The Story Of LashBase and the woman behind the brand.
If you’ve been a LashBase lover for a while, then you’ll probably know us best for the products we sell or our training academy. But you may not know the woman behind the brand: Julie Butler.
Julie Butler is the CEO and Founder of LashBase, to say Julie has achieved a lot in the past 12 years does not give credit to her journey. And in our opinion (although we’re a little bias) we think she’s someone worth shouting about. So, in today’s blog post we thought we would provide a little insight into how Julie has built the LashBase brand from her back garden to the international business it is today.
The story starts just over 12 years ago. Like some other mothers, once her sons left school, Julie started to feel redundant. Knowing she needed to do something for herself, she enrolled in several beauty courses, one being lash extensions. Her plan was to work from home on a part-time basis offering beauty services for a bit of extra money. However, in a very short space of time she was working 9 am-9 pm 7 days a week just doing lash extensions, and it soon became her passion.
At this time eyelash extensions were in their infancy and there were not many places to be able to get supplies from and they were also very expensive. Julie couldn't understand how these items were as much as they were, so with a good business head, she decided to start researching to see if she could improve on prices. Initially, she intended this to be for her own benefit. Then a local beauty school asked her if she would be interested in becoming a trainer for them. Excited by the prospect she agreed and went to college to gain a teaching certification, so she could share her knowledge and passion with others.
When training Julie would advise on where her students could purchase their supplies from and thought it would be a good idea for students to be able to take a kit away with them with everything they would need to get started. And so, it began, happy with the products she’d tested she bought in enough supplies to supply starter kits to her students. However, her clients slowly started to run out of products in their kits, and Julie realized she needed to get more stock. The demand was there so she made the decision to supply.
Julie knew that her decision to supply meant something had to go, and with a heavy heart she knew that this would be her clients. Although her clients were disappointed, they understood and some still buy from LashBase today.
And this is when LashBase was born.
But what you might not know is when the business started 10 years ago it was actually called ‘Kiss Lashes’. Kiss Lashes had only been trading for a year when it hit a potentially business ending issue. Whilst still running her new business from home, Julie had a knock at the door. It was a solicitor, hand-delivering a cease and desist letter. Little did she know, Kiss Cosmetics, a US brand known for nail products, had just received a contract from Boots to stock their new strip lash range. They had applied for the trademark only 2 months before Julie. Which meant that she had no leg to stand on. She had to hand over the website, relabel or destroy the products and was not allowed to use the name Kiss Lashes anymore.
How LashBase got its name
It was actually Julie's husband Tony, who created the name ‘LashBase’. Julie asked Tony the question, “What can I call my new business?”. Tony replied, “well what is it you will be selling?”. “Everything that a lash technician could ever need to have a career in the industry,” Julie said. And what followed is the moment that the name LashBase was first ever spoken. Tony said, “Well, I like to go to a place that stocks everything home and DIY related, and it’s called HomeBase, so why not go with LashBase?”.
Back in 2013, LashBase hit another setback when one of the cleaners started to go through office files and steal manufacturing information. She was then passing this information on to her daughter so that she could start her own brand. Julie was none the wiser until the daughter launched her brand 1 mile down the road with identical products. It’s safe to say that the cleaner was swiftly sacked and her daughter's lash brand that opened 1 mile away with identical products did not last longer than 2 years.
Like every business, LashBase has experienced many ups and downs but today, we are proud to be the most successful lash extension brand in the UK with multiple awards for product quality and customer service. What many don't know is that LashBase is a family business with 8 members of the Butler family on the books (one being LashBase_Jamie – you might have heard of him!). Julie knows the importance of product quality which is why everything LashBase stocks has thought and hard work put into it. Julie knows where her products come from, how they are made and that they meet all beauty regulations.
LashBase goes to the USA
After the success of launching and running LashBase Ltd for 10 years in the UK. The LashBase brand has come across the pond and has now launched stateside. LashBase Inc launched in March from Atlanta, Georgia and Julie and the team will be working hard to continue to make this a success.
We hope you have enjoyed getting to know our CEO and Founder and learning more about the story behind LashBase. We thought we would end this post with some advice from Julie herself:
“The best lesson I've learned from a young age is the importance to work hard and don't expect to get things handed on a plate. If you want anything in life you must be prepared to work for it. If I get knocked down, I get up fighting twice as hard”.