You’re not alone. It’s not unlikely for new beauty professionals to feel self-doubt during the early stages. Even so, pursuing a career in beauty may have not been your first choice.
Meet Lash Artist, Educator, and owner of The Lash Shop, Fendi Oung. She has built herself a lashing empire that provides lash services, intensive training, and sell high-quality lash extension products. You can say that her business does it all.
However, Fendi didn’t always have plans to build a lash business, let alone start a career in the beauty industry. She had originally planned a career in pharmaceuticals prior.
“I wish I had a fairy tale story that I could tell you, like how I always knew I was going to be in the beauty industry. The truth is, I was really lost at one point in my life.”
Before Fendi got into the beauty industry during a difficult time in her life. She was in a bad relationship, had just started her career in the pharmaceutical industry, and was working two jobs. “I was feeling pretty low at one point and decided to treat myself to a set of lash extensions. This was a life-changing moment for me,” she says. “Who knew little synthetic hairs could make a difference? I walked out of that appointment with a sense of confidence that I never had before. I actually felt good about myself for the first time in a long time.”
After a few months of working in pharmaceuticals, Fendi was feeling burnt out from overworking herself. This was her cue that she needed to find a new job. She wanted to find a job that was fulfilling and flexible, then that was when she decided to give lash extensions a shot.
Fendi started researching about the lash industry and saved up enough money for a training course in lash extensions. “Some days I wanted to give up, but I kept on pushing,” she says. “Despite how hard it was, I felt so accomplished to be building my little lash business. It was something I created from the ground up.”
Fear of failing or not being good enough seems to be common thoughts. This tends to happen when business owners start comparing themselves to the competition. In our blog post about starting a side hustle as a beauty professional, Lash Artist Vivian says she would constantly compare herself with other lash technicians.
Whenever you start your own business, you are always told to research the competition. While this is true because you want to stay ahead of the game, it doesn’t always mean that you have to directly compete against one another. You can turn it into a learning and networking opportunity, which is exactly what Fendi wanted to do.
Fendi saw an opportunity to bring the eyelash community together. She hosted “Lash Night Out”, an event to get local lash artists together to bond in a safe environment.
When we asked Fendi what inspired her to host Lash Night Out, she says, “The lash industry is fairly new, so there aren’t many events for networking. Most events are conferences or competitions. Being a lash artist can be lonely sometimes as we work long hours and no one truly understands how much we invest in our work.”
Fendi explains that most lash artists have the mentality of not helping others and keeping to themselves. This is because of the training courses and the mentality that is instilled into new and upcoming lash artists. During training, lash artists are taught to keep everything to themselves because of the money invested in these courses. “What ends up happening is that we all end up alone with no friends because we don’t want others to steal our trade secrets. I wanted to do something to change this mentality,” says Fendi.
“A competitive industry is a thriving industry”
Fendi wants lash artists to see competition positively, meaning that the industry is evolving and filled with opportunities. I want to eliminate the “fear of competition” that we all have as Lash Artists. One of my visions is to create a community where we are supportive of each other.
Going the extra mile to top off the night of bonding, delicious food, and the love for lashes, Fendi decided to spoil all the lash artists who attended the event—it was her way of giving back to the industry. She gave away over $10,000 worth of lash products to her newly found friends! “I feel extremely blessed to be a Lash Artist and Educator, as I have the opportunity to change someone’s life through lashes,” she says.
Fendi wants to continue developing her personal growth as an entrepreneur while giving back to the lash industry. She wants to contribute as much as she can and pass along knowledge and experience to help pave the way for future generations of lash artists to come. Her current objectives are to educate and offer quality products, which are the focal point of her passion.
As a passionate educator, Fendi wants to create a healthy lash industry through leading by example and setting high standards for lash training courses. “I want all students to be provided with all the knowledge and techniques they need to succeed in their journey of becoming a lash artist,” she says. “The Lash Shop won the 2019 National of Association of Lash Artists Award for Comprehensive Curriculum, which is a huge step for me, as I feel I’m heading in the right direction towards helping to set a standard in today’s training academies.”
Fendi’s training courses are one of Canada’s first accredited training programs. They are reviewed and approved by the National Association for Lash Artists (NALA). NALA is an international accreditation agency that monitors, assesses and evaluates the quality of education a student receives at a training facility. She trains and certifies all students to ensure they receive high-quality training.
To maintain the high standards, The Lash Shop sells quality products to supply lash artists with the right tools. “I have traveled around the world to test and try different lash products. Only the products that meet my stringent standards are offered,” she says.
Starting any new journey can be difficult. We asked Fendi what advice she gives to her students to help them break into the beauty industry. “Take your time to practice your new skills and don’t rush into it–practice makes perfect. You should start your business off on a high note, so start offering services only when you’re producing quality work,” she responds.
“Once you’ve logged all those hours of practice and honing your craft, you’ll be oozing with confidence–which can only lead to awesome results.”
In Fendi’s Words:
“Do your research and invest in quality training! There are so many lash academies out there and it can be very overwhelming to decide which one to go with. Don’t base your decision on whichever is the cheapest–you often get what you pay for! You want to ensure that you choose a lash academy that will invest in you, so you can be the best lash artist possible! Make sure you research, read reviews and don’t be afraid to reach out to them to ask questions. You want to select an academy that has a good track record and is responsive. It’s better to invest in quality training from the get-go, otherwise, you’ll spend more taking another course in the long run.”
“I knew learning lash extensions was going to be hard, but I wish someone could have told me how REALLY hard it was actually going to be! It’s literally back-breaking hard work! No one told me that I was going to get back pain, feel cross-eyed or produce such bad lash sets. I started thinking that there was something wrong with me. I was so hard on myself–I was my own worst critic, as I was so slow and my work was bad. My lash sets looked so crooked and spidery–it was sad. No one told me that this was “normal”. I would spend hours on social media looking at these perfect lash sets, wondering why I was so bad. I almost gave up at one point! If I knew all this was normal and that it would get easier with practice, I would have definitely cried a lot less!”
“Yes, that’s a thing! I wish I knew this when I started, so I wouldn’t beat myself up about how bad I was. Repeat after me–Social Media Lash Sets are NOT real (to an extent). Those perfect lash sets you see on social media are portfolio work, which takes 4-8 hours to create, in some cases even edited. As lash artists, we service clients, in which case we are spending 2-3 hours on a lash set. Don’t ever compare your work to portfolio work!”
With the great success of Lash Night Out, Fendi has expanded her events and courses to the west coast of Canada. To learn more about her beauty business, you can check out The Lash Shop.
If you are a beauty professional and would like to be featured in future blog posts, let’s connect!
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