Lash Artist of the Month: Kathryn Leeman
"After 13 years, I still love lashes and am very honored and grateful to my ever enduring family for their ongoing support"
1. What is your story?
I originally trained and worked as a laboratory technician for Agriculture companies for many years before getting married and having our beautiful daughter, Sharaé. After finding it challenging to work around family, I decided to change career paths to the beauty industry, where I could find flexibility working from home.
Not knowing how to run a business and a new family was a challenging, balancing act. But I'm glad I've stuck with as it's helped me learned many lessons in life.
My lash obsession started back in 2005, where one of my nail enhancement clients asked me if I would be interested in doing lash extensions. She felt I had attention to detail and was patient. However, after starting out I didn’t think this was the case at all. I hated it. I asked myself: "what was I thinking?" Now I have learned to love the art. My client believed in me so much that she paid for my course and kit in advance and I paid her back in installments. She assured me she had faith in my abilities and wanted to see more women have the chance to succeed in business. I didn’t want to let her down. So I worked hard to get it right. I'm so grateful to have had someone have faith in me from the very beginning. So much faith that she invested in me. So I thank Debbie Rayner from Mint Settlements, my client, my friend and my business mentor for being where I am today.
Back in 2006, there wasn’t much info on lash enhancements or products. We learned everything the hard way. There were only 3 sizes (long, longer and the comb over length), a lot of the time I hand trimmed the extensions before using them to get the look and length we wanted. I also learned from each and every client that walked through the door about how to create a lash style and how to make the whole experience comfortable and pain free. Something that we were not taught in a one day training session.
My hobbies at the moment include lashes. No surprises there! I love photographing eyes/lashes and then creating art pieces using graphics. I also love studying animals, part of my laboratory courses involved marine biology. This is where I was inspired to take up scuba diving and start up a small salt water aquarium housing octopus, I adore these guys. One of the most interesting and intelligent creatures to befriend.
2. What is your favorite thing about being a lash artist?
The complete finish result is my favorite part. I like to say that it's a labour of love.
3. What’s your favorite aspect of your job?
I have always been a homed based studio. I've always felt that it shouldn't matter where you work from, as long as my primary focus is to be as professional as a high end salon in all aspects of my business. Providing the highest standards in customer service, lash art and salon environment. I love helping women feel good about themselves.
Not only do they come and relax in my lash room but I help them look and feel like they can take on the world when they step out my door. I also love that extensions can make our daily life routine just a little bit easier. You get to wake up feeling pretty without the hustle. I also enjoy designing a style that works specifically for them. I believe it’s more like art than work.
4. Do you edit or filter your photos? What’s your favorite app for pics?
Apart from cropping a photo, I may edit the photo if it's too dark. I just use the lighting app to brighten the photo and reduce shadows. Sometimes, I will edit blemishes or enhance the sharpness of a photo. I don't use filters very often. My go to photo editor app is live collage.
5. What advice would you give a new lash artist?
There is so many great trainers/training academy's , conferences and products now a days that you can fast track your business with less hassles. What took me 10years with no help and learning the hard way, you can do so much easier now.
-Don't give up
-Have faith in your abilities
-Sometimes the fear won't go away. So you'll have to do it afraid.
-Keep taking note of where you have come from and where you are today. You'll surprise yourself by how far you have progressed.
-Be true to yourself.
-Only look for people who are positive mentors
-Continually update your training, its the only way you can be on top of your business
-And whatever you do, do not compare yourself to anyone continually challenge yourself
6. What was your first experience with lashes?
Unfortunately, it was not a good one. During the procedure, they used glad wrap for under eye patches and they moved it around a lot to try and keep it in place but it kept going in my eyes and was very uncomfortable and it stung the entire time. The lashes were very uncomfortable to wear. There was no instructions on aftercare. After two days, I had blisters along the lash line that I ended up removing myself. Needless to say, I had no lashes for 4 months and it made me think "who the heck would want these and why do I want to do this as a job." I made it my mission to learn from that and to never do that on my clients
7. Who are some of your inspirations?
I have fallen in love with quite a few artists over the years! A few of them are: Trina Dial Horne, Tammy from Redlash studio, Tanja Nicklaus, Kelly Storer, Rachel Bridges, Kerstin Kaluza fantasy, Mimmi from Lashia, and Sonja Bogesch
8. What has this industry done for you?
I never would have believed I could achieve the things have. This industry has helped me step out of my comfort zone and has blessed me in so many different ways. From being part of fantasy shoots, to winning Mid West state business and International lash artistry awards, to being invited to judge Australia's first live fantasy competition and being featured in Magazines worldwide. After 13 years, I still love doing lashes and am very honored and grateful to my ever enduring family for their ongoing support. I am also grateful for all my faithful clients, lash sisters , friends and mentors for helping me to get to where I am today. I feel truly blessed.
Become our next Lash Artist of the Month! To enter, make sure to follow us on Instagram at @lashaffairbyjp. Look for the LAM photo and follow the instructions in the description. Good luck and happy lashing!