Today we’d like to introduce you to Tussanee Luebbers.
Tussanee, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I first discovered eyelash extensions in 2005 at a trade show in Long Beach and fell in love. After taking a year to learn this new craft and working as a trainer for a national brand, in July of 2006 Integrity Lash opened its doors in Pasadena. It started with me in an 80-square foot space in Old Pasadena (affectionately called my “cracker box”), and in 2010 I moved to a larger location (2000 sq./ft.) with Integrity’s first employee. Soon after the move, we grew to six lash stylists by 2012, and we were booked out one to three months with all our staff. Since 2012, we have added another 1000 square feet to the salon and added another 6 full-time stylists. We continue to be booked out months in advance with most of our stylists, so we encourage new clients to plan ahead if you want to come in for lashes.
We have two new initiatives that we are looking to launch in the coming months. First, we are also preparing to launch the first of its kind lash training program where you can come to our training center and learn how to do lashes over a month. Most training programs last one to three days, and we are looking to train people for a month so that they get a strong foundation before they move on to do lashes for a living.
We will also be teaching at Professional Beauty Association’s ISSE trade show in January of 2018 as the first of its kind all day lash seminar. We will be offering 6 classes over the weekend. Second, we just started to record a podcast called “Lash Cast” which is aimed at educating stylists and clients alike in our industry. We aim to launch the podcast in mid to late October.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Unfortunately, while we were busy, my salon was not profitable. In early 2013 I learned why my salon was busy but was not making any money…the beauty commission model is broken. I began to talk to other salons owners and learned they were either barely surviving or falling into debt to keep their salon doors opened. I was falling into debt myself, and I was having to work 12 hours days 6 days a week just to keep our doors open. As I learned more about how poorly most salons are doing in our industry, I ended up hiring a salon coaching company, Strategies, to help me completely rethink how I did business. Since late 2013 Integrity Lash has been a team-based pay salon, and we have seen our salon triple in revenue and for the first time actually turn a profit this last year. Before hiring Strategies, our focus was primarily on our guests, but now my management team’s focus is on our team. I always say, if I take care of my team, and my team takes care of our guests, the guests will take care of the company. I’m very proud to be one of the only lash salons in the United States to offer our team such benefits as vacation pay, sick pay, health insurance, monthly in-house training and more.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Integrity Lash – what should we know?
Integrity Lash specializes in natural looking lash extensions that last four to five weeks. When you go to most salons, their focus is on wowing you in the room and giving you very impactful lashes…but they usually last two to three weeks. We want to wow our guests too, but we also want your lashes to last at least a month between appointments. In order to accomplish this goal, we had to change two things in our service: the length of the appointment and our technique. Our appointments are much longer than other salons which allows us to place more lash extensions on our guest’s lashes and our technique is very difficult to master. We only hire experienced stylists and even when they come onto our team it may take them 2-6 months before they are ready to be a Senior Stylist. By lengthening our appointments and raising the bar on how we apply lashes, we have been able to extend the time between appointments for our guests.
Because we have such an amazing team we are the most award-winning lash salon in Southern California. We have been chosen by Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Magazine, Brides.com, Pasadena Magazine, Pasadena Weekly, and Byrdie Beauty Blog (and other blogs) as one of the best places to get your lashes done. We have also been chosen 2 years in a row by Salon Today (a beauty industry trade magazine) as one of the top 200 salons in North America. To top things off, if you check out our Yelp page you’ll see we have more five-star reviews for eyelash extensions than any other lash salon. I am very proud of what my team has accomplished over these 11 years.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
We really care about our team and our guests. To me that is everything. If you can’t get excited about what you do and loving the people you work with, you really need to find another career. Over the years I have told my team that we are a busy salon because we care. We care about each other, and we care about our guests. There are many other salons out there doing good work, but they aren’t super busy because I believe they don’t really invest in their team or their guests. They tend to focus on the money and as a result, they cut corners or add on all sorts of crazy services in hopes to make more money. I tell my team that they just need to focus on doing great lashes and the money will follow.
- New Set of Lashes with Tussanee $400
- New Set of Lashes with Integrity Lash Team $300
- Lash Fill $121 (90 min) $162 (120 min)
- Address: 350 South Lake Avenue, Suite 290, Pasadena, CA 91101
- Website: www.integritylash.com
- Phone: 626-437-4000
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @integritylash
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IntegrityLash/?ref=br_rs
- Twitter: @integritylash
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/integrity-lash-eyelash-extensions-pasadena