Female executives have been on the rise these past couple of years. Women are now opening boutiques, firms and practices. Whether it is online or in-store, the #GirlBoss feminine success has led to an empowerment among women like never before. Some women are even utilizing their business to spread a message of empowerment, reminding fellow women to embrace who they are.
Having worked as a Jules & James Boutique employee, Allie Smith developed a passion for interacting with others and instilling confidence in women. She had a vision of someday opening a formal dress store, but the costs associated were higher than expected. Smith then decided to open a business that specializes in safe eyelash extensions, which she brought to Carrollton, GA, as Glam House & Co., on Aug. 16, 2019. Glam House & Co. also offers spray tans, eyebrow shaping and makeup services.
Smith became interested in eyelash extensions when she heard about them from one of her peers. Smith got her eyelashes done often but was not aware of the consequences of having them.
“I didn’t know anything about eyelashes, so I had no idea. I went to a girl that was not licensed and did it out of her house,” said Smith. “I didn’t think that that really mattered. I just figured she knew what she was doing, and then I didn’t have any eyelashes.”
Upon realizing the damage it caused to her natural eyelashes, Smith understood that the individual putting them on her was not a licensed professional. Although her eyelashes were damaged, Smith was still interested in the concept of eyelash extensions.
One of Smith’s co-workers had a friend who owned a lash studio in Texas. The owner suggested that Smith should open a lash studio in Carrollton, since it seemed like an ideal location. However, Smith was once completely opposed to the idea of opening a business.
Smith gradually began to acknowledge that eyelash extensions were a concept worth pursuing. Eyelash extensions were the only service Smith originally planned to offer clients, but she did not know where to begin. At minimum, Smith knew that licensed professionals, customer service and eyelash safety were crucial.
Smith went back to her former employer, Alison Grooms, and pitched an entire business plan. Grooms then gave insight on how to make Smith’s vision become a reality. The process of opening Glam House & Co. was more difficult than Smith imagined, especially as a 22-year-old female.
“I was 22 and most of the people that I interviewed and tried to employ were older than me. And I feel like a lot of times it’s harder for someone younger to be in charge of someone older,” said Smith. “I have had to learn and grow a lot in that aspect. I am very tender hearted and compassionate, so it’s like a give and take of that, trying to find a happy medium.”
Smith was not aware of the legal logistics required to start a business, nor where or how to begin that process. Grooms had a sister-in-law, Leah, Vice President of Jules & James, that worked from the legal standpoint of her business. Leah joined the Glam House & Co. team and helped Smith launch her business.
“Honestly, Glam House wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Alison and Leah, because we all three bring different aspects to the table,” said Smith.
In the process of opening, Smith realized that she could go beyond offering eyelash extensions at Glam House & Co. Smith had a licensed cosmetologist who took courses on microblading to expand Smith’s services. Smith’s sister knew how to do spray tans, and Glam House & Co.’s services quickly began to expand.
Smith created an Instagram account for Glam House & Co., which developed a heavy following much quicker than she expected. Smith began posting for hires that could provide an ‘over the top’ experience for her future clientele. Finding employees was more difficult than Smith originally anticipated.
“Employees, that was a hard thing for me. I had a good bit of employees when we first opened,” said Smith. “But the thing is, it’s hard to find lash techs that know what they’re doing, can apply extensions properly without causing damage to your lashes, that have good customer service skills…that know how to keep their area clean. There are a lot of aspects that go into it, and I am really thankful for the girls that I do have.”
Smith initially planned to open in mid-Spring or early Summer 2019, but she was constantly waiting for government documentation and verification.
“Our social media did take off pretty fast, but I just wish I would’ve known the timeline better. You know, instead of it being two months before we actually opened and opening had stuff to even show people,” said Smith. “We had initially planned for a sooner opening, but with the government it is a lot of ‘hurry up and wait.”
Since Aug. 2019, Smith’s business has continually been on the rise. She is now planning to expand the amount of space available at her business in Carrollton and offer several new services. Some of these services include, but are not limited to, teeth whitening, makeup classes, facials and a dry bar. Smith also has a goal of opening multiple locations in college towns.
Although the entrepreneurial experience for Smith has been rewarding in terms of her client and social media base, she says customer service is the greatest achievement of Glam House & Co.
“Enhancing beauty, embracing confidence, and empowering women to be who God called them to be is our mission statement,” said Smith. “I want to create a relaxing experience for women who are continually on the go.”
Smith strives to give women a confidence boost and empowerment through Glam House & Co. She is aware that her clients have busy schedules. However, Smith is determined to make the experience memorable and relaxing for anyone that comes through Glam House & Co.’s doors.
“At the end of the day, all of the money or Instagram followers does not fall into our greatest achievements,” said Smith. “It’s how we serve other women.”