Welcome to our Business Edit, where I ask women I admire that have created amazing businesses to share their journey, advice and tips to inspire and motivate you on your own journey. In this edition, we talk about how Kath Ishak has gone from self taught makeup artist to creating game changing DIY Lash Extensions with KOOTS™.
Hi Hayley, thank you so much for having me on the Business Edit. A little bit about me, I’m 26 years old, based in Perth and I’m the youngest of five girls. I also have two step siblings and nine nieces and nephews, which is the best part of having a big family. I fell into business at the age of 16 as a self taught Makeup Artist, all of course with the help of peer pressure from my big sisters, which I’ll be forever grateful for! From there, having an Egyptian background I knew all about unwanted hair, so at 19 I bought an IPL machine. I got my very first personal loan to fund the $42,500 with an 11.9% interest rate. This loan had a 7 year repayment term which terrified me, although was the best learning experience ever. I was so proud of myself as I ended up paying off that machine within 3 years, all whilst paying myself a minimum wage. In 2019 I was itching to get back to studying and ventured into the world of Cosmetic Tattooing which I absolutely love.
In 2020 when the world was going crazy, I was too. I launched my very first ecommerce business, KOOTS™ Lashes. I originally launched as a unisex luxury strip lash line to fill a gap in the market of affordable meets luxury, offering bulk lash discounts of 45% OFF to help others in the industry. Fast forward to May 2022, I launched the game changer in my business, Lazy Lash Club™ (LLC™), DIY lash extensions. LLC™ was created to give customers salon look lashes at home, for a fraction of the price and a fraction of the time. If you haven’t tried them yet, you should. They will honestly change your life!
What has been fundamental in your career that led you to creating your own business and brand?
Passion. I’m passionate about ‘everything’ beauty. Enabling anyone & everyone to feel beautiful is always my ultimate goal. Over years of painting faces or witnessing the confidence a set of eyelashes can make is truly incredible. With passion, also comes determination and persistence. I am so determined to make KOOTS™ lashes the best brand it can possibly be. I want KOOTS™ to be known as a diverse brand where all humans feel included no matter the race or sex. I truly believe everyone deserves to feel empowered and beautiful.
"I want KOOTS™ to be known as a diverse brand where all humans feel included no matter the race or sex. I truly believe everyone deserves to feel empowered and beautiful."
Let’s dive into your businesses, KOOTS™ by Kath - your studio and Koots Lashes. When did you open your studio and what services do you offer?
I opened my studio based business in 2013 as a self-taught Makeup Artist from my tiny bedroom and in 2016 I moved into a bigger space and started offering IPL. Currently in 2023, I offer Makeup Artistry, Lip and Brow Cosmetic Tattooing & Brow Styling.
How did you then move to create KOOTS™ Lashes?
Creating KOOTS™ Lashes was always a dream of mine. I was continuously purchasing lashes from the UK as they were such incredible quality, and so fluffy in comparison to what you could buy in Australia. However, with that came huge wait times and shipping costs. This led me to launch my very first collection which consisted of 7 unisex strip lashes. I figured that even if the lashes didn’t sell, I would use them on clients, so it wasn’t too risky. It took me two years of research, sampling, negotiating etc. Only for my first collection to arrive with damaged packaging and the lashes looking completely different to the samples. So I returned them and started all over again. In 2020 and a total of four years later, I finally launched my very first e-commerce business. I did everything from sourcing manufacturers to building my own website. Seeing it all come to life, I just knew it was the start of something bigger.
What has been the biggest lesson and growth experience so far with owning and running your businesses?
The biggest lesson I’ve learnt and am still learning in business, is that you need to take risks and you can’t do it all yourself. I was never a risk taker. Growing up I always worked extremely hard and saved really well to ensure I always had a safety net. I learnt very quickly that running your own business, especially as it’s growing, you never feel like you have that ‘safety net’ because you’re constantly reinvesting back into the business. In business you have to spend money to make money, with this can come a lot of stress or doubts that you’re making the wrong decisions, but you have to just have some faith in yourself and trust that it will all workout.
Do you have any advice for someone who is planning or has just started their own beauty services businesses (no gatekeeping here!)
Gatekeepers are the worst aren’t they! I absolutely do, here are a few random things I did to help get my business started:
1. Before you get too excited about your business name, register it, check that it’s available across all the social media platforms you are wanting to use and check if the domain is available! This is so important and not something many people think about before they start.
2. Invest in good lighting! It doesn’t have to be expensive. A good start is the Alix Earle viral TikTok light which is incredible and only cost me $45 or a floor standing ring light from eBay. In the beauty industry, everythings about aesthetics and this starts with your portfolio, aka your social media. You can be incredible at what you do, but if your photos have terrible lighting or quality, a client probably won’t even consider going to you.
3. Invest in an online booking system! This was the best thing I ever did. When I was only offering makeup, all bookings were made pen to paper. Once I started offering multiple services, I invested in Timely and it was the best investment I ever made. It cut my inquiries down massively which in return, gave me more time to focus on the creative side of things. You can set it up so that it takes deposits prior to booking so you don’t have to chase up clients & it saves the clients card to file, that way you can automatically charge any no show/cancellation fees without the awkward conversations.
4. Be authentic. I really believe in providing my clients with a safe space to come to for their appointments. I am professional with the services I offer however, I am 110% my bubbly and sometimes inappropriate, funny self. I never change the way I treat a client. If a client came dripped in designer or looked like they’re barely hanging on by a thread. I'll always treat them equally. I want every customer to always feel welcomed at KOOTS™. You never know what people are going through, the fact that someone has chosen to pay you with their hard earned money, makes me feel like the least I can do is provide them with quality customer service.
I am obsessed with the amazing range you have created, and as a huge fan of lash extensions - especially the Lazy Lash Club! Can you tell me more about the range?
Thank you so much! Of course. Working in the beauty industry for over a decade now, so many of my clients would share their frustrations with salon lash extensions. They aren’t only expensive, but they take at least an hour to apply and that doesn't include the travel time or the time it takes to find an appointment that suits you. Not to mention the maintenance they require every 2-4 weeks. From this, I launched Australia's first unisex, reusable DIY lash extensions, Lazy Lash Club™. LLC™ allows customers to have salon-look lash extensions for a fraction of the price and a fraction of the time. From an affordable $15 per set (not including the reusable aspect) and with a 5-10 minute application time that lasts up to 10 days, customers can apply, refill, remove and customise their lash extensions anywhere at any time.
LLC™ are vegan, cruelty free and latex free. They’re also waterproof which is perfect for holidays. A lot of people get lash extensions specifically for holidays and within a couple of weeks half of their lashes have usually fallen out and look super patchy. This is where LLC™ is incredible and will ensure you never have to have patchy lash extensions again!
For someone who has never dabbled with Lash Extensions before, is the LLC for them?
ABSOLUTELY! To put it into perspective, I have a client of mine in her 60’s who applied them with a 10x magnifying mirror in front of her and was still wearing her glasses when applying them! Believe it or not, she bloody nailed the application. If she can do it, anyone can do it! Based on customer feedback, so many of them actually say they can’t apply strip lashes but have mentioned that they have had no issues applying LLC™. They say it’s a lot easier as it’s in smaller clusters and because they sit under your natural lashes, there is no room for them to sit awkwardly like a strip lash can because there is nowhere for it to go.
What are your tips for choosing the right lashes and then applying them and getting the best wear time?
Great question. Choosing the right lashes the first time can be a little tricky as it’s all up to personal preference. However, I recommend starting with a softer set eg. THE MINIMALIST, WISPIES or THE DAILY’S as you can always double stack the lashes to create a fuller look. If you’re unsure of what length to purchase, 12mm is a great starting point as they work on bigger and smaller eyes. Alternatively, you can purchase a Multi Length pack as a starting point to work out your favourite length for future orders. In terms of getting the best wear time, I always recommend applying the products in the order below. This is how I achieve a minimum 7 day wear:
1. BOND (Glue - Only apply to the root of your lash. Do not comb through like mascara!)
3. BOND (Double bonding is what massively helps achieve longer wear times)
4. SEAL (Our Sealer removes any sticky residue & enhances the wear time of your lashes)
5. CLAMP (Use our Lash Applicator to clamp the LLC™ lashes with your natural lashes to ensure a seamless blend & that they’re nice and secure).
What makes KOOTS™ Lashes the standout when it comes to lash extensions at home?
Being a unisex and diverse brand that gives a luxury feel, at an affordable price is definitely what I think makes KOOTS™ Lashes stand out. I personally think we nailed the packaging and branding to truly represent what Lazy Lash Club™ is about. The name of the collection speaks for itself.
Do you have any exciting plans in the works for KOOTS™ that you can give us the scoop on?
Something is currently in the works, however, I can't share it at the moment. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to share it with you all soon. It is pretty cool! Other than that, it’s been a super long process but we are nearly there and ready to launch our lash cleansers which is so exciting!
Where can we connect on socials and shop the range?|
You can connect with us on Instagram and TikTok @kootslashes. To shop our range head to: koots.com.au. I would also love to offer all TDP readers the discount code ‘THEDAILYPRETTY’ to save 15% OFF on your order with us. Thank you so much Hayley for having me on! ♡
Thank you for sharing your inspiring business journey and valuable advice with me today Kath. I am loving the KOOTS™ LLC range and how easy they are to apply. I was really missing having lash extensions but didn't want to commit to the expense and time factor, so LLC literally is a game changer in so many ways, and I will share a TDP Loves on the range soon! - Hayley x