Amazing Lash hopes to addict clients
Eyelash extensions are “addictive,” believe Jessica and Edward Le, co-founders of Amazing Lash Studio.
“Everybody wants to look pretty, especially in the eyes.” So declares Edward Le, the co-founder of Amazing Lash Studio, but he’s merely quoting his wife, Jessica.
She’s the driving force behind the franchise that offers eyelash extensions to customers for a monthly membership fee, base price $59. The couple left New York City on a whim in 2007, deciding on Houston for no particular reason and taking jobs in a hospital.
On a similar whim they’ve recently moved to California, but not before building a franchise that offers eyelash extensions to 114 open stores and more than 260 signed licenses.
“We just picked everything up, and we just went to California. That’s how we are,” Le says. “We are not afraid to take chances in life. We can be flexible. That’s helped us in business.”
Le’s fearlessness came the hard way, in 1982. “I actually came from Vietnam when I was 12 years old with my brother. We were fleeing. We were boat people back then,” Le recalls, saying his father worked for the South Vietnamese government and went to political prison when Le was seven years old.
In New York, a German-American woman took him and his brother in, along with three other foster kids, and raised them all to be productive adults, he says. When Le graduated from NYU at age 22, his father and mother came to experience the day. “I went through a lot in life and thank god I had the right foster mom who helped me grow into life,” he says.
But he counts this as his greatest fortune: When he met his wife while traveling back to Vietnam for a friend’s wedding.
That brings us back to the Amazing Lash story. Jessica liked how she looked with eyelash extensions, but she thought the process took too long and was much too expensive. So she went to school for training and developed a way to do it better and faster. Average unit volumes range from $500,000 to $750,000, Le says, with initial investment ranging from $250,000 to $500,000.
John and Janet Mok own Amazing Lash units in New Jersey.
All this from just eyelash extensions? If you ask that, you’ve never tried it, Le insists. “When you get a massage, you don’t get the same compliments. But when you get your eyelashes, everybody says, Oh, you have beautiful eyes. It’s addictive.” Indeed, in her photographs Jessica’s eyes pop, and so do Janet Mok’s, one of Amazing Lash’s franchisees, both of whom would never go without extensions.
If you think your holiday gatherings with family can be fraught, consider Janet and her husband, John, Amazing Lash franchisees in New Jersey who have convinced all four of John’s siblings to buy into the franchise, as well. “We’re either heroes or goats, right?” says John with a laugh. “We impart a lot of our experience,” he adds. “It’s been great conversations and sharing information, and even more bonding.”
The Moks believe timing is everything when buying an emerging franchise. They purchased licenses in Massage Envy years ago but never executed them because they say the franchise was too developed at the time and they couldn’t find good locations.
They bought into European Wax Centers as franchisee No. 84, and that brand now has more than 600 units. “We got in early enough and had choices with the location,” John says.
“With Amazing Lash Studio it was pure ground-floor opportunity,” he adds. “With that comes the risk, but we weighed it out, and with risk comes choice of location, and that’s key.”
Janet used to work for HBO Sports in New York City, and says her philosophy was the same there as with her two franchise brands today. “There’s one common thread—it’s care.
If you care, you work harder. It’s about rewarding people. We have an amazing manager, and it’s about treating people well, and making sure they have the skills. You get what you give.”
Oh, and one more thing—those beautiful eyelashes. “Once you have them, it’s hard to go back,” Janet says.