After Jasmine Kelly had a negative experience with an eyelash extension service, she decided she could provide a more professional and friendly experience, so she looked into what it would take to become certified to provide the services.
What Kelly found, is that certification as an eyelash extension tech could help her make a more than comfortable living and a provide her a pathway to entrepreneurship.
Kelly found a two-day lash certification class, which cost almost $2,000, but provided her with a starter lash kit and taught her everything she needed to know to begin lashing.
On average, lash certification programs can range from $300 to $2,000, and usually the course lasts one to three days. Students typically learn lash anatomy, proper tool and product use, lashing techniques, application and fills, how to preserve clients’ natural lash health, sanitation guidelines and proper aftercare.
In Missouri, anyone can become a lash tech with certification, but in some states, including Kansas, you must be a cosmetologist or an esthetician before you can get your lash tech certificate.
The average cost to attend one of Kansas’ top cosmetology and esthetician schools is about $10,000 to $15,000 and most programs take from 0 to 12 months to complete. Most of the programs offer financial aid and some scholarships, and some of the schools may include eyelash extension training and certification as part of their basic curriculum.
POTENTIAL INCOME AS A LASH TECH
Since taking her first client in 2020 under her business name Lashed By Jas, Kelly has built a large, client base, which have earned her a huge return on her initial investment. Independent entrepreneurs like Kelly can gross more than $50 per hour. However, the income independent lash technicians earn depends heavily on scheduling and their clientele.
Lash techs employed by salons typically make less – possibly $14 to $25 per hour. Another arrangement for techs who work in salons could have them working on a commission, with them splitting the amount they earn with the salon owner. This may not sound as lucrative, but it’s an arrangement that saves the tech the cost of startup expenses, like a lash bed, as well as marketing and website expenses.
Most lash artists can earn up to $50,000 per year.
An average priced technician in Kansas City might charge $120 for a volume set of lashes and $60 for fills. A reasonably talented technician could handle four appointments in an eight-hour day, if two were for full sets and two were for fills. That would earn them $360 per day, or $1,800 in a five-day week and $86,400 per year with a month off for vacation and holidays.
Startup expenses can range anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000 depending on whether you’re working independently or with a salon, or if your state requires you to have a cosmetologist or esthetician license. Those expenses can include esthetician or cosmetology school, lash certification, rent, lash supplies, marketing and tools like tweezers, brushes and glue rings.
Kelly began lashing from her home, but saved enough money to open her own studio space on Troost Avenue last fall.
“I love my clients and the people I meet. I form genuine relationships with the girls,” she said. “I like that it’s my own business and I get to do it when I want. Plus, it’s great money.”
Know the Market: Eyelash Extensions Versus Strip Lashes?
If you’ve been noticing all the long lashes lately, but haven’ decided what all the fuss is about or how it works, note that while you were on the sidelines, the lash extensions business has grown into a multi-million-dollar industry.
According to ABC News, at the rate women are throwing out their mascara and strip lashes, the lash industry is expected to reach $1.5 billion in the next five years.
There are two markets out there: eyelash extensions and strip lashes. Eyelash extensions are semi-permanent false lashes that are individually glued to the client’s natural lashes by a professional lash tech. Extensions are completely customizable. You can choose the length and fullness and whether you want a more dramatic or natural look.
Extensions last two to three weeks, at which point a customer can go in for a fill-in for where lashes have fallen out.
Strip lashes are non-permanent false lashes attached to a strip, which is then glued to your lash line. With proper upkeep, synthetic strip lashes can be reapplied about three to ten times and a pair can cost anywhere from $5 to $60 on average.
PROS AND CONS
Jasmine Kelly, a lash extension technician and owner of Lashed by Jas, says her customers prefer extensions over strips, “because you don’t have to reapply them every day and they’re customizable. I can tailor lashes depending on your eye shape, depending on how long you want them and the curl.”
While busy ladies may save time with their daily makeup routine with extensions, the time spent doesn’t compare to the time spent getting extensions and fill-ins – the process of just filling in lashes that have fallen out since the client’s last visit to their technician. Getting a full set of eyelash extensions can take two to three hours and a fill-in can take an hour or more, depending on the number of extensions that need replacing.
Typically, fill-ins are needed every two to three weeks.
“I feel like lash extensions are a lot of maintenance and I don’t always have time for that these days as a mom. I love to keep it natural,” said Kansas City resident Kinsasha Dydell. “I wear mascara the most, unless it’s a special occasion, then I’ll put on falsies.”
Another potential downside of extensions is the cost. A full set can cost anywhere between $80 to $250 and fills can cost $60 to $150.