Today we’d like to introduce you to Fotini Filinis.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
After living in Greece for 13 years I came back to the U.S. with my husband and two children because of the economic crisis there. Our entire lives packed into 4 suitcases and with heavy hearts, we left our family and friends behind to start again from zero.
I have to say, it’s definitely been a journey. My husband was an experienced heavy equipment operator but couldn’t find work because he could only speak Greek. So, I knew I had to step it up a notch. It’s funny how you don’t really know how strong you are until you are put in a position where you can do nothing else but be strong.
I started work at my old salon where I had worked 18 years ago. Some of the stylists were still working there even after all these years. One of them came up to me one day and said, “Fotini, you do such meticulous work with updos and braids, you would be perfect for this…” and she opens up a magazine advertisement for eyelash extensions. In an instant I was mesmerized! But how is that even possible? How did they put the lashes on? Is that real hair? How long does it last? After work, I went home and researched all the lash companies I could find. Finally, I signed up for the Novalash certification course thinking it was going to be a breeze. After all, I’ve always been a patient person and really good with my hands. During the practical part of the class my bubble burst. The realization was that I couldn’t get a single lash extension on to a natural lash to save my life. The only thing I kept thinking was, we don’t have any money and I just spent how much on this class? O.M.G. I knew that with my husband not working yet, I had to keep at it no matter how hard I thought it was. So, I put an ad on Craigslist looking for models to get free lash extensions. It literally took all day to do a set and it looked so bad. Eventually after doing about 30 free clients, I realized that clients started wanting to come back for fills! Yay! I started charging half price and in 6 months I was about 60% booked.
Now, almost 4 years later, I am booked 100% for several months ahead. I have clients coming in from Kansas, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and southern Illinois. I feel so proud to have my work featured on the cover of Eye Lash Magazine (Dec. 2016 issue) and I’ve been privileged to have been quoted in several magazines such as Modern Salon, Eye Lash magazine, First Chair, and others. I’m honored to have been selected out of thousands of applicants as Brand Ambassador for Novalash in 2016 and then again as a Global Brand Ambassador in 2017. I have lashed several VIP’s in these four years and it has been a tremendous honor.
Making women feel beautiful about themselves gives me great satisfaction. I love what I do and I pray that I will be able to do it for years to come. I feel truly blessed.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It was a struggle in the beginning when my family and I came back from Greece. We didn’t have a lot of money and we had come with nothing. We stayed with a friend for a little over a month, until we found our own place and bought a really cheap car so that we could get around. We had to start from zero. It was super nice how friends and clients were willing to give up their things and give it to us. I’m so grateful for those people and their generosity.
Lashes by Fotini – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I only do eyelash extensions and I specialize in American volume lashing. I am known for applying full voluminous sets with great retention. I take time to get to know my clients. I use only premium products like Novalash which means my work is waterproof and oil-proof. You can go home and take a shower or go swimming, hot yoga, steam room, etc., as soon as you leave your lash appointment with me. You don’t even have to switch using your oil based makeup remover!
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
My proudest moment is when I traveled to Los Angeles, CA to have my work featured on the cover page of Eye Lash magazine. What an amazing experience!
- Website: www.lashesbyfotini.com
- Phone: 8473129905
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: LashesbyFotini
- Facebook: LashesbyFotini
- Twitter: LashesbyFotini
- Yelp: LashesbyFotini