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The Lash Loft, New York City’s iconic boutique lash studio recently announced that it has partnered with development company Oakscale to franchise the premium lash concept throughout the U.S. and abroad, with plans to open a significant number of locations over the next 5-10 years.
The Lash Loft is NYC’s highest-rated and most reviewed Lash beauty studio for Men & Women. The Lash Loft is an upscale salon featuring the application of semi-permanent and temporary eyelash extensions and other eye-enhancing services, including lash lifts.
In a significant strategic departure from typical lash franchises, The Lash Loft plans to launch development in major city centers. Most lash franchises have settled for secondary suburban markets, likely due to lower-volume sales that could not support the rents found in preferred locations. The Lash Loft, by contrast, with a business model tested and proven in the famously expensive Manhattan retail real estate market, boasts revenue performance that makes its premium offering a perfect match for top tier city centers and the most desirable suburban neighborhoods. Further validation of the operation’s ability to support premium rents is coming soon as the Lash Loft recently signed a lease for a second Manhattan location at 58th St. and Madison Avenue, one of New York City’s most desirable retail shopping areas.
Reflecting on The Lash Loft’s growth plans, Oakscale CEO Joshua Kovacs said of today’s announcement: “Such a massive goal would be daunting for most emerging franchise concepts, but The Last Loft is no ordinary franchise. When a brand has dominated the world’s most competitive city for beauty services for 4 years, earning near-perfect scores across thousands of customer reviews and producing annual sales at its Flatiron location in excess of $1.9 million from approximately 1,600 usable square feet of second-floor retail space, expansion of the model throughout the most appealing markets should be the expectation.” (as disclosed in Item 19 of its current FDD).
The road to success for The Lash Loft began in 2013, Shellyann Bainlardi experienced lash treatments for the first time. She loved the results, but was dissatisfied with the experience and saw massive room for improvement on several levels: the quality of the product itself, the guest experience, and the studio environment. Around the same time, her husband Peter Bainlardi was looking to leave an executive position in trading at an investment bank to find a new business that he could indeed make his future passion.
Of course, given Peter’s years of finance experience, passion alone wouldn’t be enough: the numbers would have to inspire as well.
Peter and Shellyann’s research revealed that even though it was still a young niche beauty treatment, the popularity of the service was spreading quickly with fantastic growth potential, and the industry seemed to lack any firmly established and recognizable brands. The lash business was one of the fastest-growing sectors in the beauty space at the time.
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And from an industry perspective, the opportunity was too good to ignore. The fantastic growth continued, and the lash industry currently delivers over 60 billion in annual revenue in the US alone. Recent surveys indicate that American women’s average monthly spend on appearance enhancing products and services is $313, and men aren’t far behind with an average monthly spend of $244. On a global level, the beauty salon market valued at $129 Billion in 2017 is projected to reach $191 Billion by 2024, a massive 48% increase in a relatively short period.
The couple launched The Lash Loft NYC in Manhattan’s Flatiron neighborhood in 2013 to an immediate positive response. Peter and Shellyann continued to test and refine the business model over the years, deliberately building a premium brand supported by operational systems that could be taught and replicated across the country and internationally.
By early 2019, they fine-tuned the model, and the brand was larger than ever, with many social influencers singing the brand’s praises to millions of Instagram followers. Meanwhile, the brand received coverage from viral media giants.
“The timing couldn’t be better,” said Shellyann Bainlardi of the decision to commence franchising. “I love everything about what we’ve created at The Lash Loft, and I can’t wait for the global market to get to experience the amazing services we provide. We have a phenomenal experience to offer clients worldwide, and we have excellent systems to offer franchisees.”
Peter shares Shellyann’s excitement. “We’re investing in everything our franchisees would need to replicate the success of the first Lash Loft location in their home markets: a fully streamlined supply chain, best-in-class training and support systems, and a brand that beauty clients love. The last piece was selecting the right franchise development partner to bring The Lash Loft to the world, and we’ve found that partner in Oakscale.”
Peter explained why they chose to partner with Oakscale. “We evaluated other franchise development companies, but Oakscale was the perfect partner for The Lash Loft because of their technologically advanced systems for reaching the audience we’re looking to reach. We’re looking for multi-unit developers with experience running multi-unit operations, particularly franchisees in the food and fitness categories, who are looking to diversify their portfolios into the beauty industry. Not only is Oakscale able to identify and reach this crowd using their systems, but they are already well connected to the global franchise network we’re targeting. Simply put, we trust them and know they are invested in the global success of The Lash Loft.”
Founded in 2017, Oakscale is a franchise development company with a purpose. Their mission is to introduce local brands to communities worldwide. Learn more about Oakscale.