First impressions are important. The first thing people see when they meet twin sisters Erin Greiner and Hannah Hodge are their matching nose rings, short blonde hair, and their very long eyelashes.
And that’s exactly how the sisters want it.
Greiner and Hodge co-own and operate Lash Out — an eyelash extension bar located in the FitQuest Center in Baxter. While other area salons offer a eyelash extensions service, Lash Out is the only exclusive eyelash extension bar in the lakes area.
“It’s kind of like getting a manicure,” Greiner explained. Clients visit the sisters’ salon for an initial two-hour appointment to have semi-permanent eyelash extensions, made of synthetic mink, attached to each individual eyelash. Hodge said the extensions make a person’s eyelashes two to three times their natural length. “You get fills like you do with nails every one to three weeks,” Greiner said.
Lash Out is not the first business the sisters have operated together. Before moving to the Brainerd area, Hodge and Greiner owned a photography business in Alexandria.
“We always knew we wanted to go into business together.” Greiner said.
The two said they felt it was time to start pursuing something new and decided to pursue their certification as eyelash extension specialists about a year ago.
“We were looking for a change,” Greiner said. “And we’ve always enjoyed making people look good.”
The two researched new markets and found the lakes area might be a good fit for a business like theirs. After talking to several salons in the area about renting space, Hodge and Greiner got their official start in the salon space located in the FitQuest Athletic Club.
They opened in their storefront location in the same complex over the summer.
The girls said their clients span a large range of ages. Their youngest clients are high-school girls and their oldest is a great-grandmother. Hodges said people’s reasons for visiting their salon vary — some women like the idea on longer eyelashes, others just hate wearing mascara.
“Women need to feel beautiful,” Hodge said. “Vanity isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.”
As far as running a family business together, the girls said it’s a love-hate relationship, but one they don’t mind having. “We get to make our own hours and be our own boss,” Hodge said. “It’s not quite as daunting when you’re doing this together.”
“We even each other out well,” Greiner added. “It must be the twin thing.”
Greiner and Hodge said family has been a driving force behind their confidence in being able to run a small business together. Their younger sister Ivy and her family followed the sisters to the lakes area and the girls said their parents have been a huge support to their entrepreneurial pursuits. “Our dad is self-employed,” Greiner said. “He really set the example for us.”
The girls said the thing they love most about Lash Out is getting to know their clients and playing a small part in their lives.
“I love making people feel good about themselves,” Hodge said. “That in and of itself is what makes this rewarding.”
SARAH NELSON KATZENBERGER may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5879.