The Lash Hurrah
Applying semipermanent eyelash extensions isn’t The Lash Co.’s only service—it’s just the one that smitten women are traveling hundreds of miles to receive. “Even when the market went down, our numbers barely experienced a blip on booking radar,” confirms Sophia Navarro, who, along with NovaLash CEO Sophy Merszei, co-owns this lush jewel box located in a well-traveled, shopping-centric section of Houston. Instead, Navarro says clients found ways to accommodate their lash habit. “Some women got rid of their daily Starbucks; one even got rid of her maid! But no one got rid of their lash services,” she confides.
With women everywhere bemoaning the unrealized potential of their eye appeal, there’s no lack of salons with Lash Extensions listed on their menus. However, The Lash Co. seems to have elevated the service to an art form. The secret? It starts with NovaLash training, reveals Navarro, a seasoned esthetician and makeup artist who’s achieved national fame for her coveted lash placement skills and techniques. “There’s a one- to two-day training class for extensionists, but that’s just the beginning,” she explains. All Lash Co. trainees practice on models, friends and family members for weeks or even months—however long it takes for them to perfect the application of a new set of lashes in less than two hours.
Sophia Navarro, co-owner of The Lash Co
“I’d been a makeup artist for 13 years when I came onboard,” recalls Lash Co. esthetician and extensionist Cindy Hernandez. “When I took my first class in extensions, I almost gave up—I was used to doing strip or cluster lashes. In contrast, the amount of detail that lash extensions required blew my mind! Still, I continued to watch and learn. With Sophia training me, then overseeing the work, I progressively improved.” Hernandez now sees 30 to 40 lash extension clients per week. (Psst: The salon’s clientele ranges from college students to—no joke—a 90-year-old lash devotee!)
All of Navarro’s extensionists are salaried (benefits are to come, she notes) in a salon that’s often booked up weeks in advance. There’s no aggressive marketing strategy because it simply hasn’t been necessary; the business’ driving force has always been word of mouth. In fact, rumor has it that The Lash Co. can’t keep its retail products—including NovaLash Aftercare Kits, LashLiner and Lash+Doctor—on shelves! “Lash extension services represent an affordable luxury…a way to feel and look noticeably more beautiful from the moment clients get out of bed in the morning,” winks Navarro. “What could be better than that?” —Linda Kossoff