Interview with Most Wanted Magazine August 2017
Q: I have been following your Facebook page and see that you are a very busy lady, what are the highlights of your business in the past few months?
A: Yes!!! We are so busy getting ready for Spring and Summer.
In July, I was invited as a speaker for NZ’s 1st lash conference Lash Vision, my topic was ‘How to Build a successful lash business’. I gave insights about understanding your target market, how to get more clients from effective marketing, how to deliver an amazing experience and how to charge.
Last month I also had 4 booked out training classes – 2 in Auckland and 2 in Wellington, plus we had our quarterly team meeting and a lash photoshoot!! And later this year I will be going to Melbourne for another lash conference, advanced training then to Cosmoprof in Hong Kong checking out the latest lash products!
Q: One of the questions we got asked was can you really earn $1000 a day doing just lashes?
A: Well, the lash industry is booming and it is a very highly skilled job!! It is more than just sticking some lashes onto your eyes. A lot of lash artists have spent hours perfecting their technique so their lashes always look natural, feel comfortable and are long lasting.
My hourly rate is between $125 - $180 and my team members are charging $65 - $150 per hour.
Q: What is your background and please tell us about how you started your business.
A: I am a very creative person, I have a BA majoring in Film and TV, and I also studied Stage Makeup. In 2005, I went to Hong Kong and trained in eyelash extensions. My business Cerise Lash Boutique was started in a little room in a hair salon, eyelash extensions were so new at the time it was unheard of! I was the FIRST lash artist in NZ!
In 2007, I started CelebrityLash, my other company that runs training classes around New Zealand and supply lash products worldwide. I also LOVE building websites, I have built all 5 of my websites including a resource website www.eyelashextensions.co.nz to offer non-biased information about this service.
My main focus now is to grow Cerise Lash Boutique to multiple locations in the next few years.
Q: Wow, that’s a lot you have achieved in your career so far, so what plans have you got to grow Cerise?
A: Being a perfectionist, I wanted our clients to have amazing lashes, an amazing service and an amazing experience every time. So in the past 12 years I continued to upskill and source premium products; so we can offer the very best to our clients. Combining world-class techniques, quality products and our marketing strategies, we have created such high demand for our services, and most of our team members are fully booked every single day!!
Richard Branson said ‘Clients do not come first, employees come first'. If you look after your employees, they will look after your clients’. With this philosophy in mind, I know if I want to open multiple salon locations I need to find a team of people who share the same vision as me. So this is how Cerise Enterprise was born – a staff loyalty program where my staff members are rewarded with a business opportunity, so they can be self-employed within one of our salons.
Q: This is a very modern business concept, tell us a bit more on how Cerise Enterprise works?
A: Let’s face it, the 2 most challenging parts of having a business are 1, Getting and retaining clients and 2, Managing and retaining staff.
We are very lucky we never have any problems with clients, but retaining staff is difficult because naturally everyone wants to earn more and have their own business. I have also found that our ex-staff are not actually earning more, and some even had to look for a second job or give up lashing because they didn’t get enough clients.
So last year I decided to restructure and I wanted all my staff members to be their own business within Cerise. With Cerise Enterprise, our Lash artists can earn $85 - $150 per hour working on 6 - 8 clients a day, and they pay us an annual fee and daily rental to help manage their business. This is a win-win situation for both of us.
Q: So what will your team members benefit from working with you at Cerise?
A: Once we offer employment, all staff members will start off as an employee, and we will continue to help them build their clientele and improve their lashing skills. In about 9 to 12 months, we will look at transitioning them to our franchise model so they can be earning more. We are very transparent every step of the way, and if a business opportunity is not what they are after, we are more than happy to have them working for us as an employee.
We offer more than just renting a room, the rental covers all operating costs even all products, marketing and support! We take care of their bookings from Facebook, phone, email and text message, we clean the salon and provide everything they need to run their business. So their fees also pay for my years of expertise, my knowledge, Cerise’s solid branding, a large database and a proven salon structure.
I want all my team members to have the ‘Lifestyle’ they deserve working 3 – 4 days a week and have lots of time (and money!!) to enjoy life. If my team is working less, but earning more, they are happy and will stay with my business. This way we can open more branches just by having the right team of people.
Q: So what are you looking for in a Team member, do they need to have any beauty experience?
A: Not at all, most of our team members have never had any beauty experience! They have retail, management, sales and medical background wanting to have a career change and do something they are truly passionate about!! I even have a staff member who gave up nursing to work with us!
We have a comprehensive training program that we offer to all staff members, this training is about 6 – 9 months and they are actually getting paid while training too!! My staff members actually get about 4 – 5 pay raises in the first year, it is only fair that they earn more as their skills improve.
Q: Can anyone apply for a position at Cerise?
A: We welcome any enquiries or applications, but we do have a very strict recruitment procedure to ensure we have the right team fit.
I ask my staff members to invest time and see if lashing is something they are passionate about. They do not need to invest any money because all legitimate companies should offer free training to their employees so they can do their job. I am looking for women who are driven to succeed, they must have good English and be very customer service focused. Of course they will need to be hard working, because everything they put in, they will get it back. Oh and they must have excellent communication skills, good eyesight, steady hands and lots of patience!
I truly believe it is possible to have a stress-free business doing what you love, and have time and money to enjoy life as well.