LA Spotlight | Jenelle Paris

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Jenelle Paris

Owner of Lash Affair by J. Paris, this #bosslady founded the company back in 2013, and has been on mission to bring more love to the lash industry. Through innovative products, professional education, and personal customer service, Lash Affair has become a beloved brand by lash artists all over the world!


IG: @jenelleparis

Best way to connect: Email, jenelle@lashaffair.com

Certifications: Bachelors in Psychology | Esthetics Certification | Classic Lash Certification | Multiple Lash Affair Classic and Volume Training

What do you do for fun? 

Yoga and playing with Zoe, our Frenchie. I also love to travel and have new experiences! I love animals, and eventually, I would like to run an animal sanctuary. 

What's your story? 

I was born in Salem, Mass. I've had the desire to work since I can remember and was only 14 when I took my first job. I come from a long line of entrepreneurs; my father owned his own business, so I think it's just in my blood to have my own. I graduated high school at 16 and went to college for psychology. It paid off to have that education because as lash artists we are also like therapists for our clients. At 17, it was my mom who found me a job at a salon & day spa. Working there as a receptionist came so naturally to me and immediately I knew I wanted to play a bigger part in the beauty industry. So, at 20, I went to esthetics school and received my esthetics license & makeup artist certification. After a long journey, I started Lash Affair. 

What was the journey to Lash Affair like? 

After about six years working as a receptionist and front desk manager, I wanted to do more makeup and have more variety in my career, so I began working at MAC Cosmetics. That was fun, and I gained a lot of experience attending MACs intensive trainings. But I soon got tired of working retail, not having flexibility with my schedule, and I missed being in the treatment room. So I decided to apply to one of the most well-known spas in Boston. I got the job and worked there doing facials and waxing for two years, and doing bridal makeup on the weekends. Loving what I was doing, but not having flexibility with my schedule was an issue for me. After two years of building up a consistent and full clientele, I decided to open a studio. 

After work, one day, I met up with my friend who had just got her lashes done, and everything changed. I could see how it made her feel and it made me want that feeling too! Not to mention how stunning they made her look! My first set of lashes was awful though! There was primer dripping into my eye, lashes stuck together, and I was uncomfortable the whole time. There had to be a better way, I thought. So I took a lash class and even though the information wasn't as thorough as I wanted, I fell in love with lash extensions. Soon lash extensions were dominating my schedule. But that was all right with me because I was OBSESSED. 

My studio was thriving, but eventually, I came to a crossroads in my career. I lived in Boston at the time, and my boyfriend, now husband,

lived in CT, so I was driving 1 ½ hours each way to work. I knew it wasn't sustainable or healthy for me, him or my company. I couldn’t keep up with my clientele and the growth of my studio. We travel a lot, so that was a factor too.  All of this added up, so I decided to move full time to CT, branch out and go all the way in building Lash Affair as an eyelash extension brand. I came up with the name Lash Affair because I really felt like lashes were my romantic obsession. I hope to share that love with others through everything we do at Lash Affair. Lash extensions are a feeling; not just a product. Sell the feeling, not the service. WE need to give that impression to people more often. 

If you're thinking, “What happened to all your lash clients?” I didn't abandon them! I referred them to a friend who is a well known and respected lash artist, so they are still in good hands. ;)

What was your biggest fear in starting your own business? 

Definitely, putting myself out there was my biggest fear. I asked things like, "Are they going to like us?" a lot. Investing all of my time and money and not knowing if it will work out was a terrifying thing. It's kind of like throwing a party and wondering if anyone will show up. Ultimately though, you have to do what you feel is right in your heart. I know that life isn’t a perfect photo shoot. I've gone through horrible tragedies; my mother, stepfather, and brother all died within a few years of one another. Because of the devastation that their deaths caused me, I could use it as an excuse to keep me back from pursuing my dreams, but instead, I choose to be motivated, to live everyday to it's fullest and not let the fear of the unknown keep me from my goals.

What sets Lash Affair apart as a company? 

Customer Service. I believe the client experience is everything. If getting one on one help is difficult, the product is inconsistent, or returns are a headache people aren't going to love your brand. That's why this year, we've moved our company, hired more staff and overhauled our website. At Lash Affair, we've thought through every step of the client experience and are constantly listening to client feedback and making upgrades. We truly enjoy sharing the lash love!

Also...I don't think that any company has as cute of a mascot as our Frenchie and Director of First Impressions, Zoe Paris!

What advice do you have for other lash artists? 

Don't put people on a shelf of unattainable achievement. There are some big names and companies in our industry, but playing the games of comparing yourself to them just isn't fair. There is natural talent involved, sure, but their status is mostly due to practice and hard work. If it doesn't motivate you to be better and do more, than comparisons are a waste of your time. As a society, we are setting ourselves up for false expectations. It’s painful. It makes women crazy, and they feel like they aren't enough. That's why we created platforms like the Eyelash Extensions 101 group and the Lash Affair Blog to create spaces for safe conversations and give answers to pressing questions that artists, clients, and students have.

Do you like owning your own business? 

Owning a business is hard, but I love it and wouldn't have it any other way. Getting out there and meeting people is the most gratifying. I love hearing people's stories. There is an exchange there that can never be taken away. Helping people is my number one priority, so hearing about how a product or experience that I contributed to changed something for someone makes my effort worthwhile to me. I also enjoy the aspects of creativity that goes into owning a company. Creative things I like include branding products, taking and editing photos, as well as designing layouts. 

What has this industry done for you? 

This industry has brought a lot of joy through the relationships that I've had the opportunity to develop. I love getting positive feedback. Making an impact in someone's life and career is amazing because I feel like I never got that support as a lash artist, so I love to give that love and support to others. This industry has also shown me that I was spot on in my vision for what I wanted to do. I hope that people will be inspired by my experience to take risks in their life and career, without letting fear stop them.

Who inspires you in business? 

Simon Sinek, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Seth Godin to name a few, but I try to seek inspiration from everyone. Everyone can learn something from anyone if you are open to receive. There’s one thing that Simon said that resonated with me often; he said something like, there is a reason why people have a graduation ceremony. Why not just mail the diploma? Humans want the experience of being recognized and to feel that connection. It's a deep-rooted chemical reaction. We all need connection and to feel like we are part of something. Losing my family put into perspective what I value and what I see as necessary. Relationships are infinitely more valuable than a pair of red-bottomed shoes. Don't get me wrong, I like nice things, but the older I get it's becoming less and less important. The happiest I am is when I get to connect with people, play with my dog, working out, and just living life. Lash Affair was created with a passion for that human connection and providing individuals with the tools to succeed; that attitude goes into every product, training, and event that we create.

Jenelle was recently featured in the newest edition of Eye|Lash Magazine. Check out the full piece HERE!

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