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Conversations with the Inspiring Mindy Lam

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mindy Lam.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
After being laid off multiple times in the corporate world, I was in search of a better career solution. I decided I wanted to own my own business and found myself signing up for esthetics school at Universal Spa Training Academy in Downers Grove, where I was introduced to the world of lash extensions. My training was only a one-day class, so I spent any downtime that I had practicing my skills and researching the latest trends, techniques, and brands in the industry. I graduated school, passed my state board, and earned a lash certification from a major lash brand.

I had very little extra money after having not worked while I was in school, so I would pack up my workstation and work on friend’s lashes in their own homes. When word spread and others started calling for appointments, I turned a bedroom in my basement into my home studio. During this time, I received a call from my old school, USTA, asking if I would teach a lash program to their students that would now be included in their curriculum. I was stoked for the opportunity!

Meanwhile, over the next few years, my business grew organically through word of mouth and I ended up taking on more clients than I could handle, sometimes lashing for 12-13 hours a day. In September of 2017, I closed my home studio and opened BKLS in downtown Wheaton inside the Virtue Salon & Spa building. My first employee, Samantha, was from the very first class that I taught at the school. We’ve been in business for a year at the new location and have just hired Stefanie, who was also my student.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My biggest struggle was not having someone to turn to for advice. I worked in solidarity in my home studio, ordered products online, and didn’t have a team or much in-depth training to guide me. There was a lot of trial and error with techniques and products, and there was also a lot of product and money wasted trying to figure out what worked and what didn’t. The reason I teach is that the lash industry desperately needs regulation and for standards to be substantially raised. I want new lash artists to leave my class knowing what is unsafe, but also know there are many techniques and products to be explored, and that education doesn’t end when the class does.

What should we know about Butterfly Kiss Lash Studio? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Our studio is open every day but Sunday, and most days, we are there until 8 pm. We work by appointment and booking online has been an amazing convenience for our clients. We are certified through multiple brands for extensions and lash lift, and I am a certified lash lift and brow henna trainer for other industry professionals. I am also a member of the National Association of Lash Artists, which is a global membership that must be proven and earned, which I believe is very good for the future of our industry.

I continue to teach the lash program at USTA and in 2019 their owners will be opening doors to their new school in the Sarasota, FL area called Tyler’s Beauty and Spa Academy, and I look forward to teaching students there as well. I value education very highly for my students, my staff, my clients, and myself, I am constantly taking lash classes to broaden my knowledge and skill level in an industry that is fast moving and ever evolving.

We pride ourselves on being dedicated to client lash health and education. We are not afraid to turn someone away who is insistent on having lashes that are applied unsafe or too long or heavy for what their natural lashes can handle. We are looking to serve clients for the long haul who can wear lashes for years without worrying about the damage they could be causing. We do take in a lot of clients who have damaged lashes, and we rehab them with safe beautiful extensions that allow their lashes to regrow and become healthy again.

Do you have a lesson or advice you’d like to share with young women just starting out?
Dedicating yourself to the small amount of clients you have is a lot easier than doing sub-par work and always being on the hunt for new clients. Take your time with your clients, let them know you’re committed to learning new skills and techniques, and they will stick by you and refer you. The lash industry is a sisterhood and there’s enough of the pie to go around. Share what you learn and be open to new ideas, and your business will grow.

Pricing:

  • Full Set of Classic Extensions $200
  • Full Set of Volume Extensions $280
  • Lash Lift + Tint $110
  • Brow Henna $60
  • Lash Extension Fills $50-105

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photography: www.amberlyrussell.com & @blueeyesphotographygallery by Caresse Hills on Facebook, Graphic Design: twofeathersdesigns.com

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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