Elisia Webb, owner and founder of Cerise Lash Boutique, also runs training workshops for those wanting to become a Lash Artist. A determined entrepreneur, she founded CelebrityLash (NZ’s premier eyelash extension supplier) and is dedicated to supporting and mentoring her Lash Artists – helping them to achieve great business results as well as a healthy work-life balance. We sat down with Elisia to discuss all things lashes and the highs and lows of building a business in this industry.
Can you tell us about your transition from working in Foreign Exchange in a bank to working in the Lash industry? What inspired your passion?
I had a strong passion for beauty from the age of 19. While studying for my arts degree in film and TV, I enrolled and completed two makeup courses in the evenings. After graduating, I worked at several cosmetic counters, but I didn’t love working in retail. I wanted a role which was more customer focused, which led me to working in a bank doing foreign exchange. Then I realised I needed an outlet for my creativity and I found out about eyelash extensions which was unheard of at the time. In 2006, I went to Hong Kong and completed a lash workshop. I started my little lash business in the evenings and Saturdays while I was still working full-time at the bank. A few months later, I wanted to lash full-time, which was exciting but scary at the same time. I thought I had nothing to lose so I just went for it and never looked back!
What drove you to stop lashing clients and to focus your attention on your training workshops?
I really enjoyed the chats and regular catchups with my clients, but after 12 years of full-time lashing, I got to a point where I was hungry for more. I wanted to be more involved in business, and to learn about digital marketing so I could bring in more clients for my team, and be able to offer more training classes. But lashing eight hours a day with back-to-back clients didn’t allow me the time and energy needed to grow Cerise and CelebrityLash. It took me about 12 months to get all my ducks in a row and be able to pass on all my clients to my team. It was still difficult transitioning my work week from full columns of clients to scheduling my own work week. I had to train myself and learn to have the discipline to allocate time for meetings, marketing and admin. It definitely was a big learning curve for me to transition from a full-time Lash Artist to a full-time businesswoman.
I combined my expertise in salon systems and lash training, and came up with Cerise Enterprise – a unique business structure where I segmented the three areas so everyone can have a stress-free career doing what we love most – lashing!
What makes it so hard for Lash Artists to maintain a work-life balance, and how does the business structure of Cerise Enterprise support this?
Most lash businesses are solo Lash Artists, which means they have to do a lot more than the actual lashing (which is the fun part!). They will also need to do their own marketing to obtain clients, as well as the admin such as bookings, enquiries, cleaning, ordering products and so on. It is quite honestly a three-person job which can be challenging and tedious. But being a solopreneur, you’ll need to excel in all three areas to keep your business afloat.
A few years ago I combined my expertise in salon systems and lash training, and came up with Cerise Enterprise – a unique business structure where I segmented the three areas so everyone can have a stress-free career doing what we love most – lashing! My strength is marketing, so my main role is to bring in clients while my manager’s role is admin and bookings. That leaves our Lash Artists just to come in and lash. This way, our Lash Artists can put 110% into their clients without having to do their own marketing and admin. They can solely focus on creating beautiful lashes and maximsing their income by lashing back-to-back clients everyday.
What are you most proud of to date?
I am super proud of the team we have built and the culture we have created. We have such an amazing positive team environment where everyone is truly happy coming to work. This takes the stress off me as I don’t have to micro-manage as my team expands, which also enables me to focus on doing what I love—growing everyone’s lashing skills and clientele, and being able to help provide work-life balance for everyone.
You work so hard to support, mentor and encourage others. How do you make sure you also find time for yourself? And what do you enjoy doing outside the Lash world?
My life is pretty simple, I live with my husband, our 10-year-old son and two cats at our semi-rural home in Karaka. I don’t really do anything else for fun other than building my business! My work is my life and I love watching videos online and doing courses to learn different kinds of marketing. I just love coming up with new ideas and innovation, and turning them into reality!
If I am not working, you’ll find me at restaurants or shopping, and I do really miss travelling where I can eat and shop at outlets all day long!
Want to have your Lashes done or find out more about Elisia’s training workshops? Head to cerise.co.nz