Small Business Interview: Ramona Azcona and Julie Mella, She Winks Lash Studio
Meet Ramona Azcona and Julie Mella the fabulous owners of NYC's She Winks Lash Studio and their lash bar is the "it place" to get your lashes and other beauty services done in Manhattan. In their interview, Ramona and Julie are dishing on what it takes to own a successful beauty business like their's and their accomplishments so far. Enjoy!
Please introduce yourselves and tell us about your business. What is it called and what services / products do you offer?
We are She Winks, a one-stop beauty loft located in the heart of midtown. Our services include, eyelash extensions, eyebrow extensions (sleek brows), eyebrow tinting, makeup application, teeth whitening, airbrush tanning, waxing and electrolysis.
Can you share a bit about how you choose this line of business? What transition did you make to owning your own business?
We always knew we wanted to become entrepreneurs and what better industry to go into than the one we both loved so much...the beauty industry. With a desire for more and a passion to succeed we decided that starting our own business is what we needed to do.
Do you have any special training?
We trained with the very reputable company called Lavish Lash. Our other lash specialist was trained by several well-known companies as well. Our staff continues to train, practice and develop their skills on a regular basis. Keeping up with the latest trends, applications and product knowledge is crucial as these are ever changing and evolving.
What are some of your biggest accomplishments as business owners?
Being good leaders, encouraging our staff to strive for more, being featured in Cara Alwill's latest book - Girl Code, staying afloat in a very competitive industry, keeping our faith through the ups and downs.
What mistakes have you made with your business? What did you learn from the experience and how did you bounce back?
We don't like to call them mistakes, just learning experiences and we've learned:
1. choosing the right employees; the fit, mindset, and personality must be right.
2. Testing and choosing the absolute best product for our clients
3. Investing wisely
What do you consider the most important elements of running a successful small business?
Providing the best customer service possible. Knowing your product or the service you provide very well. Being present; don't allow someone else to run your business, they can run it into the ground. Run a legitimate business; be able to sleep at night knowing you are doing the right thing.
Do you have any start-up advice you can share with women reading this who would like to launch their own businesses?
Have a plan. Ask questions, ask for help don't think this is a one woman show. Have faith in your product; know your product inside and out. Do not allow anyone to deter you from your dream or passion.
Do you have any advice on managing your small business finances?
Find a great accountant!! Stay within budget even if you have extra, you will need the extra for an unexpected expense. Check your books regularly, run analysis on where you can save or cut back.
How do you balance work and life owning a small business?
Balance is the key to success in any aspect of our lives. Running a business is very rewarding however it can be exhausting as well (so don't forget to take a day off and take care of you, mind, body and soul). Thanks to modern technology we are able to do a lot from home and keep an eye on our business as well. Our families know how passionate we are about our business and so they are very understanding. We try to include them as well so they can share in our accomplishments. We are faith-driven girls and our faith has carried us. We have wanted it all, can do it all and will have it all...one challenge at a time.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Perfecting a very reputable brand, owning a couple of She Winks in the tri-state area, and looking to franchise.
Please share a fun fact each about yourselves
Ramona: I binge watch Lifetime movies on my lazy Sundays. I am addicted to cheese and carbs. I'm OCD about cleanliness, so my staff loves and hates me all at the same time.
Julie: I have to play loud music (usually Beyoncé) right before I head out for a fun night out with my girls. I'm usually in my underwear, high heels with a brush in hand singing from the top of my lungs and busting moves I will probably never do in public...and yes that is probably why I'm still single! LOL!