Business

Lash by Lash, Lavish fuses

NOMINEE #5

BY SHAMILLE SCOTT Business reporter scotts@jamaicaobserver

Sunday, June 16, 2013    

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MELISSA Clarke didn't want to do just hair and nails.

Unlike the typical beauticians, she is more like a surgeon operating on a patient -- wearing a head-light visor with tools in both hands — taking an hour at a time to fuse authentic strands of hair on to her customers' eyelashes using the fusion technique.

"I always wanted to do something different. Everybody wants to look beautiful and these lashes enhance your face," said the owner of Lavish Lashes, also known as Denise.

Her selling points are the clean, soothing environment she works in and her professionalism, as well as the natural look of the long-lasting lashes.

"I work strictly by appointment," she said, while examining and combing the lashes of a client in a session that was nearly finished when the Observer visited her last week.

For beauty enthusiasts who can't be bothered to apply mascara, which is used to add thickness and definition, Clarke's fusion application can give you up to six weeks of wear.

She also offers strips and clusters, which are other ways of enhancing eyelashes, although they are worn over a shorter period of time.

Clarke wants to expand beyond eyelashes. She hopes to own a studio that focuses on the entire face.

"I want to do eyebrows, facials, makeup and waxing," she noted.

The primary challenge she has is the continued devaluation of the Jamaican dollar, as her lashes and other goods are imported.

To overcome that, she prices competitively.

She wants her business to grow and tries not to jump through any loopholes.

"My business is registered, I file my taxes and do as I should," she said.

Starting a company has its ups and downs. Clarke took out a loan to get Lavish Lashes operational a year ago. She started off with a few tools and honed a customer base that grows each day.

On average, she gets five customers daily and typically she works 10 hours a day. Christmas and summer are her busiest seasons, when the time she says women want to look glamorous.

During those times, she extends her workday by an additional 2 hours.

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