Andrea Monteclaro, a senior at Franklin High School in South Seattle, is the perfect example of someone who turned something she loved doing into an excellent business opportunity. Andrea currently runs an eyelash business from her home in South Seattle. She’s booked everyday, Monday through Sunday, and sees a tremendous return on her initial investment in a few eyelash extension kits. On top of all this, she’s learning business by doing business – the best kind of education.
Andrea was kind enough to share her story with Sigma, as well as her advice for other students who might be interested in starting a business but who are still in high school. She started the business in December 2017, her junior year of high school. The idea came after months of getting her own eyelashes done. For Christmas, Andrea’s mom bought Andrea her first eyelash extension kit. It came with a pair of tweezers, adhesive, and 4 trays of eyelash extensions. That’s all she needed to start practicing on her friends, who were excited to let her practice her work on them (and get their lashes done for free). From there, her business grew naturally. “My friends would tell their friends, and from there it just spread,” she recalls.
In the beginning, Andrea built up her experience by accepting tips, as she was still practicing. Once she got the hang of doing a “classic set,” which is a more natural look, she made an Instagram account to advertise her work. It was around that point that she started charging. But even then, she remained incredibly affordable at a price of $50. For reference, most Seattle-based eyelash extension professionals charge over $100. However, prices vary widely depending on the specific set of lashes the customer wants and can range from around $65 to over $350.
After a few months, Andrea’s business really started to grow. Within weeks, her whole summer was booked. As demand continued to grow, she raised her price, and started practicing and providing new styles of eyelashes. “A year later, I am booked to do eyelashes everyday (Monday – Sunday),” she said.
The hardest part of her business management has been responding fast enough to clients. In all honesty, what a great problem to have. With her new income, Andrea has learned how to budget and save her money.
“I didn’t know I was capable of growing my business so fast,” Andrea admits, which serves as a great reminder for other students: don’t underestimate yourself. If you’re passionate about something and you can find a business model that makes sense, go for it. In Andrea’s case, once she saw how good her business was doing, she knew she had to keep going. The growth came naturally. Now, she’s more motivated than ever because she knows many people are depending on her to keep their “lashes looking good.”
An entrepreneurial spirit, Andrea has big ambitions for her future. “I don’t want to do eyelashes forever,” she states. “I’d like to run something bigger.” She sees herself gaining more experience at a corporation like Nordstrom, Nike, or Amazon. “However, if I do change my mind…, I see myself making my own brand of eyelash extensions and opening salons all over the Pacific Northwest.”
Whatever she ends up doing, Andrea has definitely gained valuable business knowledge, the type of business intelligence that comes from doing rather than textbook learning. “My advice for students who want to run a business is that you have to discipline yourself,” she reflects. “Sometimes you won’t be able to hang out with friends, or you might run out of time to do other things.”
According to her, having a planner has made it much easier to balance her business, school, and social life. “When I know I have a final, I know ahead of time not to schedule an appointment a few days before, so I can study,” she said.
To learn more about Andrea, follow her Instagram account: @andreamonte.lash.