Let's just firstly mention that this is NOT a sop story. This is an inspiring, look at her go, make shit go right- kind of story that we want to share with the hopes that it motivates you and inspires YOU to persist and push through whatever BS that you have going on in your own life.
Sooooo, from the very beginning.
A lot of us are aware that when Covid happened, shit hit the fan. But it was more sudden for all International and National airlines who had to let go of 400,000 employees worldwide. Insane. This left our kind, cheerful flight attendants jobless overnight.
Shayla, a beautiful Quantas flight attendant, was one of these unfortunate employees in this position. Whilst it could have been easy and understandable to go into a deep mental slump, she instead, figured out what to do next. LASHES.
Here's how she breaks down her experience...
PRIOR EXPERIENCE IN THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY?
I had no experience in the beauty industry at all. Just my own hair and makeup to be well presented and groomed while in uniform. Being female, I feel like we all have beauty interest in some way. It becomes interesting to me and easy to want to learn these things.
THE STEPS I TOOK TO BEGIN
To begin. I always knew I wanted to eventually do lashes especially once having children. It was in the back of my mind and just a far away vision. As I could work around my family and not have to travel away for work to earn some sort of income. I just never had that push to start.
The day I turned up to work, it was all over the news that 90% of Qantas staff was to be stood down. I had 45 minutes between being told in my pre-flight briefing that I wasn't going to be working for a VERY LONG TIME and passengers boarding the aircraft had to head to LAX. It sucked, don't get me wrong. I was heartbroken. I did cry a little or maybe a lot. I knew I had 15 hours to process the news and I had 45 minutes with phone reception.
DON'T THINK, DO:
I jumped online and ordered a ring light, a bed, practice mannequin head and sent off an enquiry to do a course in Eyelash Extensions with multiple lash companies to complete my certificate. I had a mortgage to pay and no time to waste.
That flight was empty. Not with passengers, it was packed with passengers, but my soul felt empty. I didn't have my support people and my mind was in 'lala land'. I was a space cadet.
People would ask me for a tea or coffee and I remember asking them 3 times which one it was because my mind was elsewhere. I wasn't the only one feeling this my whole crew were in the same boat.
In crew rest (our bunk beds), I didn't sleep in my 3hr break. Instead I began to overthink. I dwelled and wished I was home. I opened my phone and I had screenshot the blog from Locks Lash on "Step by Step of how to open a home-based lash business"
So I started reading, brainstorming and planning my new future. I got up from my "rest" not sad or flat, but driven and motivated for my next steps.
By the time I came home a few days later, our country was about to be shut down. All in-person courses stopped in their tracks due to COVID19. I researched and Youtubed and I played with practise lashes on my mannequin, my arm hairs and my fiancé..
My original plan was to open in April. With all the shut downs, I thought it's just not meant to be. I am not meant to start anything. I tried to talk myself out of it and say that 'it was a sign from the universe not to follow through with lashing'.
When the news broke that beauty was allowed to reopen in the coming weeks, I was right back on the bandwagon. I pulled up all my enquiry emails. I looked at whose response I liked best and got on the phone.
I rang Locks Lash (THE BEST THING I DID). The girls I spoke to were HUMAN! No automated script, or trying to sell you something you don't need or want. They were fun, relaxed and genuine. I knew right there and then these were the people I wanted to do my course with.
Once I finally did my course in early June, I loved every second of it. I didn't want the day to end. Grade A student and I hated school. It was fun, factual and interesting. It wasn't all roses though, because holy shit, it's harder than you think.
None of my friends wanted to sign up for free lashes. (I don't really blame them). I did 3 people; my mum, my sisters' friend and someone I met over socials.
I was signed off quite early for my certificate (all that practise on my arm hairs paid off ha!) and so I then posted in a local community page for $50 lashes. I was honest and straight up: "Hi I'm Shayla. I'm a flight attendant. I've lost my job. Ive decided to open my own business but I need your help. I need to practise. I've done my course, I've registered my business and I need all shapes and sizes to build a profile and if you're interested then let me know."
IF YOU BUILD, THEY WILL COME:
The response was OVERWHELMING.
40 + women signed up. Even people that didn't want lashes themselves sent some really incredible messages of support. I had no shows, people that wanted expert lashes for $50 & I had some real strange people. Overall I was so moved by the response of the community.
JUST KEEP SWIMMING:
Yes, I've had lashes that didn't last a day. Yes, I've glued people's eyes together. Yes, I've dropped tweezers on their head and yes I've had times that I really wanted to give up. But I actually wouldn't change ANY of that. I laugh about it now. But I learnt from it!! I never gave up. I'm constantly working on bettering myself. Everybody starts somewhere and when setbacks happen, they're just preparing you to do better next time.
3 months on and now it's a breeze. I've found my groove and I'm nearly at capacity with my regular clients where I won't be able to take on new clients. I don't really advertise anymore because it's now mainly just word of mouth. All the stress, confusion, heartache paid off.
MY MENTALITY THROUGH IT?
I am a lucky person that is blessed with external confidence. Although absolutely dying inside (like fetal position), mentally I was a mess but I didn't let it show.
I had no flipping idea how I was going to pull this off. Come on.. all I knew was to arm/disarm an aircraft door, do a little lifejacket dance and smile at people who I actually wanted to throat punch 😂 I was petrified. I was vulnerable and scared and was so nervous that I was going to throw myself into something that possibly wouldn't be for me. I did have the fear of failing but I knew I just had to try.. I had nothing to lose in the big picture.
I was actually surprised the amount of support I got from the people around me and my community for not sitting there feeling sorry for myself with setbacks. But taking them in my stride and going for it. You have to crawl before you can walk.
DID I LIKE THE INCOME?
I am happy with the income I am earning. Once I got faster, I was earning money quicker! Once I put my prices up I nearly fell over.
POST COVID PLANS: FLYING OR LASH TECH?
I actually fell in love with my clients. So the answer is yes to both. I will return to flying if the world ever lets me. Although on a part-time basis, I will continue to run my business from home. Because I love that I can earn $$ from the comfort of my own home.
IF I COULD GIVE SOMEONE ELSE ADVICE FROM THIS EXPERIENCE...
- What do you honestly have to lose? Regardless if it's something you pursue full time, part-time causally or not at all, you still learnt something. Knowledge is a powerful thing. Learn to enjoy change & challenges because it will open you to a whole new world you never knew existed.
- Talk to your clients. They aren't just coming for your work. They're coming for you. Learn about them, their family and their life and build a relationship with them beyond lashes/beauty or whatever your service is.
- BACK YOURSELF! You need to be your number 1 fan. YOU'VE GOT THIS 💜
From Shayla, your fellow lash technician xo