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The Culture of Competition in our Lash Industry - You're Not Alone

I recently was on a phone call with a lash artist that was struggling greatly in many areas - environment conditions, clientele, and personally.  We worked through what she could do to help regulate the environment she works in to get better retention, how medications and hormones affect adhesion, and what the best adhesive is for her application methods.  In the midst of our conversation, the overwhelming reality was that she had felt so alone in her lash journey. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this - it's not even the first time in the last few days! Students often confide in our trainers that one of the hardest things that they have to deal with is feeling isolated as a lash artist, but they also deal with shaming, bashing, and public accusation from other lash artists in their area.  Whether warranted or not, this creates such division in our industry. Lash artists are not only afraid to show what their work looks like in the beginning, but they are concerned about being made fun of or publicly criticised.  

You're Not Alone

Let’s look at it this way - when a hair stylist is learning to do hair, it's safe to say they are going to create some less-than-desirable looks, that they will absolutely botch a haircut or colour in the beginning, and at some point they’ll have to return money to an unhappy client (or several, let’s be real).  Now sometimes we see hair transformations out there in social media, but the reaction is not even close to the horror people display when lashes aren’t done so well. See, hairstylists seem to remember something that lash artists are all too easy to forget - WE ALL START SOMEWHERE. You know what? I’ve done bad lashes, too! 

Encouragingly, I’ve seen so many hair stylists take newbies under their wing to help them just because they remember what it’s like to be in that position! What a beautiful action that we can let inspire us! They aren’t threatened that the stylist they are teaching is going to suddenly turn into their competition, because they are secure in their skill set and know who their clientele is.

A Sisterhood

Can you imagine what our industry would be like if we stopped viewing each lash artist in our area as our competition, and started viewing them as a sisterhood?  As women (and men) who band together to help each other reach our potential? You know what happens then? WE ALL GET TO GROW TOGETHER. Helping others never, ever makes you look bad. It never, ever feels guilt, and it doesn’t allow room for ugliness and backbiting. Think about this for a moment - most of us work alone. We are either in a salon suite, have a little esthetic room in a salon, rent a room in a business building or work out of our homes. Yes, some lash salons out there have great little communities that they have purposely built, but they are few and far between. Most of us feel (or have felt) so alone throughout our careers.  

We are sure we are the only lash artist who has had clients suffering retention issues all at the same time. We are sure that everyone else’s work is better than ours (except, of course, those new lash artists that, are like, really terrible <- please hear my sarcasm here.)  We believe that if our client goes to another artist that they will surely pick our work apart and expose us to our client as a fraud (OMG, all of my fans weren’t symmetrical last time I did her lashes!  I was struggling with my adhesive curing and now they are going to believe alllll of my work looks like THAT?!?) Cue the cold sweats, wine, and stress-eating, because what else can we really DO at that point?  

Open that door

I’ll tell you.  We can check our ego at the door and then open that door.  We can reach out to other lash artists in the area and ask if they would like to chat - no strings attached!  Don’t worry boys and girls, most lash artists aren’t looking to steal your soul - I mean secrets. They are simply looking for a connection. A community. A way to feel like they aren’t alone and aren’t the only ones dealing with what we all deal with on a regular basis. You see, they are you. They are me. They are each of us following a similar road to the one we have all been down.  

Let me stress this in case you haven’t gotten it yet - when we help others rise, we ourselves rise.  When we keep others down, we are putting a limit on what we are capable of. I know it may go against what is ingrained in your mind, but I challenge you to change that mindset.  You’ll end up starting to see yourself, and others in a different light. A less threatening one. After all, being more concerned about competition than community only reveals our own insecurities.  Let’s take a moment to decide we are as good as we are right now and will continue to get better. Let’s know that the lash artists around us are as good as they are now and are going to continue to get better.  Let’s make a proactive choice to grow together instead of keeping each other isolated and alone. We may just find that what we grow into was bigger than anything we could have possibly imagined. 

Love & Lashes,