Melissa studied esthetics at the Aveda Institute in Manhattan. After working in the industry for nine years, specializing in skin care, waxing and body treatments, Melissa moved back to her hometown of Seattle. Shortly thereafter, she relocated to the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska to be closer to her fiancé. Soon Melissa opened her own day spa, Truuli Escape, offering lashes and a host of other of services.

Q: How did you get started in lashes?
A: Mary Jane Dana, co-founder of Lavish Lashes®, gave a presentation at Aveda on lash extensions. At the time, I didn’t think it was something for me. However, when I moved back to Seattle, everyone was doing lashes. So I took the class, liked it, and felt I had a knack for doing lashes

Q: Why did you choose Lavish Lashes® to get your training?
A: I checked around because I wanted to make sure I picked the right company. I liked the web presence Lavish had and the quality of their product seemed better than other companies. Plus, it was close and convenient for me.

Q: Why did you become a trainer and how did it come about?
A: Mary Jane mentioned that they were looking for trainers. I wondered if training was something I would be good at. I loved the idea of being able to travel and sharing my knowledge. If I’m excited about something, it’s easy to share. I decided to take the training.

First I took the refresher course with Mary Jane; she watched me apply, did some timing and saw my skill level. Once the paperwork was completed, I flew to Seattle and took the training there. That was about a year ago.

Q: What is the lash industry like in your part of Alaska right now?
A: Well, we’re five years behind everyone else. But it’s growing tremendously. There are a few other salons in town and I end up fixing their clients. We do more lashes in my salon than any other service. I will probably have to train someone to do lashes in my salon very soon.

Q: So you see a lot of inferior work I’m guessing. Are these stylists trained?
A: I have the impression that these stylists are not properly trained. When their clients come to me, they complain about adhesive, lashes falling off after two or three days, and the use of poor products.

Q: What is the most important thing you can teach your students?
A: Telling them my story about things that have gone wrong. It helps them relate and understand that no one’s perfect. Everyone is going to make a mistake and when you do, fix it! I level with the students and I think that it helps them to build confidence.

Q: After you’ve trained stylists, what’s the best piece of advice you can give them as they get started in lash extensions?
A: Practice. It’s 100% practice.

Q: What should every customer know when they go to choose lashes?
A: Make sure the stylist is certified. Don’t be afraid to ask for “before” and “after” pictures and names of references. Make sure their products and tools are sanitary.

Q: As a Trainer, do you find that most people take both the basic and advanced training class, or just the basic?
A: Unfortunately, some only take the first day. I always tell them how important it is to take the advanced class, or at the very least, the refresher course. The advanced class was a great thing for me.

Q: What kind of feedback do you get from people that took the second class?
A: After taking the advanced class, students often wonder how they thought they could do lashes without taking the second day. Personally, I don’t understand how people can do it without the second day. In the advanced class, students gain confidence from the one-on-one training. It is so important. It was a no-brainer for me. If I do anything, I do if full fledged. I think the more people that take the second day; the more successful they will be at lashes.

Q: Have you had to fail anyone?
A: I failed one person in each of my first classes. Students in my most recent classes have been rock stars. I hate to fail anyone, but if they’re not cutting it, I have to do it.

Q: How large are your classes on average?
A: I average two to four students in a class.

Q: What’s the largest class you’ve taught?
A: Eight. It was at the Aveda Institute in Manhattan. I was excited to go back, however, it turned out to be challenging because I was so new. I would be much better now since I have more experience.

Q: What’s the best thing about being a Lavish Lashes® Trainer?
A: It’s the feeling I get when I finish a class and the students are so excited to start doing lashes. I just taught them a new skill, and what they do with the skill is amazing. Everyone is intrigued with learning the technique; it’s an art form. After class, I want people to feel good about what they have accomplished. It makes me feel good.

Q: Overall, what makes Lavish Lashes® so great?
A: Number one is their product. Lavish products stand out tremendously. When I look at other people’s lashes I can tell the difference. I know I would not want to use their product. Lavish does a great job supporting its trainers. The company backs us up when we have problematic students and makes sure we have what we need for classes. Lavish wants us to succeed and everyone with the company supports us to do so.