First of all, HI! I can't believe I started a FREAKING BLOG! HELLO?!
I am utilizing this longer format written platform as a means of allowing you all into my brain, business & lash tips and to share thoughts that mean something to me- and maybe could resinate with you too! Welcome to my imperfect, raw, public diary hehe
I figured the perfect first blog topic would be introducing myself and my beloved businesses. 'Cause duh, right?
My name is Erin, at the time of me writing this I'm 26 years old and was born and raised in Oregon- which is also where both of my businesses reside. I now own two businesses, one is my lash business(Monarch Lash Co.) and the other is my creative studio with rental suites(Undefined Studios). I am still a full time lash artist, a studio owner, an educator both in-person and online, a content creator, a product retailer, and all of the other titles and hats we wear as artists. I'm also a life partner, a dog mom, a thrifting enthusiast, and lots of other things outside of work!
My online courses are now reaching 44 countries and counting, I have trained nearly 2,000 students, I was able to fully move my business to a new city while remaining fully booked, I built my first creative studio 4 years into my lash career and had it fully rented before there was a finished building and have maintained it being fully rented consistently since, I have been able to have my books closed as a lash artist for a few years now with a growing waitlist, I have been able to work alongside a large lash brand, and lots more throughout the years... but I obviously had to start somewhere, and it wasn't anywhere close to here.
Listen, I came out of the womb with an independent spirit. I just knew I was meant for big things. My first word was "No", like.. you feel me? wheeeew my parents were in for it! Growing up, I was an average kid I'd say. Middle, working-class family that lived month-to-month but, were involved in sports year-round, low but passing grade point average, we didn't want for much and never needed for anything. We were a church-going family very involved in their church community. Church twice a week, mission trips, church plays, church choir, you name it. I was also a very angry and searching for her path, creative minded, yet soft hearted young girl. I dealt with a lot of inner termoils, deep depressive episodes starting as early as 12/13, I was later diagnosed and medicated starting at age 17 for a clinical depression and anxiety disorder. Among other things, middle school and high school were not always easy for me. I found my creative escapes to be drawing, body modifications, braiding, redecorating and reorganizing my room(weekly), repainting my room and drawing on my walls, hair wraps and string knots, and crocheting.. anything that I found myself interested in, I would try. I even made my own shampoo for a second.
I went to college for 2 whole weeks, probably only attended 5 classes in those 2 weeks and dropped out. College was not my jam.
I considered being in the beauty industry for a very long time to braid hair. I wasn't interested in color or cuts, only braiding. Until I found out a license was required in my state just to braid. I lost interest. I then shifted my focus to the body modification direction and thought I wanted to become a piercer. Long story short, that didn't call to me. Freshly 18, I found myself working as a caregiver with the developmentally disabled community and absolutely found a passion there. I fell in love. I was working 60+ hour weeks at 18 years old. I loved it so much I was considering going back to college to study human development, psychology, human design, or some sort of social science. I have the deepest fascination with the mind... this was also the era that eyelash extensions were starting to majorly hit my state.
For my 20th birthday my mom gifted me a set of eyelash extensions! I talked the poor gal's ear offfffff the entire time, asking her EVERY question about lashes I could think of. I almost guarantee my eyes were going 100mph. hehe whoopsie. Mainly, I asked her all about her schooling and requirements in our state. Within the next couple of weeks I was enrolled in beauty school with the intention to become a lash artist.
I finished beauty school, took my lash class, and voila! Here I am today!
LAWL JUST KIDDING
But from there I started practicing on close friends and family in the living room/kitchen of my then 400sqft tiny house my partner, dog and I moved into. Yes, it was as tight as you can imagine. And no, tiny living was not for me.
I rented a bed in a salon in my home town(that I did not live in). I had just enough space for a pop up massage table that you had to shimmy sideways next to the table to get behind the bed. If I had to measure, I'd guess my first rented space was about 30sqft total.
My schedule looked like this:
Mon-Fri: Caregiving 4-9pm, fitting 6hr lash sets and 4hr fills everywhere else. Including taking lash clients at 9:30pm, until 1 or 2am.
Sat, Sun: Caregiving 12-14hr days, lash clients everywhere I could fit them.
I slept very little and on average, I'd guess I was working 14-16hr days, 7 days a week.
I lashed part time and still had my state job, slowly weaning my hours at the state job as my clientele built- eventually quitting my 9-5 and going all in with lashing!
I worked every day. No, really. Every day. All day.
Commission life was new to me, and I wasn't comfy with it.
I was at this salon for nearly 9 months, with a full book of clients established in this town, and I decided I needed to expand closer to home and into a bigger city that could better support my long-term goals. And I did just that! I uprooted my entire newly established and finally stable business and moved it to a new city.
I rented an 80sqft room above a real estate business.
I grew so much here! This space was hugely impactful to me. This was where I grew the majority of my online presence, started retailing product, started teaching, held my first group class, and saw hundreds of lash clients over the course of my three years here. Many of my business "firsts" were in this space. I deeply honor it's memory.
But.. I knew getting into this career I wanted to own a salon. Over the years that vision shifted from a salon, into a creative space that housed artists of all kinds, not just beauty professionals. I wanted more of that edgy, chic, high-end vibe filled with a community of like-minded creative businesses owners.
2020 hit... We know how that went.
My state and job was shut down for 3 months. During these three months I was in a sling from overuse from lashing... remember me saying I worked all the time? The docs thought I literally tore my rotator cuff from lashing too much. oops to me. So while I was on a slew of medications and unable to move my arm.. My mind was so on fire for opening a studio. I couldn't stop day dreaming. I managed to contact a commercial realtor and we toured probably 6-10 properties, each one not being quite *it* but, I was taking pieces from each place and concocting the grander picture. If you listen to Abraham Hicks, this would be the "getting clear" part. I wasn't in love with any of them, and while my constant tab open on my internet browser was loopnet . com and there wasn't a single property listed without me seeing it... I knew I had to set it down.
I stopped touring locations and I wrote out the *detailed* list of every single design aspect, location, color patterns, parking situation, price point, square footage, allllll of it. We're talkin, I wrote down the words "large windows that bring in a ton of sunlight"... no detail was missed.
I prayed over the timing of this list, I prayed it to be delivered to me in perfect accordance, I prayed for the divine to provide when I was ready.
I closed my journal and let it go.
Returning back to work after the shut down as normal(whatever the hell the new normal was), more healed and extremely happy and grateful for what I currently had. I loved where my studio was and where my business was. I stayed in this energy for about 6-9 months after writing my list.
Fast forward to May 2021, I had a collab group training with a dear friend who was staying with me. I'll never forget the exact scene after our training... we were sitting on her bed just relaxing and decompressing after our training before she was going to leave for the airport. I got a random impulse to close social media and search commercial properties, which I hadn't done in a long time. The first listed property was an architect's sketch of a building-to-be.
This building, by no coincidence, was being built three doors down from where my current studio was. *Exactly* the location setting I had written. I drove by it on my way to my studio and funny enough, I had never seen the active construction, but it was just a slab concrete foundation on the ground with a few 2x4 sitting on top of it.
I just *knew*. Based on a feeling, so much prayer, so much consulting with my close people, the mock up drawing, this space had *literally* every. single. thing. I had written in my journal of aspects I wanted.
I submitted my LOI, and after many negotiations, lawyer red lines, business set ups, audits and plans, I signed a lease to build this studio on 8/11/21, at 1:11pm... so. much. destiny.
The construction process was craaazy to say the least. Many hurdles, decisions, walk throughs, changes to the plans, delayed permitting, city walk throughs and assessments, delay after delay, we finally got our keys on Dec. 11th... again, hi angel numbers.
Back dating a bit here, once I signed my lease in August, part of the business preparations was establishing lease agreement terms, and renters. I announced the studio after these were all established and started posting rental openings.
Within about 2 weeks of announcing the studio, it was fully rented. This was so much of the divine's hand, because I didn't even have pictures of a building for anyone to see. They truly took me at my word and trusted my vision for the space. I am forever grateful.
We have now been open for 2 years! The studio has been fully rented every day we've been open and the magical moments that have transpired here are nothing short of a dream, to me. It certainly hasn't always been easy. My mental health has hit lows I had never experienced before, my anxiety levels have hit highs I didn't know were chemically possible, and I've learned such valuable lessons throughout the process of being a studio owner and manager.
I look back on this entire path that has been my lash career thus far and feel the most gratitude and deep peace... along with witnessing the insane divine guidance and protection. It is so overwhelming and mind blowing to me.. but by no accident. ❤️