The eyes have it

The Lash Lounge, launched in 2006, is unique in many ways: Its first salon became profitable in just three months, and its growing success helped launch a new retail segment — semi-permanent eyelash extension salons.

Founder Anna Phillips was working as an IT specialist when she was laid off in 2000. She became a massage therapist and discovered that she “loved the service industry,” and trained as an aesthetician and permanent-makeup artist, which is when she discovered the burgeoning eyelash extension trend.

After opening the first Lash Lounge, Phillips opened two more in her home state of Texas; The Lash Lounge entered the world of franchising in 2010. Salons typically range from 800 to 1,200 square feet and are decorated in lavender mixed with gray, deep amethyst and brown accents. Most locations are in upscale urban shopping centers anchored by chains like Whole Foods Market.

Last year, The Lash Lounge added a new face-mapping service, which Phillips is currently integrating into an automated digital process using facial recognition software that can copy the contours of a customer’s face, allowing customers to preview different styles of lash extensions.

Phillips says many Lash Lounge salons break even in less than a year, with annual sales ranging from $250,000 in the first year to $600,000 for mature salons. Many salons have repeat customers who visit every two to three weeks to maintain the fullness of their lashes.

The Lash Lounge plans to expand into locations that can support smaller salons and introduce new models such as mobile salons and salons in office complexes and rental residential locations.

Phillips believes simplifying systems are critical to the success of the Lash Lounge. “We are solely focused on what we know we’re good at, which is semi-permanent lash extensions with a few complimentary services such as tinting, threading, etc., and in some salons, permanent makeup.”

The Lash Lounge
Southlake, Texas
Founder and CIO: Anna Phillips
Locations: 78