“I’ve had clients cry with happiness and hug me because I was able to give them brows. We have men and women coming in with health conditions like alopecia and they can’t grow their eyebrows. It makes me proud to be able to help them with their insecurities.”
That’s how Honey Cruz, founder of Honey Luxury Beauté, explains some of her customers’ reactions to microblading, the latest service offered by her business. When Cruz started the business in 2018, she didn’t think it would lead to tears and hugs from grateful clients, but her dedication to her customers and drive to grow the business has brought her to unexpected places – both literally and figuratively.
With premises in Sacramento and Fairfield, California, what started out as a tentative experiment selling eyelashes online has quickly developed into a popular provider of beauty services. With the energy and enthusiasm that Honey exudes, it’s not a surprise.
“I was doing a 9 to 5 job and I wasn’t very happy with where I was at. I was being overworked and underpaid. I really wanted to do something I loved. If I could make more money at the same time, even better,” says Cruz.
“I started researching some niches. I saw a growing demand for false eyelash strips and studied a few brands, one of them being Lilly Lashes. I saw how Lilly Ghalichi developed the brand by working with celebrities and thought ‘I can do this too’ so that’s what I did.”
While it’s easy to sum things up by casually saying ‘that’s what I did’, the reality was more complex, especially considering that Honey was doing all this while studying for a degree in architecture and design. She set about the process of connecting with international suppliers to find the right product, packaging and branding. From there, the marketing effort began. She focused on reaching out to influencers and makeup artists in the beauty industry, sending them free samples in return for photos of them using the lash strips so she could post on Instagram. While influencer marketing is a standard tactic for many businesses, back in 2018, some doubted Honey’s approach.
“I invested somewhere between $3,000 to $5,000 in the merchandise to get me started. It was kind of scary to have all piles and piles of eyelashes sitting there, but I told myself, ‘if I don’t sell any, at least I’ll never have to buy another eyelash in my entire life!’ My roommate at the time was literally laughing at me. She kept asking ‘what are you doing?’ and telling me ‘that’s never going to work’. I told her it would and it did. I sold out of my most popular lash styles in a number of days.”
Honey also credits her local community with helping Honey Luxury Beauté get off the ground. “Friends and complete strangers supported me so after a few weeks I covered the cost of my initial investment and it was clear that there was demand for more”.
The stage was set for the business to take it to the next level and Honey had a clear vision in mind. “I saw that some people weren’t as interested in false eyelashes as before and there was growing demand for lash extensions. Lash extensions give the illusion that your eyelashes are fuller, but they need to be applied by a professional Lash artist. Every two weeks, you get them filled and people are willing to pay a lot of money for that service.”
She turned to her sister for help with phase two of her business plan. “Applying the lash extensions is a delicate skill so I paid for my sister to take a course. She hated it. She nearly backed out a few times, but thankfully she stuck with it. She started practicing on me and my friends. Once we were happy that she reached the right standard, we started visiting client’s homes and hotel rooms to get them ready ahead of events. I had a vision to be a mobile lash business, then things began to escalate. We got popular very quickly and we’ve built up a large clientele.”
But while her customer base grew, the number of hours in the day remained stubbornly static. “I realized that us going to people’s houses and hotels was taking a big toll on us in terms of energy and time. We decided to get a couple of mini-studios – studios within existing facilities – to get our customers to come to us.”
With those exciting plans on the horizon, Honey knew she could do with the help of point of sale technology. She has been using talech Mobile for a number of months and from early on felt the benefits it brought to her business.
“I needed something that could help deliver a quality customer experience and keep me on top of what was happening in the business. When you’re in the early stages of building a business, you need to have visibility of what’s coming in and what’s going out. With talech Mobile, I was able to see what was coming in on the app and get more detailed reports on talech.com and that made it easier to know I could cover what was going out.”
In a highly competitive industry, Honey feels her relentless focus on building relationships with her customers has made the difference.
“I still have the original customers I started with coming to us and telling me that they’ll never use anyone else. I put a lot of emphasis on maintaining those relationships and providing high standards of service. The personal connection sets us apart.”
Point of sale technology has played an important role in reinforcing that competitive advantage.
“talech Mobile has been important in helping me manage the relationships. I can easily add a new client and have their purchase history at my fingertips. I can see what we’ve been doing for this customer, how much they have spent and quickly remind myself about the customer”.
“The new invoices feature has been really useful too. I can quickly send an invoice to my customer. They’ve got paperless receipt for the services and they can pay in a variety of ways that make things easier for me. My customers are very comfortable with it.”
The rapid growth of Honey Luxury Beauté doesn’t mean Honey is planning on taking it easy. Aside from completing college, she has further plans for the company that she hopes to get started on soon. “We need to hire pretty soon because we are getting so busy with the high demand. We’re projected to hit six figures in sales by the end of the year. My vision is to open up a storefront, offer a range of services within the beauty industry and have an entire team in different counties. I’m also looking to travel to different cities and host seminars for women who want to learn and follow in my footsteps. To start off as a little side hustle and move into a fully formed busy business is kind of crazy to me but I want to help other people on that journey.”
From speaking with Honey, it’s clear she has the right make-up to deliver those plans.
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