Blinkbar is extending its eyelash extension concept.After opening Southern California locations in Santa Monica and Los Angeles last year, Blinkbar is riding the lash-lengthening wave with a major expansion that will take it to Beverly Hills and Manhattan Beach this year before reaching New York in the spring with up to three outposts. In five years, it’s expected 55 to 60 Blinkbar locations will blanket the U.S.“We aim to be the Starbucks of eyelash extensions,” said Blinkbar founder Tirzah Shirai. “Before there was a Starbucks, there was coffee on every corner, but Starbucks gave us something we can trust. When we are in New York, London or L.A., we know we can get our latte a certain way. New York has a lot of eyelash extension places, but they don’t have a Blinkbar. What’s lacking in New York is a place that’s trusted.”In a beauty service field crowded by nail salons and blowout specialists, Shirai outlined Blinkbar has several advantages as it spreads: locations cross into the black quickly (she revealed the Santa Monica and L.A. locations were profitable almost immediately), there are steeper barriers to entry with lash extensions than with other beauty businesses to keep competitors from flooding the market, revenues can be substantial (as much as $1.5 million to $2 million annually per location) and full lashes are coveted by a wide variety of women young and old, living in cities and towns, suburbs and urban centers.“If you look at a company like SoulCycle, they have found success in high-level markets, but they are never going to be in Baton Rouge. We get calls from Baton Rouge saying, ‘When are you going to open a Blinkbar here?’ I feel like we have the potential to be in a lot of markets across the board,” said Shirai. Currently, Blinkbar is growing with corporate-owned locations. In a few years, after it penetrates both coasts, Shirai indicated it might consider franchising.Blinkbar’s lash extension technicians go through three months of training to ensure they’re experts in extension application and the more than 300 extension options available at its locations. Blinkbar services are priced at $120 for a basic set of synthetic mink lashes, $200 for silk mink lashes, and $300 for Siberian mink lashes. Memberships or special packages reduce prices for regular customers by around 20 percent.A customer’s first lash extension appointment lasts from 90 minutes to two hours, and Blinkbar advises customers return once or twice every four weeks to refill their lash extensions. Roughly 1,000 women a month visit Blinkbar’s locations in Santa Monica and L.A., and Shirai said about 80 percent of them arrive at its doors due to recommendations from friends, family members or coworkers. The company reports it has a 74 percent customer retention rate.Blinkbar’s two existing locations are 1,200 square feet and 2,550 square feet containing five and 10 beds, respectively. Going forward, the locations will err on the bigger side, ideally with eight to 10 beds each. Shirai cultivated an edgy, yet feminine aesthetic for Blinkbar. To illustrate the design point of view, she noted concrete floors are paired with pink walls. Pink, silver and white are the main colors used. Blinkbar worked with the firm Consort to perfect the look, and Stage 1 Financial to help gird the financial backbone of the business as it rolls out locations.On top of the services, Blinkbar offers an assortment of products including eyelash shampoo, eyelash growth serum and mascara priced from $25 to $89. “Our plan is to be the go-to brand for people who have eyelash extensions,” said Shirai, adding that prestige specialty retail distribution is a goal for Blinkbar’s products. “People really love it because it is one of the only brands out there with products specifically formulated for eyelash extensions.”
In honor the @CFDA’s announcement of @iamnaomicampbell receiving the Fashion Icon Award at the 2018 #CFDAAwards, which will take place on June 4, here’s a #tbt of the supermodel on @michaelkors’ runway in 1991. #wwdfashion #wwdarchive (📷: George Chinsee)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech during @sxsw for @createcultivate in partnership with @fossil. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.