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Tirzah Shirai founded BlinkBar after seeing a need to be met in the lash industry. They quickly rose to the top of the lash industry due to their consistency, excellent branding, and smart business strategy. Tirzah is definitely a boss babe to look up to in more ways than one! Continue reading below to discover why she calls herself an "accidental entrepreneur", content creation tips, advice for aspiring business owners, and more.
Hi Tirzah! Please tell us about yourself and your background.
I was born and raised in Canada; I moved to LA about ten years ago and found myself drawn into filmmaking. I consider myself an accidental entrepreneur. I never really set out to start a business, I just saw a need that wasn't being met. I wanted eyelash extensions to enhance a women's natural beauty, and be custom fit for her lifestyle.
You took an unorthodox route from directing films to entrepreneurship. What made you take the leap, and what were some things from your directing career that translated over to starting BlinkBar?
Great question. As a director, you are working on executing the vision you have into reality while working with a team who are experts in their specific skill set. When it all comes together in a very magical way, you get to finally see this vision that only existed previously in your head. It's a fascinating process. Being an entrepreneur is precisely the same except instead of a script you are executing a business vision. The idea for BlinkBar started with a need not being met. When we first opened in 2015, there were only a handful of eyelash offerings. There was mostly a single technician in a room, and the results were not consistent. I saw an opportunity for the Starbucks of eyelash extensions. I wanted a brand that you could trust no matter where you were in the world...NY, LA or Paris. Also, the results coming from these places looked too artificial to me. I wanted something more natural, something that was more a celebration of effortless beauty.
BlinkBar is the frontrunner in the lash industry. What do you think has attributed to your success and has allowed Blinkbar to stand out among the rest?
Consistency and more choices that are custom made for our client's lifestyles have helped us stand out in the industry. Before BlinkBar, you had no idea what you were going to get. I like to use the Starbucks analogy. Before there was Starbucks, there was different coffee shops on every corner, but Starbucks they gave us consistency...a brand we could trust. We aim to be that in the eyelash world.
Entrepreneurship is no easy road. Can you tell us about any hurdles you faced when starting your company? What has been your proudest moment as a business owner so far?
That is something I feel is not talked about as much as it should be! As a young entrepreneur, it can be so discouraging; you think you are doing something wrong because you have problems. It's key to stay patient and realize that everything takes twice as long as you want it to. I make it a point to always share all my resources to others that ask how I started a business. My proudest moment is that moment when a client opens her eyes and feels beautiful. Eyelash extensions enhance your natural beauty that is already there. I also love knowing I have provided a lot of opportunities for people.
How have you used branding to cater to your clients and how has it led to your overall customer experience and success?
As women we spend a lot of our time caring for others, at BlinkBar we want you to feel taken care of from the moment you enter the door. We lead busy lives, and our minds are often racing with things we have to do. We wanted a clean, modern, yet soft space that instantly makes you feel relaxed and expansive. And then, of course, the neon for that pop. We also considered Instagram when designing the space.
What are your tips when it comes to creating and curating content and strategically using user-generated content from your clients?
We always love authentic content, and usually choose to share pics that go with our overall esthetics. We love celebrating all women, and we want our clients to know that they are important to us. We often feature clients on our Instagram Stories, as they are constantly tagging our Instagram worthy space!
How important would you say Instagram has been in bringing you, new clients? How have social media planning tools like PLANOLY helped you and your team stay on top of your Instagram game?
Instagram is our favorite social media platform. Since the beginning, we have invested in it. It's a huge part of our success. Our highest engaging content has always been our influencers and our lash pictures. Lashes are key because that's what we do. Our clients refer to our Instagram daily when it comes to the style lash that they want. Planoly has been great in planning our overall grid, searching hashtags, and even looking at others in our industry.
What is one piece of advice for aspiring business owners that you wish you had when you got started?
Surround yourself with the best people you can find. Hire fewer people and pay them more.