ‘natural setting’ where lash extensions are applied to make eyelashes look as natural as they can. Anna’s lash techs use three different lengths of lash extensions on average for the inner, middle, and outer corners of eyes.
Answer: Nothing much but a poor job of application by the lash tech can be detrimental to the health of your lashes. This mainly happens due to a bad job of isolation which happens when one extension is glue onto multiple natural lashes. The second thing is the lash adhesive allergy, which Anna Says, is very rare.
Host: Adam Robinson, The Best Team Wins
Answer: Specializing in eyelash extensions, Anna broke out of the corporate world by doing what she was passionate about. Getting into the service industry was really her love and Anna slowly moved into facials and other beauty techniques.
Anna says she says she was just at the right place at the right time because she was right there when lash extensions began appearing in the United States. It was a light bulb moment for Anna, she realized she needed to get in on the lash extensions trend.
And, within a few, she was overwhelmed by the number of clients that came to her. After opening three salons in three years, Anna went on to franchise The Lash Lounge.
Answer: Anna’s goal was initially to open just one salon, she confesses. But it exploded into the second and third locations that succeeding at a fast pace. As she couldn’t keep up with branching out, she thought it would be great to share it with other entrepreneurs. She exclaims it’s the best system that you can have a business and have a family. For her clients, it’s the best thing to avoid the usual trial and error that comes with starting a business.
Answer: Anna confesses she is the sole owner of the Lash Lounge but as soon as she opened franchises she was already a multi-store owner. It was complicated until she realized she needed experts to help the Lash Lounge grow even more sporadically to overtake the industry. Anna calls it an enlightening moment to realize this although it was hard finding the perfect partners. She calls her partners a working engine of the Lash Lounge.
Answer: Anna shares that partners with the same caliber as you bring on board accountability by inviting partners into the business. She finds growth the best way to refine her lash extension business. Anna agrees it has helped to jump miles into success. It’s helped the business front and feels like someone else is running on the treadmill with her.
Answer: Anna honestly shares that sometimes with growth, you have to be practical just to keep the business running. She has come across people who were with the Lash Lounge since the beginning and had to be laid off because they’d completed their goals and no longer added productively to the developmental changes.
Anna manages a small office with four people in her main office who are dedicated to the Lash Lounge.
Host: Jason Hartman, Authority Magazine, Medium
Answer: It was due to being laid off that Anna switched from switching to the personal care industry. She’d always loved the skincare and massage industry that it was exciting. It became even better when she found semi-permanent eyelash extensions that were entirely new in the U.S at that time.
As Anna was the first person to offer lash extension treatments, it was an incredibly busy time for her. Within a few months, she had appointments going into months. When she couldn’t keep up, Anna decided to open a salon entirely dedicated to lash extensions.
The rest is history.
Answer: Anna says lash extensions took a huge chunk out of the mascara industry and that of strip lashes. Eyelash extensions have also displaced other beauty regimens like hair, nails, waxing, and other cosmetic therapies to emergy as a must-have too. Overall, it’s the best tool that helps customers to look their best.
Answer: Anna explains a story back from 2008 when she’d opened two salons already and was in her last trimester when her landlord at the time asked if she wanted to overtake the failed nail salon next door to her own salon. She decided to renovate as it was quite rundown to take a plunge at another business thinking it’d be golden like the Lash Lounge. Besides, she had a lot of common customers.
Anna painted and delegated a lot of the renovation works to open the nail salon the same week as her delivery. But in six months, she bit the tongue and bravely decided to close the doors of the nail salon permanently and focus solely on eyelash extensions.
Answer: Anna confesses she’s lucky to have come across some great people in her life. She attributes her father-in-law as the first mentor who was also an entrepreneur who got on his foot on his own. His words and support helped her many business decisions rightly.
Once she’d gotten into the franchise system, Anna also met a lot of professionals and experts who helped her reach where she was at the moment. This is one of the reasons she tries her best to pay it forward by mentoring others in the field of lash extensions.
Answer: Starting with ‘Patience’ to ‘Gratitude’, and ‘Resilience’ Anna shares why she respects these three virtues the most.
Patience: AP appreciates the words of her CEO who tells her to slow down and take her time with the responsibilities she’s succeeding with. Anna shares this has inspired her to prioritize things and to be a few steps ahead of the market as an entrepreneur.
Gratitude: Anna was once told by her hard-working manager that she never thanked her for the work she put in. It was eye-opening because she was deeply thankful for her manager’s work. Since then, Anna has been thanking her staff, customers, partners, collaborators, etcetera.
Resilience: Anna says franchising is nothing like being a single business owner. In her own words, “You must be able to bounce back and pick yourself up by your bootstraps one million times and keep going. I cannot count how many roadblocks I have run into over the years with my business but there’s always been a way over it, under it, around it or through it — you just have to be resilient and never give up”.
Answer: With one focus product it’s hard to avoid reinventing the wheel. Anna says she is planning to bring technology with her list of services to enhance it. She believes it will be disruptive and productive in the long run to keep the industry going.
Answer: Anna says her favorite is ‘Success isn’t final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” from Winston Churchill as her favorite. Anna says this quote hit her home because she has seen both highs and lows in the business several times and that both pass. It’s her courage to keep going that has helped her grow and several others with her brainchild- the Lash Lounge.
There are also many more interviews done by Anna that you can read or listen to know about her business process. She’s the face of eyelash extensions in the U.S and even globally.
Here are two podcasts if you’d like to listen to Anna’s interview in audio with Scale with Joy and What’s your F’ing Business.
Anna is a pioneer in the eyelash extensions industry. She has achieved something that others can only dream of. If you’re starting out with lashes, she’s a great inspiration to get started on the right foot.
Headquartered in Grapevine, Texas, the Lash Lounge is a private lash salon founded by Anna Phillips in 2006. Anna switched from IT to the beauty service industry shortly after being laid off from her corporate job. She started as a massage therapist a bit later and got her aesthetician’s license too.
But the real moment was when she stumbled into the world of eyelash extensions and decided to build this new industry in the U.S from the ground up. Since then, she opened several salons and slowly moved into franchising the Lash Lounge.
Anna has come a long way to become the founder of over a hundred lash salons today. You’ve learned all about her life, her favorite moments, her accolades, and her achievements in the world of eyelash extensions through the above interviews.
Go ahead and google her to know more about her feats today itself. There are many more interviews given by Anna that’s inspiring to new lash techs and salon owners.
Contact: [email protected]
Keep Dolvlashes bookmarked because we’ll be coming with a lot more interview posts in the coming days. But if you’re thinking of taking the hump and ordering lash extensions, go for an experienced and trustworthy manufacturer like Dolvlashes right away.
Here are more eyelash extension artist stories you can get to know more about.