ONE of the UK’s biggest lash brands is celebrating its first decade after growing from the founder’s back garden into a multi-million pound lash empire.
Julie Butler, from Waterlooville, set up LashBase 10 years ago, two years after starting her own home-based beauty business as a way of getting back into work after raising her children.
She initially became qualified in a range of beauty treatments in 2007, but discovered she had a talent and passion for lash extensions in particular.
She dropped the other treatments to focus on lashes, built up a large clientele and started training budding lash artists.
Being unsatisfied with the products that were on the market at the time she decided to search for and source her own products, including individual eyelash extensions and lash glue.
She set up a lash brand called Kiss Lashes and created branded lash trays and glues, but wasn’t aware that Kiss Cosmetics in the US had been planning to launch a line of false lashes in the UK.
Kiss Cosmetics filed a cease and desist lawsuit against Julie which resulted in her having to bin or relabel all her products and having to hand over the web domain.
After the setback, she re-mortgaged her house, bought a business unit and hired two new members of staff.
Then LashBase was created.
Now, 10 years on, the Waterlooville-based firm has grown into one of the biggest salon supply brands in the UK.
Ellen Walford, who works at the firm said: ‘In 10 years we have achieved a lot, and have gone from 1 home based lash technician to a multi-million pound lash empire – and were only just getting started!’
They now have almost 30 members of staff, eight of which are Julie’s family members, including her sons and husband.
They have bagged several industry awards over the last 10 years, including Best Lash Brand at the National Beauty Awards for three years running as well as Best Lash Brand at the Lux Lifestyle Magazine Awards and Guild Awards of Excellence.
They are now planning on launching even more products.