Olivia Sternerup, Berkshire native — now lash technician — is a master at glamorizing the windows to your soul.
At the young age of 25, Sternerup has created and built her eyelash extension business, called Livy Lashes, from the ground up.
The cosmetic industry is among the fastest-growing sector with millennials to date.
Eyelash extensions started appearing in the beauty industry in the early 2000s and include using lash adhesive to secure them on the top of each individual lash until the client’s desired look is achieved.
Lash extensions provide a permanent makeup look, allowing clients to walk out the door with less time to get ready.
The eyelash extension business, now having revenue of about 300 million dollars within the last two years, is popular among beauty tycoons and celebrities worldwide.
Sternerup has always been a beauty lover, and, after getting laid off because of COVID-19, she had to find a creative way to make a living.
“I was watching Youtube videos and I stumbled upon YouTuber Danielle Mount, a Canadian eyelash tech, who hosted an entire Youtube series on the ins and outs of the industry.
She didn’t just talk about the extensions process. She also talked a lot about the business side of things and how she transitioned from her full-time job to working for herself as an independent lash tech,” said Strernerup.
Sternerup went on to get certified as a lash technician and for the first year, worked part-time doing lashes on her family and friends.
Becoming a lash technician is like any other apprenticeship; after perfecting your craft, you can build a successful career in that trade.
“When I got laid off from my job after the pandemic hit, it was a wake-up call to put all my energy into this skill and create a full-time business for myself,” commented Sternerup.
A brand-new businesswoman, Sternerup taught herself all about advertising and playing around with what media worked best for her clientele.
To kick off her business Sternerup used Instagram and Facebook paid advertising.
This attracted the most clientele for her, usually young girls or eyelash newcomers.
“I was so new at this skill that what helped me was keeping my prices lower, to match my experience level, and to use Facebook and Instagram because that’s what people use most now.
Now I can keep my loyal clients while being able to raise my prices as I have been running my business for about a year,” said Sternerup.
Sternerup doesn’t currently hold a college degree, going against the grain of a stereotypical notion that you need to be college-educated to succeed and make money in a given profession.
College is expensive and not practical in certain situations as it once was, pushing entrepreneurs like Sternerup to let their passions make them a living.
There are aspects of college that teach you unique skills.
For example, many people with a business degree have learned valuable skills that can guide them to start a business, but many people don’t know that you can obtain much of that information for free.
“There are so many free resources out there that coach you on starting a business that talk about budgeting, tax, and other financing information,” said Sternerup.
Sternerup talks about the valuable lessons that come with trial and error in starting a new business, allowing for failure by allowing yourself to constantly keep your eyes open and learn from others in the field.
“Nobody who starts a business executes it 100 percent perfectly. Whether you hold a master’s degree or an MBA or nothing at all, nobody starts perfectly. It’s about having an idea and tweaking it, then testing it to see what is working and what is lacking,” says Sternerup.”
After years of being a lash technician, Sternerup is now holding classes and teaching the skill to others to help them start their education and become lash technicians themselves.
In order to become a certified lash technician, a lash artist needs to fulfill various state regulations and requirements. These requirements differ from state to state.
Sternerup allows her students to start practicing the procedure, which takes years to truly perfect, as they work to attain their certification.
“I am at this point now where I have so many clients and not a lot of time in my schedule to take on more clients. I concluded that my skill is a valuable skill, and I can create more opportunities and make more money teaching my skill,” says Sternerup.
In the future, Sternerup plans to expand her lash business to a storefront as an upgrade from the small studio she is in now.
Sternerup plans to eventually build a team of lash technicians that will work under her.
This will allow her to travel by hosting her classes in many different areas to make learning this skill an option for people who want to start their lash careers.
Sternerup concluded by stating, “I am passionate about my craft and women in the role of entrepreneurship. Doing lashes has changed my life to establish my career and become MY boss, and I wanted to give other women the same opportunity.”
To schedule an appointment with Olivia you can reach her on Instagram or call her at (413)-347-0847.