Name: Julie Butler
Job title: CEO and Founder of LashBase Ltd
Time in current role: Over 10 years
Julie is the founder of LashBase Ltd., the most successful lash extension brand in the UK.
Why did you decide to start your business?
My intention was never to start a business, it was something that just happened naturally. I was a stay at home mum for many years and raised my three sons which was all I ever wanted. But when they left school I started to feel redundant so I decided to enrol on a few beauty courses, one being eyelash extensions which soon became my passion. Very quickly I was working 9am-8pm, seven days a week just doing lashes. At the time lash extension products were extremely expensive so I started looking into ways I could get the products for cheaper. I also became a trainer for a local beauty school around this time.
My students always asked about the products I used so I decided it would be a good idea to put together a kit that they could take away to get them started. I started buying in supplies to add to the starter kits but what I hadn’t factored in was once they’d used up the supplies they’d need to replenish their stock. After this realisation I knew I needed to get more stock and the demand was there so what did I have to lose? And that’s where LashBase began. It’s come a long way since starting in my back garden more than 10 years ago.
My main job function is to create and test new products to make sure we’re keeping up with industry trends
What are the key functions of your role?
Being a decision maker and managing the overall operations and resources of the company. My main job function is to create and test new products to make sure we’re keeping up with industry trends. I also oversee our training academy and work hard to ensure anyone that decides to train in lash extensions with us gets the best quality training.
Talk us through your typical working day
Once I’m at the office my working day is varied as there’s so much going on. I like that every day is different and I like to get stuck into everything. I’ll usually be in meetings to discuss new products and ideas or I’ll work with Arianne, our Head of Education, to discuss our training academy and the ways we can improve our courses. I also like to go through our sales figures and stats to see what products are doing well, and I’ll research industry trends, do some market research and brainstorm ideas.
After that I’ll chat with manufacturers and suppliers about packaging and products to make sure it’s of the highest quality. If we’ve had a discount or promotion on over a weekend you’ll find me in the warehouse organising orders and doing some packing too. At the moment the majority of my working day is spent organising and planning everything for our launch in the US which is happening next month.
I take all our customers’ feedback really seriously and I’m always looking for ways to adapt or change our products to ensure we’re providing people with the best quality products on the market at an affordable price
Your favourite part of the job?
One of the best things about my job is that I get to work with my family every day which I love. Some people don’t know this but LashBase is actually a family business so I work with my husband and three sons (but the other members of staff feel like family too).
I also really enjoy testing out new products and coming up with ideas because this is where I get to be creative. I take all our customers’ feedback really seriously and I’m always looking for ways to adapt or change our products to ensure we’re providing people with the best quality products on the market at an affordable price. I also genuinely love that I can help people progress in their careers as a lash artist. It’s extremely rewarding and it’s great to hear positive feedback from our customers and the people that choose to train with us. It reminds me why I started the business in the first place.
…and the part you could do without?
That’s a tough question because I genuinely love what I do. I think the most challenging part is when things happen that are out of my control, for example, when we experience delays on product shipments which thankfully doesn’t happen very often. But as anyone who owns a business knows it’s not always plain sailing.
How would your staff describe you in three words?
Good question! You’d have to ask them. I think they’d say passionate, determined and focused.
The best lesson I’ve learned from a young age is that it’s important to work hard and not to expect things to be handed to you on a plate
Plans for the future?
There are so many exciting things in the pipeline. Right now my main focus is launching LashBase in the US as I mentioned earlier, and the team are working really hard to make this a success. Our US warehouse and office is all ready to go and I’ll be flying to Atlanta in the next couple of weeks for the launch in March. It’s exciting and nerve wracking at the same time as it’s like launching a whole new business and starting all over again but I’m excited to see where it goes and to explore all the opportunities that the US holds.
Do you have any advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs?
The best lesson I’ve learned from a young age is that it’s important to work hard and not to expect things to be handed to you on a plate. So I think my advice for others looking to start their own business is to prepare to graft. Starting your own business takes a lot of hard work and you do feel like giving up at times but you have to keep going and keep pushing yourself. It’s not all plain sailing and I’ve experienced my fair share of setbacks over the years. There have been times that I’ve really questioned what I’m doing but you must remind yourself why you started in the first place. It will all pay off in the end. If I get knocked down, I get up fighting twice as hard and that’s the mentality you need to have. LLY