MEET VICTORIA CARTAGENA
Esthetician, owner of Adore You Esthetics
San Diego, CA
Congratulations to our June Lash Artist of the Month, Victoria! She entered into our Back to Work Lash Artist of the Month contest and caught our eye with some fluffy volume. Victoria loves this industry and is stoked about being our LAM for June. Go follow her on social, and show her some love!
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO CONNECT WITH YOU?
Instagram is the quickest way to connect with me! You can also go to adoreyouesthetics.com to book an appointment with me. Social media has been a game changer for my business and is how I communicate and link up with everyone.
WHERE DO YOU WORK?
I am a solo artist at my business, Adore You Esthetics. My boyfriend is a barber, and I started out by sharing a studio with him. Eventually his business outgrew the studio, so he moved into a storefront, and I had the opportunity to take over the entire space for my business. I did the math, and I would have had to pay the same amount for booth rent anyway, so I went for it! I really wanted to thrive on my own and see how I would do by myself. I love my comfy space - it’s created for my clients to come and just vibe out in.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN LASHING AND WHAT CERTIFICATIONS DO YOU HAVE?
I’ve been lashing since 2018, so actually 2 years next month! I’m 4x certified in classic, volume, and mega volume, and always looking for ways to expand. I want to have no boundaries and no limits in the kind of art I can create.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A LASH ARTIST? WHAT GOT YOU INTO LASHING?
I was living in the bay area working in accounting at Tesla. I was a part of a round of layoffs and I remember never wanting to feel that way again. I had been getting my lashes done religiously and seeing my therapist at the same time. Mia, my lash artist, trained me in my first classic course after I moved to San Diego. She heavily encouraged me to become a lash tech and I’m so glad I did.
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR GOING INTO THIS INDUSTRY?
Definitely getting started. Entrepreneurship already has plenty of challenges of its own, let alone starting a business in a new industry. The really cool thing about the lash community is that I was greeted with open and welcoming arms. Once I saw where I fit into this picture, I realized I wasn’t supposed to do exactly what everyone else was doing, rather I needed to find what was working for me and run with it. Once I found my groove, more clients started finding me and coming in! I think it’s inevitable that all new lash artists compare themselves to others, and I learned quickly I had to throw that out the window and do my own thing.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ASPECT OF BEING A LASH ARTIST?
Designing the life that I love. Literally. I get to design everything from the lashes, to the workplace, the brand, everything. Lashing is my life. It allows me the freedom to set my own schedule. When I was working a 9-5, I was constantly dragging my feet. With lashing, I’ve never had a moment where I was upset going into work. This is something I’ve never felt before.
OTHER THAN LASHING, WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HOBBY?
Hmmm, hobby, what’s that? Lashing is just what I do - it's literally my life’s work. When I’m not in the studio lashing, my hobbies are yoga and fitness. I also love to spend time at home with my family, and my French Bulldog Belly, he’s my world! I make sure to schedule time for self care, and I love that time too.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A NEW LASH ARTIST?
Everyone probably says the same thing, so at risk of sounding cliche, I would tell them to only focus on themselves, and definitely to reach out to others. The lash community is there for you! Everyone is so open armed and willing to help you out when you’re starting out. There’s not a ton of cattiness like in some other industries, and people are so welcoming and happy to help. At first it’s easy to have a scarcity mindset where you compare yourself to others. Don’t get trapped in your own mindset! Even if you’re facing some competition, you’re going to have to figure things out on your own. Everyone brings special traits to the table, so don’t be afraid to create your own identity. It’s fine to get inspiration from others, and take pieces from that, but never replicate the same thing someone else is doing.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING TO ACCOMPLISH IN THE LASH INDUSTRY?
I’ve thought about this a lot, actually. I don’t envision myself wanting a salon or any employees. I definitely want to build a product line with my brand and would love to have a few brand ambassadors to share my brand in their own ways. Lash Affair was one of the main companies I got involved with at first and your brand ambassadors stand out! I met you guys at the Lash Affair event, and thought you were such a good role for this community! There were two other girls at the table I sat at who were from San Diego. To this day I am still connected with both of them, and they’ve both given me tips on building a clientele and were super helpful. I want to be a part of that kind of community and collaboration in this industry.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR INSPIRATIONS?
It may sound cheesy, but to be fully transparent, my boyfriend Jaime. (Follow him at @divine.theory on IG!) He was already an entrepreneur when I started lashing. He’s taught me, helped me, and given me a platform along the way. It’s incredible to see him having a storefront from where he started. His business sense kicks in better than mine a lot of times, and I look to him for advice. I really respect his opinion! He’s kinda like my secret weapon, I’m not gonna lie.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY YOU’VE FOUND TO GAIN AND RETAIN YOUR CLIENTS?
Word of mouth has literally been the biggest way for me to gain new clients. Social media helps, but there is no referral like a word of mouth referral. I come from a corporate and retail background, where the customer is always right, and to give them what they want. Thankfully with that past experience, my customer service is pretty on point with my clients and I keep them happy. I’m very attentive to their needs, and treat everyone as a human first, and lash client second. I’m really open in conversing with them, and have built some great relationships. Of course, I’ve had to go through the inevitable of dealing with some not so pleasant people, but I’m very lucky to have my dream clientele now.
WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM OTHER LASH ARTISTS? WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
I’ve always seen myself as “one of the girls”, so that’s tricky. One thing that helps me stand out is that I tap into my authenticity to create and cultivate connection with my clients. At the end of the day, my business is a reflection of who I am- sometimes I think I’m a little too transparent, but I can’t apologize for that because I am unapologetically myself. I'm a fast learner, but I need to learn to marinate in each level a little bit. I want to earn more certifications in the industry, and learn more about business. I’d like to get more into how to curate my IG feed and add more to myself as a business woman, and to my skills. I feel like I’m still in the humble beginning stages, and there is still so much for me to strive for. I have been looking into vendors to start my product line, start sampling products, and been staying focused on growing my following.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LASH AFFAIR PRODUCT?
Hands down, the Lash + Brow Growth Serum! The packaging is of course amazing, and it creates results! Clients send me texts all the time, “hey this is totally working for me”! It’s one extra step to add to their routine that makes them feel like they’re a winner. The fact that it’s extension safe too is bomb - anything to keep the natural lashes healthy and stronger is a win in my book!
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!