For many an artist, the dream of becoming a business owner is alluring, but taking the plunge can be scary. As lash extension services continue to soar, there are more opportunities than ever before to start a business through buying into a franchise. The difference between creating your own business and purchasing a franchise?
All of the guesswork has already been done for you. With a franchise, you’re essentially buying a business that’s all set up, from menu to decor to financials; all you have to do is bring in the customers to keep it profitable.
Burgeoning lash artist Nicolette Ventura was an established lash artist and salon manager at Lash Spa Studio in the Green Tree suburb of Pittsburgh when the opportunity arose for her to take her career to the next level. Owners of the salon and founders of the Deka Lash franchise concept Michael and Jennifer Blair offered Ventura the chance to make the salon she managed her own. She jumped at the chance and hasn’t looked back since. Here, we chat with Ventura about her foray into the franchise world.
How long did you work as a lash artist before starting your own franchise?
“I was a lash artist/manager for a little over four years before taking ownership of the studio.”
What made you decide to take over the studio? How did you know you were ready?
“The Deka Lash concept was growing and I knew that the concept was going to take so much of Jennifer’s and Michael’s time and energy. They had sold their Wexford area studio already, and they were looking to sell the Green Tree studio. I really didn’t want to work for anyone else if ‘my’ studio was going to be sold. Then, they approached me about the idea [of buying the location] and I said yes right away. A part of me just knew that this was right. This studio has always been my baby.”
How did you finance the decision?
“This was the tricky part. Banks aren’t too friendly with business loans anymore, but we made it work! There are ways to attain business financing, you just need to be determined.”
What differences did you notice running your own studio compared to being the manager?
“Honestly, for me, not a whole lot—it’s just that now the bills are coming out of my account! I’ve always had pride in being the manager, and I’ve always treated this studio like it was my own.”
What was the biggest challenge that you faced when becoming a franchise owner?
“Emails! I’m not the best at checking my emails. Corporate likes to make fun about it, but I’m getting better!”
If you could offer advice to other lash artists interested in buying a franchise, what would you tell them?
“You have to really want it. You’re responsible for so much, and you’re responsible for the people who work for you. They matter; your guests matter; and your sanity matters. My cheesy advice: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. When you’re ready, you’ll know, and the Deka Lash family is always there to help.”