The adage, “You get what you pay for” is evident in the fast growing Eyelash Extension market. At Occhi Lash & Brow Studio, we hear it all the time from prospective new clients, “My friend got her lashes done at XYZ salon for $125, why are you so expensive?” Or, some of our training students from around the country tell us the markets they serve will only support a certain dollar amount for services.
This article will address “The COST of Quality” and its many components.
Recently Fox News.com published a report regarding a Utah woman who had a very bad experience with eyelash extensions, losing her natural lashes and experiencing burning and itchiness. It’s obvious by the photo in the article Why this woman had a problem (see the photo and article at this link http://www.fox32chicago.com/health/87500142-story).
“When I saw the photo, I was horrified,” says Lynn La Palermo, Owner and Certified Master Stylist and Instructor at Occhi’ Lash & Brow and The Occhi Institute, “ the amount of adhesive used was beyond excessive. There Had to be a reaction.” The article did point out that if people are paying $30-$50 for a full set of lashes, inferior products are likely being used.
This is one of the factors that speaks to the “Cost of Quality” in the Eyelash Extension market. Some of the additional elements regarding quality are:
- Experience and training of the technician—How long has the technician been doing eyelash extensions? Where did he/she receive their training and are they Certified? What kind of products do they use? Is the adhesive a Medical grade, FDA approved adhesive? Is he/she a licensed cosmetologist or esthetician?
- Attention to Hygiene and Sanitation—“Every tool used on a client is sterilized and sani pouched after each use” says La Palermo, “we will not take any chances with our client’s safety.”
- Education—This is a delicate subject and is governed on a state-by-state basis. There are many states that do not require any formal licensing to perform lash extensions and this inevitably leads to problems. People watch a You Tube video, buy some inexpensive products from a beauty website and believe they can do lash extensions. Poor training by people inadequately “trained to train.” There are many technicians offering eyelash training who have been doing the procedure for a year or less!
- Atmosphere/ Environment-— What is the setting like? Is the technician multi-tasking, doing hair or nails one minute and lashes the next? Or is the artist dedicated to eyelash and eyebrow work? Is it a comfortable atmosphere conducive to the service provided?
There are additional factors contributing to the quality vs. cost equation and one of them is what we will call, “Market conditions.” We ask all of our trainees in Advanced or Volume training what they are charging for Classic eyelash extensions and are sometimes shocked by the answers we receive. “While I understand market conditions can determine what someone will charge. I also know there are ways for a Lash Artist to distinguish themselves from the competition and the market,” says La Palermo. “How does the quality of her work compare to the competition? What are her credentials? Has she had any advanced type of training to learn new skills and techniques? How long do her clients lashes last before refills are necessary? Does she market her work with a website or Facebook page, including before and after photos? These are ALL things that can distinguish the artist in a difficult or price competitive market. One of the issues that concerns me regarding pricing is the cost some lash artists charge for initial set of extensions….and then what they charge for a refill. A lash artist may charge $150.00 for a full set and then charge $45.00 for a refill! This makes no sense to me. After the initial full set, the remaining work is Refills. Why would the lash artist charge so little for them amount of time she will spend (1- 1 ½ hours) doing the refill?’ adds Lynn.
Finally, for those people choosing the Beauty industry as a career, it’s important to recognize and understand the path to excellence is no different than any other career. Whether a doctor, lawyer, computer expert or Eyelash artist…they all have things in common. One is Education and beauty professionals, the truly good ones, never stop educating themselves, as do doctors, lawyers, etc. The other is Experience, which there is no substitute for in today’s world.
All of those elements heavily contribute to “the Cost of Quality.” While there are less expensive services to be found, with some of them meeting a better standard, there is no substitute for Education and Experience.