Business

LashFabulous nominated for new West Van business award

LashFabulous owners Lisa Tomanik (right) and Mara Uhrle - Michaela Garstin
LashFabulous owners Lisa Tomanik (right) and Mara Uhrle
— image credit: Michaela Garstin

Mink or silk? Long or longer?

These are just some of the options available at Ambleside’s LashFabulous, which is up for West Vancouver Chamber of Commerce’s new business award.

Along with The British Butcher Shoppe and Hugo’s Restaurant, the faux-lash salon made it to the top three. The winner will be announced on April 23.

“Once I tried it I was hooked. I wanted to start a business I truly believed in,” says co-owner Mara Uhrle, who wore Misencil eyelash extensions for two years before opening shop.

The synthetic extensions, applied to each individual eyelash, are light and natural looking. No more applying mascara.

“The women who come here are mostly 25 to 55. It suits all lifestyles: working, athletic, moms,” says co-owner Lisa Tomanik, sitting at the back of her busy salon that opened a year and a half ago.

Located in Ambleside, an area where many businesses seem to struggle, the two women say their salon is here to stay.

The District of West Vancouver’s Ambleside Activation Plan, with an aim to revitalize the area, calls for an assortment of unique new businesses and, with only one other similar shop on the North Shore, LashFabulous fits this description.

Tomanik says the return rate of customers is a vital aspect of their success. Around 80 per cent of customers come in again for fills, which need to be done every three to four weeks. Others want a one-time application for special events like weddings and graduations.

“It grew very fast within a year. We had two employees to start and now we have six,” says Tomanik, proud of her small salon.

Along with some print advertising, they rely on social media and referrals to spread the word about their lashes.

“The reaction I get a lot is ‘Why didn’t I do this before?’ Some women give up getting their nails done so they can do this — it’s important to them,” says Uhrle, wearing a set of “Mink” lashes, while Tomanik opts for the more subtle “Silk” lashes.

Outside two customers lay back listening to calm music while technicians carefully apply a full set of eyelashes. The initial visit takes one to two hours and costs $150 to $250 depending on how many eyelashes. Fills take 30 minutes and cost $50.

For the daring type, sparkle and Swarovski crystal lashes are available. Otherwise, the lashes look natural — but fuller with added length.

Uhrle and Tomanik, both West Van residents, chose Ambleside because of its central location to their homes and children’s schools.

“This is a luxury product and West Van is a good location because more people have expendable income,” says Tomanik.

What’s next for the LashFabulous ladies?

They are expanding to Yaletown and South Surrey and are currently looking for ideal spots in both locations.

And franchises may be in the future. Lashfabulous’ relaxed spa look, says Uhrle, was designed to be easily recreated.

“We’re always thinking of the big picture,” she says.

 

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