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Capitalizing on a Trend

Anna Phillips turned an untapped market into a successful business.
Jessica Krampe

As owner and founder of The Lash Lounge, Anna Phillips is a trailblazer and an entrepreneur with passion—turning something she instinctively saw as a growing trend into a thriving business.  

Phillips used to work in IT, but it didn’t take long for her to realize that wasn’t what she wanted to do every day for the rest of her life. IT didn’t inspire her. But beauty did.

“I love making people feel better about themselves,” she says. “There is no better feeling in the world than helping someone else realize they are worthy of feeling beautiful.”

Phillips decided to take a massage therapy course—as a hobby first. It escalated into a natural passion, and Phillips soon found herself interviewing for and accepting a job as a masseuse at Google.

“The fact that I got that position was validation that my passion might actually have the capability to provide me an income, too.”

While working for Google, a company known to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit within its employees, Phillips began building her own massage therapy business. When she left California a short time later, she was not only a massage therapist, but one with a beauty education that expanded into aesthetics and permanent makeup. She rebuilt a private practice in Texas, and within two years, she had a solid clientele.

There, she became intrigued by a new procedure called semi-permanent eyelash extensions, in which beauticians attach small individual strands of synthetic eyelashes to one’s natural lashes. She went to work quickly, perceptive to the idea that this was a trend about to explode.

“There was something about the way the lashes instantly gave your face a transformation and how my clients reacted to it that really sparked my interest,” she says.

Phillips was hired by the leading eyelash distributor in the U.S. to travel and train the beauty industry in eyelash extension. Soon, her eyelash clientele was bursting at the seams. She hired and trained her first tech, but even this wasn’t enough to satisfy the demand—it was time to expand.

Phillips’ dream of building a successful beauty business was right in front of her. In 2006, she opened The Lash Lounge, a salon dedicated to eyelashes.

That bursting-at-the-seams clientele was still there after The Lash Lounge launch. They added a room to accommodate the demand, and after only one year, a second location was in the works, with a third one following a year later.

And that original dream? Psh, that’s just a dot on the map now. Now, it’s a franchise of eight locations—and growing.

“The Lash Lounge has evolved into a well-oiled machine—where culture, the top-notch quality and customer service is something we have become known for,” Philips says. “We have come a long way from our early years. Now we proactively anticipate trends and what our customers’ needs will be instead of reacting to what is happening in the industry.”

Leaving the corporate world was not a spur-of-the-moment decision. Phillips was intimidated to leave a secure job, but her experience at Google allowed her to take in a creative and innovative environment, and that ultimately fueled her desire to become an entrepreneur.

“The reward is the amazing sense of fulfillment, accomplishment and confidence that running my own business has given me. I don’t believe I would have ever achieved this feeling working for someone else, and that makes it all worthwhile.”  

Post date: 
Aug 4, 2013

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