Opening two new salons in the same month is a new venture for Eastside resident Richard Eastern after he opened two Lash Lounge locations in September.
Eastern said he got interested in opening the eyelash and brow salons after spending 17 years in the real estate industry, working for companies and starting his own. Eventually, he was ready for something different and opened a Lash Lounge in the Redmond Town Center on Sept. 6, followed shortly after a second location in Bellevue.
“Honestly, just wanted kind of a change,” he said.
The Lash Lounge is a chain of salons that were started in Texas by Anna Phillips in 2006 and became a franchise in 2010. Eastern was able to buy the regional franchising rights for Puget Sound, meaning he has the right of first refusal if another franchise owner wants to buy into the area. He’s also planning on expanding in the future, including opening another location by the end of the year.
The Lash Lounge provides a wide array of services including lash perms, curling, tinting and extensions for brows and eyelashes, among other services. In the Bellevue location they also offer brow threading. Eastern said these services allow women to spend less time doing cosmetics when they are preparing for the day. He hopes to branch into micro-blading and permanent makeup too.
Between the two locations the Lash Lounge employs around 20 people and has had more than 200 clients since they opened, Eastern said. Their opening at the Redmond Town Center included a celebration on Sept. 6, which followed a soft opening.
All stylists must complete a certification process on top of holding an aesthetician or cosmology license, Eastern said. When he first looked at getting into the industry, there weren’t many businesses in the area that focused exclusively on eyelashes and brows and with the opening of the Lash Lounges he opes to offer locals more options.
“I didn’t find that anywhere,” he said.
All the lash and brow products used at the Lash Lounge are water-based so other oil-based cosmetic products won’t break them down.
Although Eastern lives in Bellevue, he said Redmond caught his attention due to an influx of new apartments and businesses opening, especially restaurants and stores.
“Redmond in general has had really, I think, a huge resurgence,” he said.
Similarly, the eyelash industry has seen a massive increase in recent years. According to a 2017 Market Research Future study, worldwide sales were projected to reach more than $1.75 billion with growing demand for luxury eye makeup coupled with new fashion driving the market. North American customers take up the lion’s share of the market driving nearly 37 percent of sales in 2017, but Asian Pacific countries were the fastest growing markets with China leading the way.
Of all the products within the eyelash industry, strip lashes accounted for more than 57 percent of all sales in 2017 and was expected to grow nearly eight percent through 2023.
According to Statista, Ardell Fashion, Kiss Ever EZ Lashes and Ardell Natural were the top three brands sold in the United States in 2017 which brought in a combined $41.4 million.