For as long as I can remember, I always new that enhancing and perfecting brows had a profound effect on peoples look and confidence. This was one of my favourite services as well as the most requested. In the 90’s, you had to rely on your natural talent and good eye for shaping and styling as there were no courses, internet, brow hubs, products and the like to help you along. By 2005, I realised that with the amount of brow work we were producing, there was a market to transforming a standard brow wax into something much more. So I brought in my architect and re designed the front part of my salon into the first brow bar within a beauty salon in Melbourne. My main focus was to free up my treatment rooms, showcase a specialist service, and offer express convenient service while people were in the mall. It would also create extra revenue in an area that traditionally wasn’t profitable ‘the waiting area’ And along came new clients in the process and added to our business revenue. The rest is history. Not only did it pay off but the copy cats followed too. I re-designed our menu and put together a training program specifically for staff running this area, as there was nothing around at the time-not even products to sell! With this success, I applied the same to the next 2 stores we launched thereafter.
Several of my Irish employees told me about HD brows and after doing some research, I instinctively knew that this was the next big thing here in Australia and I needed to jump on this ASAP especially because there was only 1 other operator in Melbourne at that time. I was so impressed and excited that I booked myself on the next flight to Millton Keynes in UK, and spent the next three days learning the HD brow method under Nilam Patel’s instruction. From Nilan herself to all of her instructors, the business model and the set up was by far one of the most impressive training courses I have undertaken in my career. It was definitely worth the money outlaid.
From then on, everything made sense, everything had structure and no challenge was too difficult-it was a light bulb moment! It not only added value as a stand-alone service, but it was very useful when performing brow cosmetic tattoos.
- Tell Me About Yourself.
I was born in Melbourne Australia to Greek immigrant parents. I was raised very strict and taught the value of hard work and responsibility at a young age. My mother was highly educated and was one of very few in the 60’s to speak fluent English. She therefore became an advocate for other immigrants. It was her drive and tenacity that I learned my biggest lessons in business and in life. Push forward regardless of obstacles, believe that you can do whatever you put your mind to and never stop learning and improving yourself.
My husband and I have been married for 18 years and share 4 children. I’m currently completing cosmetic nursing in between working and running my stores. My husband also runs his own business so everyday is a hug juggling act.
My career in the beauty industry began in 1987 at the age of 19yrs and opened my first salon at the age of 26 years (1994) with a loan of $15k from my father which took 2 years to pay back. For the first 8 years, I worked 6 very long days and mentored many staff. I have had plenty of set backs but these have taught me the biggest lessons and allowed me to move forward. If we didn’t have these we would remain complacent and never re evaluate.
This year I celebrated my 50th birthday and proud of it.
What did you do before HD Brows? / What did an average day consist of?
I am not going to sit here and tell you like some other self-proclaimed brow gurus that my day starts before 6am with my personal trainer and I then enjoy a healthy breakfast bla bla bla. This always makes me laugh. The reality is that I am no different to any other wife, mother and business owner trying to juggle and look after everybody and everything that I love in my life. My day starts enjoying a quiet cup of coffee with my husband around 7am before waking the youngest children. I will then go into my office and answer emails and other items that need to be done before I drop off children at school and go to work or college myself.
At work I will attend to my personal long-term clients and follow up on the progress of the store and the staff. I will usually spend 1-2 days in each store every week. Later afternoon consists of picking up children and taking them to sports, singing lessons, tutoring etc before organising dinner, helping with homework and cleaning up around the house. I will then go back into office for a while before relaxing with my husband for the evening after the children have gone to bed. I work most Saturdays so I usually will catch up with family and friends on Sundays.
How did you get into beauty? / What or when was your big break in HD Brows?
I first entered the beauty industry in 1987 gaining experience in salons before teaching for 5 years at the Melbourne College of Hair & Beauty and providing training for leading skincare brands. I then completed further training in areas of Dermal Therapies and Cosmetic Tattoo and discovered a whole gap in the market for specialty unique beauty treatments. Originally my whole idea was to bring these up-market treatments to the suburbs and make them accessible to my clients.
I found out about HD brows when several of my Irish staff where raving about it. I was intrigued. I did some research, booked my course and was on the next flight to the UK! Consequently, every time these girls travelled home on a holiday, we arranged for them to attend training as well.
I am now currently completing cosmetic nursing so that I can provide injectables into our stores and compliment what we already do. I feel that botox will be complimentary to our brow work especially with brow lifts to create a balanced symmetry
- How has HD Brows changed your life? / What do you love about your job?
I have been able to tie together all my knowledge that I suppose I always had but didn’t really have structure. It also streamlines our procedures and methods to produce great results but more importantly ‘consistent’ results with all our brow girls. It is the most sociable service in the salon compared with other beauty services as there is room for lots of fun and useful interaction. This is important when building business and cementing a loyal following.
- What are the highlights of the past year for you? / What has been your proudest moment since training in HD Brows?
Definitely all the wonderful reviews and comments all the staff receive! I am a proud mum to all the girls that have worked and are working for me, especially when I see their passion and determination.
- In your opinion, what are three traits that can help you be successful in your industry?
- Stay humble, genuine and honest. Never forget that you wouldn’t be where you are if it wasn’t for your clients. Always remember that there are other good operators out there apart from you!
- Always provide great service regardless of any obstacles (personal or other)
- Don’t oversell yourself but always over deliver-Let others sing your praises (not you)
- What are some tips you can give for those who are trying to break into HD Brows?
- Don’t do it if it’s just going to be a job-you must have a passion for it.
- Do not expect that you will be an overnight success, despite what others say. Do not give up on your dream too soon as it takes time. Realistically 3-5 years.
- Don’t try and grab clients by being cheaper, as you will end up with the ones that don’t value you and therefore will be not loyal.
- Showcase your work on social media (not your lifestyle) but don’t just rely on this. I built my business back in the day where social media and the internet didn’t exist so what does that tell you?
- Be available when your clients need you! Many operators think that working for yourself gives you total control and freedom but in reality, it only gives you some flexibility.
- Keep refining and improving your skills so that you can stay ahead of competition.
- What makes your work different from that of others?
Honestly, I really think its because our name and business has been around for so long that we are trusted. We are also not franchised or multi chained which means that customer service is personalised and personable.
Apart from being located in very popular shopping malls, we also have a dedicated brow bar area with luxurious recliners in a private setting. The area is staffed 7 days per week and our clients can come in without an appointment. Staff are well trained with the method during their induction and offer other complimentary services as add-ons. This way clients do not have to go elsewhere to get other beauty treatments done.
- Would you recommend training in HD Brows and why? / What advice would you give to people thinking about completing HD Brows training?
- If you’re going to invest in a brow course-then this is the no.1 global brand!
- If you’re going to do it-do it well and represent the brand in high esteem
- b it’s a great add on to any hair/beauty business as you already have clients
- c Make sure that all your staff performing brow treatments are trained properly
- d great for people wanting to work part time or after hours
By Lillian Nathanael