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Hidden Gems: Meet Kiyomi Rosenzweig of You Doll You! Eyelash Extensions

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kiyomi Rosenzweig.

Hi Kiyomi, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I was originally a registered nurse in Japan and I learned eyelash extensions in 2002 from my sister who has eyelash salons in Japan. It was already very popular there so I thought it was probably too late to learn. But when I moved to Los Angeles in 2005, I realized that the treatment was unknown in the U.S. So I went to esthetician school in order to get my license and started the You Doll You eyelash extensions business.

At first, it was pretty quiet of course. But there was a core crowd that was enthusiastic. I mean… Really. Enthusiastic. They were the ones that inspired me to hone my skills and become the best that I could be. For them. I think they recognized that and in return, they made sure that anyone in southern California that would listen knew that they had to come see me for eyelash extensions. Many celebrities caught wind of it too. When word got out that I was doing lashes for Victoria Beckham and Hilary Duff, that certainly helped to spark interest in You Doll You.

And I’ll be honest, it was a little overwhelming. Within five years, I would see You Doll You grow from being one person working out of the home to having ten employees in 1800 square feet of commercial space in Beverly Hills. My husband joined me in managing my team in 2014 and I think with our complementary skills, we were able to take it to a new level. By the time the pandemic struck, we had grown to 17 employees. And I’m extremely proud of that. All of that growth happened entirely by word of mouth.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
There’s no roadmap for running a business like this. We’ve been carving the path every step of the way, learning and building on experience. Where we don’t know the answer, we navigate by instinct as humans.

But yeah, there have been tricky spots. Learning how to manage employees. Mastering consistent communication with a broad customer base. We laugh when we look back at some of the mistakes we made early on. That’s all part of it though.

Also, having an eyelash business in a full-blown pandemic isn’t something for the faint of heart. Keeping the You Doll You business alive through forced closures, managing consumer fears, being forced to move our business location on short notice. All of this — it’s been hard. But we’re coming out of it stronger than ever. Our core crew is energized about where we are and how the business is rebuilding. We’re in a new space in an exciting part of Robertson Boulevard. It almost feels like it’s all meant to have happened this way.

We feel that we are very lucky to be surrounded by the employees and customers that are with us now. They are all incredible people. And we’re still learning from them every day.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about You Doll You! Eyelash Extensions?
You Doll You has, since the beginning, focused exclusively on eyelash extensions. Gorgeous, can’t-stop-staring-in-the-mirror, eyelash extensions.

But I think what’s really made us stand apart is the recognition early on that it’s not just about pretty eyelashes. If the customer’s entire experience connecting with You Doll You is not truly remarkable, then all of the lashes in the world won’t make the business a success.

That means our customer service, our digital platform, our physical surroundings, the spirit and character of the employees that we choose — all of this has to be working together in a way that makes our clients understand that we treat each interaction, each moment, as unique and deserving of our greatest attention and preparation. In Japanese, we refer to this as Ichigo Ichie.

We know that’s a tall order and we haven’t always had success delivering on it. But we keep getting better. We keep finding new ways to make it happen.

Another important component of You Doll You’s success reaches back to my own Japanese medical background. Because I worked for five years as a nurse in Japan, I have a deep understanding of biology, how our bodies work, and how they interact with external elements like eyelash extensions. With that knowledge, I’ve been able to guide and train my staff in Japanese practices designed to keep each client’s eyes their healthiest.

And cleanliness for us is not just a priority, I think most people would agree we take it to the level of religion. Of course, our tools and materials are hygienic at the highest level. And we take great pains to make sure that every inch of You Doll You is polished clean and sanitized daily. In Japanese, we refer to this as Seiketsu; commitment to a perpetually clean workspace.

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
I am crazy about L.A. street food. When I moved here from Japan, I discovered for the first time the bacon-wrapped hot dog. That’s still my favorite and if I could track them down, I’d probably eat one every single day! Luckily I can only find the real deal ones once every couple of months.

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