How 5 Sisters are Taking Over the Gold Coast Lash World with Afterpay
The Rerekura sisters grew The Lash Room from zero to 1600 clients and have expanded from one location to three in the short span of twelve months. How did they do it? Simple — old fashioned customer service and a little thing called Afterpay. Here’s their story:
A love affair with lashes
Jeanne and Hanita are sisters and co-owners of The Lash Room Australia. Although the pair have always been lash lovers, they had absolutely no beauty industry experience. Their backgrounds are in hospitality and social work, careers which they didn’t love but in Jeanne’s words: “after falling pregnant with my first, I just had to get into the workforce”.
The sisters had been regularly getting their lashes ‘done’ for years, but the experience always felt lacklustre. Lash extensions were a ‘little luxury’ to enjoy and offered a welcomed break from their busy lives. But the service lacked that special ‘something.’
That’s when it dawned on them — why not start a business where clients felt like they were friends, rather than numbers? Jeanne had three young kids who she wanted to spend more time with, so the flexibility of being a business owner had added an appeal.
I wanted to start something I could do at home and still be a parent, the idea of lashes came about because it’s in popular demand on the Gold Coast.
Not ones to muck around, the pair dove straight into getting their lash qualifications.
It was basically ‘practice makes perfect’ from that point. Coming from a family of 12 with 9 girls, we had a lot of sisters to practice on!
Within months they opened The Lash Room. They started out of two home locations, Clear Waters and Omeau. Soon after opening, one of their sisters, Wiki, joined them in the Gold Coast and opened in Pipima, adding a third home location to their business. Although they could move into a shop, they’ve kept the home locations “we want it to be more personal and more intimate. The home location fits well with us and our families.”
Don’t forget, your clients are your walking advertisers
When your client experience is exceptional, your clients will tell their friends and their friend’s friends. That’s how Jeanne and Hanita first grew their client base — through good old fashioned customer service and word of mouth.
Good news spreads fast — the Lash Room quickly became the talk of the Gold Coast town.
“Our customer experience is quite unique in the Gold Coast, you can get lashes anywhere, what makes us different is how we make it more personal, we talk to our clients. We don’t just turn on music and stay quiet.”
Jeanne says, a great connection with your therapist is not guaranteed in the lash business. “I know when I used to get mine done, there would be a bit of small talk at the start and then you’d just lie there, how boring, I’d just be waiting for it to finish!” Due to their amazing client experience, the majority of their appointments are return clients.
Focusing on your competition isn’t the answer — focus on your client experience.
Jeanne explains, “Even small things like having a nice candle to smell or playing the music they like. Also, being open about our lives help our clients open up too, it can be a bit of a therapy session for a lot of them!”
The Lash room is living proof that if you deliver a memorable client experience, your clients will keep coming back — simple as that! Now, the pair are so busy that they’ve had to call in reinforcement, adding four more of their sisters to their business as lash tech trainees.
“The lash industry has grown so much, but few provide a good client experience. We’re personal and that’s the big difference that sets us apart from our competition.”
So… why Timely?
As their client base grew, so too did the admin involved in running their business. The sisters quickly realised they needed appointment booking software to streamline the day to day running of their business. Enter stage right — Timely.
I did my research on Timely and it just made sense. I’m all about convenience and it’s so quick and easy to use. Ever since we opened, our clients have said that they love it and find it easy to book online.
Timely also set them apart from their competition as it adds to their professionalism and the whole client experience.
“It’s so easy to use and it doesn’t double book people. The lash industry in the Gold Coast is so busy that clients often get cancelled on, sometimes a lash artist will cancel an appointment on the day because they want to fit in a friend! With Timely we just block out time when we need to and make it work for our lives so that we don’t have to cancel on clients. You have to be the best, because there is so much competition out there and Timely helps with that.”
That AfterPay edge: how The Lash Room grew their business with AfterPay
When Timely announced the integration, The Lash Room signed up with Afterpay immediately and have never looked back since. The numbers speak for themselves:
I think if we didn’t have Afterpay we’d probably have only 70% of the clients we have now. I think it makes a huge difference. I don’t think we would be as busy as we are without it.
Not only has Afterpay increased the Lash Room’s client base, it’s now one of their clients preferred payment methods! “Afterpay has definitely helped us grow, 40% of our clients pay with Afterpay, 20% cash and $40% Eftpos. It’s so quick, it’s the quickest payment method because you can just scan their code or type in their 8 digit number!” Afterpay offers the Lash Room a competitive edge in a cluttered market. “It encourages people to come to our business because our competitors don’t have it unless they have Timely too!”
How to make AfterPay work in your business
Afterpay is a relatively new payment method, so not everyone is using it yet. As a business, it’s important to actively promote Afterpay to your clients.
It was tough to get clients to use it in the beginning, when you get Afterpay you just expect it to add business instantly but it was work to build up the message about it.
So the magic secret is: Use social media… a lot
The Lash Room suggests incorporating AfterPay into your social media posts [Note: Timely offers free downloads to help you do just that]. “We posted once a week about it and did specials to get people to use it like ‘the first 10 or 20 get a discount on their next service’. It took about four months of pushing it and then use of Afterpay exploded in our business.” Make sure you post often, too. “People don’t always see what we’re posting or they might not go online a lot, so with more posts, there’s more chance of people seeing that we offer Afterpay.
Make it part of your conversations with clients
Make sure you’re offering Afterpay as a payment method for everybody at each appointment “We say ‘how would you like to pay, Eftpos, Afterpay or cash?”
Hanita advises tailoring your message depending on the client and their situation.
“For the clients who use Afterpay already, if they have a huge event coming up, I suggest putting their lashes on Afterpay and spending their cash at the restaurant or bar, because obviously, you can’t Afterpay your night out! Clients are really grateful that we’ve thought of that for them!”
For clients who aren’t using it yet, they’re able to sign up in two minutes and start using it immediately. This makes Afterpay an easy payment option to suggest on the day. “When you provide Afterpay as an option, it turns a $100 payment into $25 for the first payment, our clients have been really happy about that. Who wouldn’t?”
Streamline client payments
Some of The Lash Room’s clientele prefer to prepay for their next infill appointment via Afterpay at the same time as paying for their current appointment. Sure, it’s a bigger first payment – but it means the next appointment has already been paid for, plus the client will have one less Afterpay payment plan on the go, keeping it simpler for them. “We do this because it stops the client from having payments all over the place.”
Timely works well with Afterpay, making it easy for The Lash Room to work with their clients’ needs.
“In Timely you’re able to take payments/part-payments for future appointments and adjust future payment amounts. We mark it as already paid for or we put a note in the appointment saying ‘paid by Afterpay or owes this amount remaining. It’s great!”
Where to from here?
Jeanne and Hanita are excited about ‘The Lash Room’s future. They’re about to open another location and plan to scale their business further with Timely. “As we expand we’ll use Timely and Afterpay at the new salons too.”
Taking a leap of faith and starting your own business can be daunting. At Timely, we’re super proud of all our clients and love supporting them to reach (and exceed) their dreams. Read more about how Timely’s integration with Afterpay can take your business to the next level.