Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexis Aro.
Hi Alexis, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
For starters, owning a business is never something I ever imagined would be possible for me. Being able to achieve goals like this isn’t something that I ever thought would be “in my cards.” I changed my mindset and asked myself, why couldn’t this be done? I’m just as capable as any other business owner. I may have to work a little harder to get there but anything is possible! Lashing started off as a fun hobby on the side to bring in some extra income. I had my hands full, I was a Full-time employee working a 9-5 for the first two years of lashing and I am a mom to an amazing (now four-year-old). It all started off in the living room of my house! I didn’t exactly know what to expect, but I knew that lashes were and still are something that continues to GROW in the beauty industry. I fell in love with doing lashes and seeing the amazing reaction on my client’s faces when they saw their lashes done. I loved knowing that I was able to do something that made someone feel incredible.
I found myself thinking non-stop about lashes day in and day out. I learned as much as I possibly could in the first year and grew a full client book! I danced around the idea of quitting my full-time job and focusing on lashes but it was a dream that seemed so far-fetched. In one ear, I had my cheerleaders who believed in me from day one and in the other, I had the others who did not want to see me possibly fail. I stayed consistent and made some goals for myself. I expanded my services by adding spray tans to my service menu and then teeth whitening. After my first year, my inbox flooded with women who watched from the sidelines for the last year and wanted to learn exactly how to do what I do! I was able to share as much insight as I could, which lead me to my next idea of eventually being able to train others! I was able to take a sweet local under my wing and teach her all of the ins and outs of lashing! I told myself that I would keep my full-time job for extra security for now but make a goal to open a salon of my own one day!
We decided to take things up a notch and rent a room in a beautiful salon nearby for a more professional setting rather than lashing from the house. This is where I was able to create my brand, Lashed and Bronzed. I was able to focus on growth, familiarize myself in the business side of things, and make awesome connections. We even were able to hold our very first in-person lash training! Business was doing great! My books were full. I was working 9-5 and lashing 6-midnight most nights… AND BAM – Covid hits. We were unfortunately forced to shut down for a few months. Thankfully I was able to fall back on my full-time job. Back to the drawing board, I went. I was able to get creative and push out magnetic lash options for my lash clients during covid, along with Self tanners. Most of all, I was able to finally focus on our online presence. We were unable to do any in-person trainings, but that did not stop us from going VIRTUAL! Our online trainings were launched!
I was able to develop a self-paced, virtual lash training option for beginners and existing artists who could practice and learn a skill from the comfort of their homes during quarantine! Online sales peaked and I was finding it hard to keep up with the demand on my own of sales and 300+ online students! I was able to luckily hire my soon-to-be Sister in law, Michelle and invite her to the Lashed and Bronzed team. She started off with helping me with orders and assisting with the course sales and back-office side of the business. She quickly became interested in eyelashes as well! We linked up and were able to make an amazing team! As soon as salons were able to open back up, we, unfortunately, had to continue operating home-based for a while but it wasn’t long until we were able to open our first location in Millersville, MD! We opened in October of 2020 and now are proud to say there are a total of 7 employees (6 lash artists and 1 Master Esthetician who focuses primarily on skincare services) at Lashed and Bronzed AND we are expanding this July in our building, welcoming in Nail and Hair services! It has truly been a blessing. We were able to really refocus and rebrand during covid, coming back stronger than ever! My entire team of lash artists has been trained by myself and Michelle. I’m so happy that I was able to create opportunities for others and I get to share my passion with an amazing group of ladies.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Covid was definitely a shock but really forced us to slow down, rebrand and find creative routes to still being successful in the business. It was also hard balancing my full-time job, being a mom of a 4-year-old and running a business (still is challenging sometimes) but all of the hard work is paying off and unfolding in front of my eyes!
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Lashed and Bronzed is known for our eyelash extensions and spray tans but we offer a lot of other great services as well such as: Skin Care services, waxing, Teeth Whitening, Hyaluronic Lip Plumper, and Hair and Nails soon to come.
What sets us apart from others is that we always educate our clients as much as we can from the moment they walk in so they are not only extremely comfortable with us and their service, but they understand the processes that are taking place instead. We also have a really great atmosphere of ladies who are extremely welcoming; we make it a point to say hello to everyone, including our peers clients!
I’m proud to be able to be a woman-owned and operated business in the heart of Millersville, which is conveniently located within 25 minutes of each direction (Annapolis, Baltimore, Pasadena, Columbia, etc.) I’m proud that I was able to create something of my own to be proud of. I’m proud that I was able to teach and create opportunities for other like-minded women, even women all over the world!
Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
It can be tough in the beauty industry for sure, I have found that oftentimes other beauty professionals find you as a threat or competition when instead we should be uplifting each other, supporting each other and even collaborating with one another! There are plenty of clients to go around!
I have been lucky to have the opportunity to network with some really lovely ladies in this industry, local and non-local due to social media!
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: LashedandBronzedMD.com
- Instagram: lashedandbronzed_
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lashedandbronzed/
Kevin A. Alvarez