Cheaper Rarely Means Better

Since starting my business in January there have been a few hard hard lessons I have had to learn or morally implement because of what I have experienced in the past – thank goodness for life experiences hey?

The top things I have learnt in this industry:

  1. People quite literally get what they pay for and often will find a reason to complain about the results, the price, the fact you were drinking water at work – if they want to complain they will…. no matter how good you are!
  2. Cheaper is not (or rarely is) better.
  3. Know your worth and your value – no one in this world will undercharge you for their time and work, why should you?
  4. Never, under any circumstances – even if you know it for a fact, share your opinion about other therapists/techs’ work! Even if the client is unhappy with them, do not sink to the level of bringing others down!
  5. Always charge a booking fee/non-refundable deposit – because people no show, last minute cancel or just generally consider the weight of their actions.
  6. Everyone is beautiful – no exceptions

At this point, you are probably wondering how this relates to the beauty salon and why I am writing this. Well, frankly it’s because I am often faced with clients or potential clients going to nail techs, lash techs, brow stylists – because it was cheaper! I am going to go into details here only the points that relate to you as the client.

I just want to make it abundantly clear CHEAPER IS RARELY BETTER. The cheaper price will likely mean 1 of 2 things:

  1. Rushed job – the tech will pump as many clients in and out in a day. Often these places the tech doesn’t do consultations doesn’t talk with their clients, and doesn’t have that interpersonal relationship with the clients! I know what my client’s dogs and sisters’ husbands ate for breakfast most days – this is because I create rapport whilst I work, I take my time and put the client’s wants and needs first always.
  2. Cheap, shitty products – the only possible way (especially when it comes to facials and lash extensions) for an $80 set of volume lashes to be profitable for the tech is a) she’s not doing it right and rushing her isolation, b) cheap, shitty products imported from the likes of Aliexpress, Alibaba, or alike. Now usually I have no problem with these suppliers… In fact, some of my bottles and packaging products for my press-on nails or shampoos come from these sites – empty bottle packaging that I do not intend on ever gluing on someone’s eyes. Cheap glues, poorly made, premade volume fans, and chemically unstable bonding agents – are all massive red flags and all available for low low prices on these sites.

Let me break it down a bit more – using lashes as an example! I hand-make my volume lashes – it takes me extra time and extra effort… “Why?” you may ask: Let me tell you

1. The fans look amazing

2. I can customise them to suit the desired look, feel, weight and style for my client…. which of course they love – but more importantly, I can customise the fan to the individual natural lash making them not too heavy or light depending on the growth stage. Hence natural lashes stay healthy, and the client stays happy.

Now not only are fans hand-made by a well-trained, qualified, excellent lash tech but the individual lashes themselves come from reputable suppliers. I am a fan of Prestige salon supplies, Lash V and Locks Lash! All Australian companies specialise in cruelty-free alternatives to mink, and silk so that we get all the fancy and boujee with none of the guilt. Each of these lash trays can vary from $12 (on sale) to $38.00 per size and per curl (a good tech will stock at minimum C, D, CC and B curls in each length). Producing roughly about 20-40 sets of lashes depending on the client’s requests (the more dense the look the more lashes it takes). Now these lashes are soft, and easy maintenance. Correct applications mean they shouldn’t itch, feel heavy, irritate or burn the eyes.

Compared to Aliexpress premade fans (with no options or very few options to purchase individual lashes for building your own volumes) vary from 99c to $10 for 1000 fans – which you would purchase in each individual length and curl. I have had these fans in my own eyes – chalk it down to not asking the right questions of the tech… My eyes felt like daggers were poking at them all the time – which I later found out was because the bases of the extensions were squared off and thick with sharp corners rather than tapered in, the cheaper glue also caused minor chemical burns on my skin – now I have been getting lashes a long ass time… I am not allergic and I have never had a reaction to the glues my previous tech used or my glues… And the retention was 1.5 weeks with a sleeping mask, correct cleaning, brushing and curing time – because I am a professional I take exceptional care of my lashes… so we can assume that retention issues were not me.

I guess the lesson on complaints was something I had to take on the chin. I used to bend over backwards fearing unhappy clients and poor reviews – but the reality is, you can’t make everyone happy! It’s not possible and you will drive yourself mad trying to. You could be the best of the best and still, someone will find a reason… The reality is people can be cruel, they can be unreasonable and they can take their frustrations out on you. My reality has changed, whilst customer satisfaction is very important to me, I know that I do everything I can to rectify complaints and problems (there’s been 2 in almost a year) but not everyone wants the problem to be fixed, not everyone wants solutions and you cannot deviate from your morals and business standards trying to accomplish the impossible.

Now in saying this – I see all too often people going to a cheaper salon and basing their decisions only on the price point and then jumping up and down at the results! I am sorry but if you are paying $40 for lashes, you sure as heck not going to get a $150 finish. Whilst I understand not all people cannot afford this price point there are things you need to consider

  • If the price is low, the tech is skimping somewhere – how do you know that isn’t on sterilisation and sanitary products for the tools being used in your eyes?
  • Is your lash tech cleaning your lashes? If she isn’t then there is your first red flag – without removing residual sebum (follicle lubricant) your lashes aren’t going to stick. Not to mention the potential for lash mites, infections and alike.
  • Is the tech using a primer? this should be pH balancing and help the hold of the glue, reducing how much adhesive you would actually need to get a lash to stick.
  • Does the glue have a strong smell? Cheaper glues will have a strong chemical scent to them – you as the client should not be able to smell the glue in general.
  • Is there a hydro-mister to cure your lashes and the use of a bonding agent? This is what will help the glue cure before you leave the salon – although not completely necessary, it is the difference between $40 worth of retention and $150 retention – the latter being over 4 weeks and the former being 1 week.

Why am I so passionate about this? I have clients come in with $40 lashes for refills and sometimes a redo, it is a hard lesson for clients to learn… Because 9 times out of 10 I am breaking the news that their lashes have been glued together due to poor isolation, and thus the extensions were poorly executed, have damaged the natural lashes. Some damage is irreparable, and at best results in a forced break in having extensions and at worst causes enough scarring to the client mentally that they are too afraid to try having proper extensions. It causes issues for everyone involved.

All my clients are beautiful. No matter what, there is no exception to this rule. I see beauty in everyone and everything. If nothing else is accomplished in my time with my clients I at least want to know that they felt beautiful leaving here. In a genuine way, I do not love unauthentic compliments and being fake. Genuine is important and something I always strive for. A client will become a friend faster than a friend becomes a client after all. So if you want a therapist to know you, your neighbours, your dog’s life story… I am a beautician.