If you’re reading a job spec and being filled with dread, why are you clicking apply?
Owner and Founder of The Lash Lounge, Ashade Cole, shares with us her employee to entrepreneur journey, the importance of collective growth and that annoying people can not be escaped.
The Lash Lounge is a South-London based boutique style beauticians that specialises in quality individual lash extensions. Ashade founded The Lash Lounge at age 24, but her entrepreneurial journey starts over 10 years ago when she realised that if she wanted something, she’d have to work hard to get it herself,“I went to school in a very affluent area but I don’t come from an affluent background. I’ve always had a ‘hustler’ mentality.”
Throughout her academic studies, Ashade had always worked but the desire to always remain an employee shifted after she graduated, “If you’re reading the job spec and being filled with dread, why are you clicking apply? Applying for jobs she was not interested in no longer made sense, so began intentionally planning towards entrepreneurship.
“People are problematic”
“I was that person in school with multiple enterprises” Ashade explains; she’s always been a grafter and also known how to meet supply and demand, “when I was selling sweets, and Juicy Couture tracksuits, people tried to creep into my market so I diversified and I moved into the brownies and started making chicken wraps made to order.” Ashade’s ‘enterprises’ had adequate turnover for at the time, “I was making like £40 a week which is not bad, because at 13, what do you have to spend your money on? Primark and KFC!”
Beauty and self-care have always been important to Ashade and once she noticed her friends routinely booking lash extension appointments, she saw it as an opportunity to learn a new skill. “After researching lash extension application, I realised that you don’t need to be a beautician but can just specialise in it, so started doing it mobile”. As her client base grew, it was time to implement the plans she’d made to source a permanent space, and outsource staff for further beauty services. “For me, my eyebrows are very important so if I had someone inexperienced doing them, I’d be broken” - Amen!
“As a growing business, I want my staff to grow with it”
When discussing the ebs and flows of running a customer facing business, Ashade makes a concrete disclaimer - “People are problematic”. After a frank conversation with a former manager, Ashade’s decision for entrepreneurship become more solidified when, “she told that I was not a likeable person, and I just thought ‘people are annoying'. I thought it might change once I worked for myself but oh no - there’s annoying people everywhere!”.
As a young black woman in her line of business, Ashade shares that “familiarity is inevitable as most of my clients are young black females”, and therefore finding ways to manage expectations, professionally resolve disputes and understanding personal tolerance points is integral.
“I went to school in a very affluent area but I don’t come from an affluent background, so I’ve always had a ‘hustler’ mentality”
Ashade quickly became aware of the responsibilities that came with entrepreneurship after cleaning up a flooded shop, “the people upstairs flooded my shop, and having unhelpful people in my aura meant that the brunt of things fell on me”; Delegation was a skill Ashade learnt soon after this experience, as without it, she began to struggle, “I think I suffered with a little bit of anxiety, like crying in the middle of the night, and not being able to sleep. It’s really important to understand what you can offload to help make your responsibilities more manageable and long-term.”
In understanding what to offload to others, Ashade’s step back from the shop floor has been heavily influenced by her desire for her staff to grow with the business, “as a growing business, I want my staff to grow with it.” It is important for Ashade to ensure that her staff feel like valuable assets to her business with viable career progression options for them, “whether it be performance reviews or off site training days, it’s very important to set aside time to revisit the vision and work out the growth solutions; and most importantly strategize how I’m going to utilise the people around me to help make it happen”.
The Lash Lounge will be introducing a lash extension training course in Spring 2018. For those of you who are interested in learning from these beautiful pro’s, keep your eye on their socials for more information.
Socialise with Ashade and The Lash Lounge:
Instagram: @thelashloungeldn | Twitter: @lashloungeLDN
Instagram: @Ashnaic | Twitter: @Ashnaicole
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