You aspire to be your own boss, set your own hours, and do what you are passionate about. Whether you’re fresh out of beauty school or have been building a side hustle to supplement a full-time job. You’re ready for more.
Before starting a beauty business, we all have to start somewhere. For Anna Luciano, she got her start in the beauty industry when she was 23. At the time, Anna was working a desk job and just felt completely unstimulated. She knew she needed something more to fuel her creativity, so she started a beauty blog where she tested and reviewed makeup. Soon after, she was asked by friends and family to do their makeup for special events and weddings.
Passion turned to reality when Anna realized she had the potential to become a makeup artist. It wasn’t just something she enjoyed, but she was good at it. Anna started working for a small agency as a makeup artist and she loved it. “There was one year where I did 30+ weddings—it was such a busy, fulfilling year. However, I realized that bridal makeup was very seasonal and if I wanted to quit my desk job, I really needed something else,” she says.
Anna knew she needed something that would be sustainable year-round. This is when she took a private waxing course and started offering it from her home. In 2013, Anna started working at a beauty company that helped her hone her waxing skills. She was still doing makeup at this time and everything just felt right.
“I quickly realized that this was definitely something I could pursue on my own.”
Over the years, Anna took various courses, certifications, and workshops to learn different skills, techniques, and services. She accomplished all of this while working full-time.
After five years, Anna started to become unhappy with the morale change happening within the beauty company. She says, “I always told myself that unless I’m working for myself, I will never work in another salon environment. I was lucky enough to meet a few amazing women who are my best girlfriends today, but the rest of the industry can be competitive and catty—that’s just not me.” This fueled her to be different from the others. Anna wanted to create a beauty business that brought people together in a positive environment.
In 2017, Anna started vigorously building her beauty business during the free time she had when she wasn’t working at the beauty company. Everything was starting to fall into place. Just a year later, she went part-time to eventually quit her job in pursuit of her own business.
“That was a scary step. I kept asking myself if this was the right move but in my heart, I knew it was. My mind was just playing tricks on me.”
Within just a month of quitting, Anna began renting a room every Monday in Toronto for her city-based clients. From Tuesday to Sunday, she was working from her home studio in Markham. Very soon after, she started looking for a commercial unit to move her business into.
In January 2019, Anna signed a one year lease to a beautiful studio space in Markham. “My business has grown exponentially that I’m looking for an even bigger unit. I want to be able to house more beauty pros. I’m blessed to be able to do this so quickly.” she says.
Starting your own business can be both a thrilling, yet scary experience. To be a successful business owner, you will need to move past the fear of change to pursue your passion.
Anna says she had hit a breaking point. One day she called her parents saying she had quit her job. To her surprise, they were fine with it. Her parents responded with, “That’s okay, you have enough clients at home. Let’s work on that.” When she told her friends, their responses were, “Congratulations! We’re so proud of you!”
Anna is extremely lucky and thankful to have supportive parents and friends. They can bounce ideas and be honest with each other. They are there for each other.
“Many tears have been shed over this process, there’s been a lot of doubt but every day, I seem to be making it work better and better, and slowly, the fear goes away. I’m really excited about the next venture!”
January 31, 2019, was the date when Lashes & Lipstick Beauty Bar officially launched. Anna says her existing clients were happy about the move and extremely proud of her. She says, “The response I got from them was just so heartwarming. I’m truly lucky to have such great clientele.
Anna ran the entire beauty bar on her own up until April 2019. The business was booming so quickly, so she hired a lash technician to help her part-time. Both of them have been booking up very quickly. To spice things up in her beauty bar, she also hosts popup events. For example, she did a Teeth Whitening Event for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Lashes & Lipstick Beauty Bar has a Facial Event coming up on October 19th.
“I wear many hats in this role. From customer service to the service provider, marketing, finances, operations, and so on. I’m slowly learning to let things go. I have a couple of core people that I can delegate to help me put my plans into action.”
It’s easy for business owners to become overwhelmed and unfocused. We wanted to know how Anna manages stress especially when she handles most of her beauty business on her own. She does this with two things: Self-care and staying organized with lists.
“I talk it out and then I sleep. Sleep is important these days. I wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the day and any hurdles. I wake up with a fresh mind,” says Anna. “Talking things out help, even if it’s just with someone who is listening without giving an opinion. It helps me make sense of things when saying them out loud. Depending on who I’m talking to, I get honest feedback or advice on how I should go about it.”
To stay organized, Anna writes lists for everything. She says, “Lists make me feel organized and I love crossing items off when it’s completed!”
Lastly, we asked Anna what advice she would give someone looking to open up their own studio.
In Anna’s words:
DON’T DO IT! Just kidding. If owning a business is your dream then GO FOR IT. If working for yourself is your dream then GO FOR IT. I will tell you that it’s not going to be easy and that it’ll be more work than a regular 9-5, but as I’ve always said, I’d rather work 80 hours a week for myself than 40 hours a week making someone else’s dream come true.
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