As a mother of five with a full-time job, Theresa Ani “took the plunge” without hesitation and started up her online store, LuxxeLashes – even if that meant riskily quitting her full-time day job and putting her physical health in danger. Read on to learn how Theresa is steadily growing her ecommerce business while balancing health, children, and relationships.
Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you sell at LuxxeLashes.
My name is Theresa Ani and I’m a 26-year-old, mother of 5 from Oahu, Hawaii. I’ve been in the makeup industry for 5 years and I’ve worked for Bare Essentials and Mac Cosmetics. I’ve always had a passion for makeup and all things glam. Doing makeup for weddings, proms, girls night out or just for fun became my obsessive hobby and lashes were my key ingredient to completing every look.
This is a true story, I used to be a sales supervisor for a little boutique here in Hawaii called “Jeans Warehouse” and one day the buyers from the mainland came to visit our store in Waianae. I was there during the meet-and-greet and one of the buyers turned to me and asked me, “if you could bring something in the store that you know the girls would love; what would it be?” I immediately responded with “FALSE LASHES!!!” I was 19 at the time and lashes were my obsession. My cousin Letty had gotten some from her mom, but she never wore them so she gave them to me – and boy were they life changing! Soon Jeans Warehouse began selling false lashes and adhesive. I was disappointed however because they were really cheap quality. They were uncomfortable and were made of plastic material.
Fast forward to today. I began researching lash manufacturers and found one that sold all different types of material including luxurious cruelty-free 100% Siberian Mink fur. I decided to choose this company and began designing my label. I wanted lashes of all types of material and sizes to accommodate every beauty guru. From drag queens to the girl next door, I wanted a lash for everyone. And I wanted them to be cute and affordable. So here it is – LuxxeLashes. We sell mink, silk, human hair, synthetic hair, duo lash glue, lash applicators and mirrors. Soon to be selling a lot more merchandise.
When did you get started selling online? Why?
I launched my website on March 1, 2016 at exactly 8:00am. I had to go to work at my full-time job right after and I swear it felt like I had jumped off of a cliff. I had anxiety and panic attacks at work all day. I thought, what am I doing? I can’t check my site to make sure things were going well or anything?! I was crazy for doing this, but it had to be done. I was doing this alone with no guidance or advice whatsoever. So basically, I was just winging it. Fortunately for me, I have a pretty good support system so I felt secure to just jump right in. Hawaii is also a very expensive place to live, let alone rent a commercial property – so an online store was, of course, the next best thing.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in building and running LuxxeLashes?
This question is the most important to me and the most relevant at the moment. My biggest challenge is being a full-time employee, full-time mother, full-time girlfriend, and full-time business owner. I was juggling so much that I actually became physically sick and was rushed to the emergency room. I was diagnosed with exhaustion and dehydration (I didn’t even know that existed)! I was immediately treated and was warned to take better care of my health. The next day I followed up with my doctor and he jokingly said “Who do you think you are? Superwoman?!” I laughed and told him “Yes, as a matter of fact; I am!” But all jokes aside, I knew he was right and I needed to re-evaluate my priorities. I had to give something up to save my sanity. But I didn’t want to give up my business. I’ve worked so hard and invested so much; I thought “there is no turning back now”.My doctor jokingly said 'Who do you think you are? Superwoman?!' @LuxxeLashes Click To Tweet
I hated my job – I was miserable and needed out so I could focus on my business, but I was stuck with fear that I needed to keep my job for the security of paychecks. So here I was. I had reached my breaking point which I think all entrepreneurs go through, letting go of their fear. So I just took the plunge and quit my full-time job to fulfill my dreams full-time! My last day was on July 29, 2016. And now I’m about to face my biggest challenge ever. I’ve teamed up with a close friend of mine and decided to freelance makeup in her salon and open a storefront for my lashes. This will be a big challenge because I will need to get people to walk through the door and spread the word about my company.
How do you attract new customers?
Right now, we are solely relying on social media and word of mouth. Things are going at a steady place but were hoping to pick up the pace in the next few months.
Can you share a tip or something interesting you learned in the process of building and running LuxxeLashes?
Create a plan. That is the best advice I can give. Make sure you know exactly what your goals are and how you will work to achieve them. Winging it like I did in the beginning is very stressful and not good for your health. I am still learning and growing in this industry, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for LuxxeLashes.Make sure you know exactly what your goals are and how you will work to achieve them. @LuxxeLashes Click To Tweet
If you’re in search of high-quality false lashes and accessories, check out LuxxeLashes today!