Aspiring Entrepreneur: Meet Athena Jean NardoBuilding up her own business from scratch
With all her attention focused on the illuminated mannequin in front of her, senior Athena Jean Nardo practices her lashing techniques with the utmost precision as she carefully picks at a newly placed false eyelash with her trusty tweezer to ensure it is symmetrically lined up with the other lashes. Only being a lash technician for a few months, Nardo is determined to improve and become a better businesswoman. “I was so used to doing my own eyelashes that I wanted to start learning how to do it on others and it created a way to make people like how they look,” Nardo said.
Once just a customer in the world of eyelashing, senior Athena Jean Nardo like most people, visited a cosmetic professional to get her lashes done. Now, Nardo is the professional and is currently the boss of her own business that is growing every day.
“Transitioning from a customer to an actual lash technician has helped since I know how it feels to be a customer so I can relate to them,” Nardo said. “You need to have an understanding of each other to be a good lash tech.”
As a freshman, Nardo often had her lashes done by technicians and realized how much it could change a client’s self-confidence.
“After they get their lashes done, they are like ‘Oh my gosh I look so pretty,’” Nardo said. “And I like how they compliment themselves. It makes me feel better because I did that to their lashes.”
Since May, Nardo has been running her home business and relies on Instagram to gather most of her clients.
“Building up the basic network grounds you,” Nardo said. “If one girl posts your work on Instagram, another one of their friends will go up to you and ask you to do their lashes so that is a big part of your own business.”
“We have to know the basic rules of being a lash tech, like safety for the client as in not getting glue on their eyes or poking them,” Nardo said. “It isn’t required but to be respected in the industry you’d have to be certified in some way. It’s a course with 30+ sections learning the basics such as hair, health, basics of glue and isolation. ”
Her responsibilities do not stop there and like most businesswoman, Nardo must constantly be on the prowl for new clients and advice.
“Networking is one of the hardest parts because if you don’t have any people to lash you don’t get as much business,” Nardo said. “I like communicating with other people and being able to offer them my services.”
With all these duties and pressure, it is easy to become discouraged. Nardo is expected by her clients to perform perfectly which can be overwhelming especially when she has only been a lash technician for a few months.
“A point in time I had trouble was when I had just started advertising my work and I started getting clients. One of the biggest things that gave me doubt about my ability to lash was the speed it took to finish the lashes,” Nardo said. “I used to take about 4-5 hours each set when I first started but I learned now that lashing really is about patience. I will get faster as time progresses.”
Still, Nardo has the support of those around her to not only help run her business but to encourage her whether it’s through advice or a simple reassurance.
“My boyfriend, he’s done a lot, including helping me with just payments of simple supplies and telling me to keep on going whenever I feel down about myself as a lash tech,” Nardo said. “The lash community is also full of ladies that have experienced the same exact thing I’ve experienced so they give me advice about techniques I would’ve never thought about or ways to work on my lashing. They’re very supportive.”
While most students are not fond of distance education, it has been a blessing for Nardo’s business.
“I think being online makes it easier because it’s more versatile and we have more time than physical school,” said Nardo. “Honestly I just take managing everything day by day. I have way more than school and my lash business but I acknowledge what I have to do and I tackle it one step at a time.”
Being a lash tech isn’t the only thing on Nardo’s mind as she plans to become a better entrepreneur.
“I’m very proud to be an entrepreneur because it gives me the ability to do whatever I want to without worry. If I want to build up a business, I will do it and run it to the best of my own ability. An entrepreneur was all I wanted to do ever since I was little,” said Nardo.
Through it all, her mission remains the same, to help others love and express themselves more whether it’s through their own personality or her expertise, lashing .
“Self-confidence really is an issue for some people and if my business helps that other person than my goal is complete,” Nardo said. “That is my favorite part because I just love seeing them appreciate themselves.”