New fake eyelash business thrives in spite of pandemic

Pretty Little Lashes explores different styles of lashes that range from denser, fuller looks and light, natural ones.

Photo courtesy of Paige Crews Lowe

Pretty Little Lashes explores different styles of lashes that range from denser, fuller looks and light, natural ones.

Entrepreneur Paige Crews Lowe of Lake Villa out-lashed the circumstances of the pandemic with her new false lash business Pretty Little Lash

Crews launched Pretty Little Lash in September.

“I have been wanting to start this for a long time,” Crews said. “I love eyelashes, and I’ve worn them for years.” 

Crews aimed to make her lashes accessible for the average consumer as well as the expert.

“There are two ends of the spectrum,” she said. “There’s someone who is brand-new, who’s just starting to get into lashes, or someone who’s curious about them. And then there’s the other side where it’s like the glam girls.” 

“I wanted to create something for the both of them,” she added.

Most lash brands price their products based on how long they can be worn. Other factors include density and bandwidth. 

“If they’re like a thicker, fuller, heavier band, it might be a little bit more expensive to create,” Crews said. “I set it if there’s like 25 wears for my lash brand and style. I feel like it’s worth it to have less than a dollar a day for what they cost.” 

Customer and corporate coordinator Stephanie Martinez, 26, of Volvo, said she appreciates Crews’ efforts to make lashes for multiple occasions. 

“For a long time, I struggled to find lashes that looked natural and felt comfortable,” Martinez said. “[The lashes are] so soft and natural. [Crews] has so many different styles and for so many occasions.”

Abigail Ingram, director of the Women in Entrepreneurship Institute at DePaul, explained the risk of opening a business during a pandemic. 

“New businesses run the risk of having no existing customers,” she said. “Many businesses have survived the pandemic because they’ve found a way to move their services online.” 

Crews promotes her products primarily through social media.

“I feel like social media is huge, not even just with the lashes, but in the beauty industry in general,” Crews said. “Social media is now where people are going to get their hair reviews. They’re not even looking at places like Google or Yelp or anything like that anymore.”

 

Ashley Wallace Peters, founder of Le’Flair Hair Lounge and a part of Cohort 3 of the Women in Entrepreneurship Institute, said the power of social media will be a strong component for local businesses throughout the pandemic.

“During the pandemic, social media plays a huge role in promoting a salon or beauty business,” Peters said. “Most people are using electronic devices at an all-time high, searching for new stylists. Social media is a huge platform and a great marketing tool to help stay afloat during these trying times.” 

Pretty Little Lash is profiting despite the pandemic prohibiting in-person sales. 

“I made back my initial investment that I originally put in, and made sales,” Crews said. 

Entrepreneurs can expect to make back their investment soon after launching according to Peters.

“Entrepreneurs like myself can usually expect to make back their initial investment within 45 days or less if an established clientele is already in existence,” Peters said. “If not, it could take six months or more.” 

Despite the 21st century, women are discouraged from taking risks due to traditional gender roles, according to Ingram. This can affect how they will want to take risks in the future regarding entrepreneurship. 

“We see this with examples like children playing on monkey bars at a playground,” Ingram said. “Adults tend to tell little boys ‘keep going’ but will tell little girls ‘be careful.’”

Crews said she envisions Pretty Little Lash growing. Crews said she plans to have her products in local stores and eventually hopes to see them in major retailers. 

“I really want to start doing more videos and like educational videos of lashes,” Crews said. “I feel like there’s still so much uncertainty and unanswered questions about wearing fake lashes and how to do it.” 

 “We should kind of have this information on hand now,” she added. “I want to be the one to put it out there.”