5 Pieces of Advice From Lash Expert Esther Bolkin
Esther Bolkin, Founder of Glad Lash and Pioneer in Single Strand LashesPhoto By Esther Bolkin
Esther Bolkin has always had a passion for the beauty industry, as well as for running her own business. It all started in the early '80s when she first obtained an esthetician license, and then purchased a company that distributed the best flare lashes (a.k.a individual lashes) in the industry. From there she traveled to trade shows around the country hoping to increase her clientele.
Her entire business changed in the early 2000s, as innovative new trends and products started coming out of Asia: single strand eyelash extensions – hair on hair techniques that were new to the US market. She recognized that single strand eyelash extensions were something she needed to invest in, and so she became an expert in the products and application techniques. Upshot: She was one of the first companies to bring these new single strand eyelash extensions and adhesives to the US, and she began manufacturing them in America as well.
Today, Glad Lash Inc. and GladGirl Inc. are international manufacturers and distributors of professional and non-professional eyelash and eyebrow extensions, application tools, after-care and makeup formulated for use with eyelash extensions. Glad Lash also specializes in the art of eyelash and brow extension application and training. The product range includes, but is not limited to the following:
- Eyelash and brow extensions
- Flare and strip lashes
- Extension kits
- Application and maintenance tools, as well as makeup, marketing materials, apparel and gift items.
- Committed to providing quality training courses through Glad Lash Academy
Here, Bolkin provides answers to your questions about the eyelash application biz:
MODERN SALON: How can salons or others in the industry work with your company (e.g., by selling your products or services, becoming an affiliated trainer, working at the company itself)?
- Professionals can buy directly from our Glad Lash website at wholesale pricing. Non-professional lash and brow lovers can purchase directly from our GladGirl pages on the main Glad Lash website.
- In addition, we provide Glad Lash and GladGirl branding items for salons and individual artists such as POS materials, posters and more.
- Anyone interested in becoming a Glad Lash trainer should contact [email protected]. The company offers a free lead generation tool for all lash and brow artists called the GladGirl Artist Directory, online video trainings and regular blog posts covering the salon industry, artist wellness and much more to help lash and brow professionals expand and grow their businesses.
MS: What’s your best advice to people who want to launch a successful business in this industry?
- Our advice is that lash/brow artists need to be properly trained, licensed and become as skilled as they possibly can – taking advantage of training opportunities in new and traditional techniques.
- In terms of growing their business, individual artists can’t depend only on word-of-mouth in this competitive industry. They should hone their social media skills to grow their business.
- That said, professionals need to understand the market, such as pricing, so they are charging competitive rates in their area.
- We conducted an international Professional Lash and Brow Artists' Industry Survey and found that many of the challenges artists experience today include procuring new clients as well as offering competitive pricing. In addition, while 78% of the participants engage in social media to showcase their work, half do not have a business website to help promote their business.
MS: When it comes to setting prices how can artists ensure they are charging a competitive and fair rate?
- Prices should be based on skill level, what prices the market will bear in your area and not the competition.
- If you are fresh out of school, your prices will have to increase as your skill level increases. Check around in your area and get an average of prices, and find your “sweet spot”. Take your profession seriously and never sell yourself short.
MS: Are there any innovations with respect to products/treatments/techniques happening that you can highlight?
- LashLift, which is our trademarked name (aka Eyelash Perming) has been around since the 80s but is extremely popular right now. Some estheticians are using the service as an alternative service, or as an additional add-on service to eyelash extensions. This is an option for clients who might not want eyelash extensions, but want to achieve a maximum curl and lift without having to use an eyelash curler.
- Check with your state board for licensing requirements on eyelash perming. We’ve also created many unique makeup and aftercare products formulated for eyelash extensions. It’s essential that professionals teach their customers how to properly care for their new lashes. These products also create an additional revenue stream for professionals, as they can be retailed to their customers.
MS: What are the different lash types and what types of looks are best achieved with them?
- Right now, Volume lashes are a big deal. Extra thin eyelash extensions .03 to .07 are being used for Volume lashes. Volume fans give a fluffy 3D filled in look. Some lash technicians like to make Volume lash fans free-handed with special Volume tweezers, or you can buy them pre-made. Our pre-made fans are so popular and really amazing. They help the lash artist save on much needed time.
- Flat lashes give the illusion of a thicker lash, while weighing less on your clients’ natural lashes. Also, some technicians like that Flat lashes have more surface area at the base, which may contribute to better bonding of the eyelash extension to the natural lash.
- Classic eyelash extensions can be made with different types of materials –synthetic fibers being the most popular material, since they retain their shape and curl with superior bonding strengths. Classic eyelash extensions come in a variety of colors, curls, thickness and lengths.
- Different lash looks, such as natural, dramatic and cat eye, can be achieved with Classic, Flat and Volume Eyelash Extensions by varying the lengths and where they are placed on the natural lashes. For example, a cat eye would have very short lengths on the inner corner, graduating to longest lengths on the outer corner.