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How Amazing Lash Studio plans to dominate beauty’s eye category

Monday May 13, 2019
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Amazing Lash Studio, a lash extension service business founded in 2010, is trying to use the momentum of the growing eyelash extension category to establish itself as a significant player in the space.

The company operates as a franchise model and has 218 locations in 35 states. Since January, it has opened approximately 10 salons every month and plans to continue that cadence. At the same time, Amazing Lash Studio is expanding its product and service offerings on May 10 with the addition of Featherweight Lashes and a lash lift.

In the past two years, comparable same-store sales have grown 28% year over year, while overall sales grew 85% in 2017. (These were the latest figures the brand could provide since it was acquired by private equity group WellBiz Brands, Inc. in September 2018.)

As Amazing Lash Studio expands its scope further into beauty, it is launching strip lashes in the fourth quarter and adding brow services and anti-aging facials to its studio offerings in early 2020. With these additions, Amazing Lash Studio will place itself in closer competition with Benefit Cosmetics and Anastasia Beverly Hills, both of which sell makeup and offer services.

“Our vision for Amazing Lash is to own everything around the eyes,” said Heather Elrod, Amazing Lash Studio CEO. “Our focus now is around lash innovation. We will continue to innovate and be the category leader around lashes and then expand into non-lash services.”

Amazing Lash customers are typically affluent suburban women, Elrod said, and sales are evenly split between age groups of 18 to 55 and over 55. However, its fastest-growing segment is 39 years old and older. Women in that age range, Elrod said, value their time and also want to use lash extensions as an anti-aging feature, since they are said to make people look more youthful without needing makeup. Additionally, Amazing Lash will launch its own version of strip lashes around the holiday season to recruit younger customers, based on demand.

“The expectation with strip lashes is to get her familiar with the Amazing Lash brand, and hooked. She’ll move into lash extensions as she ages up,” she said.

The lash extension and overall fake eyelash category has been gaining momentum. According to market research firm Kline Group, the revenue of lash extension services generated by lash studios and spas grew over 8% in 2018 to $900 million. That growth rate is being driven by two things: the expansion of lash studios, as well as increased consumer interest in these services, said Dana Kreutzer, Kline Group senior analyst.

Consumer interest is  being driven by social media and the desire to be camera-ready or flaunt a makeup-free selfie under the hashtags #iwokeuplikethis and #wokeuplikethis, according to Mallory Huron, Fashion Snoops beauty reporter. In addition, it’s part a time-saving routine. More women are seeking professional services that ultimately help them cut down on time spent at home on their beauty routine.

“Most women are getting into the investment idea of it. Even though it’s an upfront cost, you’re cutting down the cost of mascara, eyeliner and getting a convenience factor, too,” said Huron.

Underscoring its convenience and confidence claims are what Amazing Lash Studio has employed most in its marketing, predominantly through Facebook and Instagram. In a survey of 2,000 women, Amazing Lash found that 91% have never tried lash extensions, therefore providing a wide road for the brand to grow. On Instagram, the brand targets millennials, while focusing on Gen X through Facebook — on both platforms, the messaging is focused on showing before-and-after photos of people having received lash extensions.

Amazing Lash also offers new customers an introductory fee of between $79.99 and $89.99 (a full lash set is normally $250, or $89.99 for monthly members), and private rooms for application so customers feel they are having a more personal experience, Elrod said. The brand has offered a monthly membership since 2013 that allows customers to visit any lash studio, and it has 117,000 members.

“There’s so much white space in this category, so we are educating women on lash extensions and how you can wake up looking beautiful,” Elrod said. “There’s no need for makeup.”