Lash-Ed Issue 3 October 2018 - Page 56

The Importance of Good Bonding

By Karen Grehan

When I set up my salon business over ten years ago, I initially operated from my home but the business kept growing until finally in 2016 I opened my first salon and named it Lash Dolls. I currently have two salons, one in Ratoath, Co. Meath and a more recently opened one in Stillorgan, Co. Dublin.

Lashes were fast becoming the new wave in beauty.

To say I am passionate about the beauty industry is an understatement and even back during my part-time days at a local salon when eyelash extensions where about to take the beauty world by storm, I sensed a real business opportunity. Lashes were fast becoming the new wave in beauty – a product so exciting, glamourous and affordable, everybody wanted them. This part of the beauty market I wanted to be involved in so I set about building my business, and the first place I started was gathering a good team around me.

Building a good supportive team seemed second nature to me as I was able to draw on my team leadership skills honed from past employment with multinationals like PayPal, Bord Gais, eBay, CitiBank, British Airways. But I guess I owe motherhood some credit because when you run a business and a household with five kids you quickly learn the art of delegation, compromise and good old fashioned fairness.

It means a lot to me that my staff love what they do and look forward to coming in in the mornings.

At present there are six of us on the Lash Dolls team all split between both salons. For me personally, I believe it is possible to strike that perfect balance between a professional and a more relaxed atmosphere as I have witnessed first-hand how productive a warm, friendly and fun work environment has been for my business. Happy staff equals happy clients, it’s as simple as that. It means a lot to me that my staff love what they do and look forward to coming in in the mornings, I can’t see how it could work any other way! As the true saying goes, ‘You don’t build a business you build people and then people build the business.’

It’s always great to hear positive feedback from your staff, things like, ‘you’re a pleasure to be around because of your passion and energy,’ or to hear that that they love learning from you. After all, education and training is a big thing for me. I personally train all my staff as I firmly believe in the old adage of ‘leading by example.’

Left to Right -

Linda Zarina

Niamh O Riordan

Karen Grehan

Roisin Hevey

Orna Kelly

I’m all about quality and giving our clients the best care, treatment and experience, is what I expect and get from all my staff regardless of whether they’re a new client coming through the salon door for the first time or an existing one. From application of lashes to aftercare, our experienced team are highly trained in Client Consultation, advising on which lashes will look best and how long they should expect them to last. And of course, in line with health and safety regulations we ensure all our clients undergo a patch test before any lash application to rule out a potential allergic reaction.

In the same vein I myself am constantly upskilling. Businesses are ever-evolving and the beauty industry especially so, with new products and services constantly being introduced onto the market this means further and specific training. Any new training ventures I undertake I do here in the UK, over in Ireland and across Europe which I then bring back and impart on my staff.

I actively seek out potential candidates that will embrace the Lash Dolls culture.

It’s vital that your staff feel they can come to you, whether it’s seeking advice or needing help with resolving an issue. In business things don’t always run smoothly, staff can have their bad days; whether it’s dealing with personal issues or awkward customers (though we’ve been relatively lucky on both fronts!) so keeping the communication lines open is important. Again, working with the bigger corporations and ‘playing mum’ helps with perspective and once you have empathy there is nothing that you can’t work through. Of course the beauty business isn’t a good fit for everyone which is why I actively seek out potential candidates that will embrace the Lash Dolls culture. Having a close relationship with some of the top Beauty Training Academies in Ireland helps, as it allows me to hand pick those suitable candidates that will add to my already strong, passionate and hardworking team.

. . . in any business, there is always an opportunity to be unique.

When you have a good strong team working with you it alleviates the fear of competition, because let’s face it, there are beauty salons opening every day of the week, but in any business there is always an opportunity to be unique, make a difference. For example, we acknowledge our client’s birthdays, and when they come to treat themselves on their special day we present them with small personalised gifts. For clients who have lost some of their natural lashes due to medical conditions (e.g. chemotherapy, alopecia) – we offer a Bridging Technique – where we take a strand of their head hair and glue it to their remaining eye lashes creating a bridge to allow us to apply the eye lash extensions.

Making people feel special is what we’re all about. It’s probably the most important quality I could instil in the Lash Dolls team.

Karen Grehan

Owner of Lash Dolls, talks Team and Lashes