Written By: Danelle Caswell
We at Humber got a chance to speak with local business owners and get a inside on all thing’s entrepreneurship, motivation, struggles and what its like trying to stay positive during these unforeseen times. We sat down with a local business owner of Dollface Beauty Bar over in downtown Oakville, Sara Green. Sara not only lashes currently at the salon but also built this beautiful Lash palace with her partner Jay. Starting from home and creating an environment that all would love, she moved from the home basement and opened up a beautiful studio big enough to accommodate up to 5 stylists and sells all her own Dollface Lash supplies. This is a dream that some stylists can only imagine accomplishing but with such a competitive industry, it can be a dream that is very hard to achieve.
Sara has experienced herself how hard it is to be a woman of colour working as a stylist, be a business owner and balance life as a mom. Also did we mention she is doing all that in the middle of a pandemic! Sara is a free spirit that is always spreading love with all connections she makes but is not quiet when things need changing. This pandemic has brought us struggles with international viruses, social/ political issues and a very apparent need for change on how people are treated in our world and Sara was here for it the whole time. With a following of 12.6k on Instagram, Sara focuses on spreading positivity, motivation and helping our local businesses and charities. She is currently working on and collecting a big Holiday haul of canned/ dry goods and warm new socks for those in need in our community, and working with other local businesses to see how much they can help!
Running 4.7 stars on google reviews, Dollface Beauty bar is definitely the spot to check out for all things lash extensions and even has a couple spots to sneak away and take the best selfies if you are ever in the area. The stylists are handpicked by Sara herself and learn the top techniques from her as well so you know you are always in the best hands. They offer 4 different kind of extensions and have the ability to style them with a sultry cat eye wing or a doll eye to help create the illusion of a more open eye. We got the chance to sit down with Sara and ask her all the insights on what life is like as a small business owner and what helps her stay positive during these crazy times existing with the threats of Covid.
What inspired you to create Dollface?
Sara: Out of necessity in the industry. I started getting my lashes done about 10 years ago before Dollface was a thing. Lashes back then were very expensive and the options were very limited and majority only used mink lashes (real fur). Nothing vegan or cruelty free at the time and with that created a lot of work to maintain them and the special products that you would need to have the lashes and the places to get them done was not the most comfortable places. Making me think “my lashes look so good. I feel so good but this place that I am getting them done doesn’t match the service, how nice would it be if there was a beautiful lash salon to go to.” Now fast forward now having a lash salon it is everything I once wanted to walk into. Creating the perfect lash experience, I have always wanted to experience.
What is it about lashes that makes everyone of all ages want them?
Sara: They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. And that is true it’s the first thing you connect with when talking to someone you know or a stranger is they eyes. So why not dress them up and set yourself up for a successful day without the hassle of make-up especially now living in these covid times. With lashes you don’t need anything else. Lashes and lip-gloss will never go away but these days everyone is hoping for a more natural look and getting extensions is the way to go. To enhance what we have and not feeling the need to add anything else fits everyone’s life style.
At what point did you know what I was time to take the business out of the basement and find a location?
Sara: It had to be done. It started as a cute little basement salon but got so busy, so fast that the neighbors were starting to wonder if I opened a brothel [chuckles] and started asking questions about what we were doing since all these women are coming in and out but their hair was untouched. This was when lashing just began so it wasn’t the most common just yet. Eventually we had to hire another girl to maybe have two clients come visit at once. Probably about a month after opening we were looking for larger location. It took about 4 or 5 months to find the perfect spot and began renos but it was quick. So pretty much after opening it from the basement about 6 months in we found ourselves in our first location at the heart of downtown Burlington.
Now the second location we wanted things a little different. The first location in Burlington had cute cottage core vibes and pink wood walls in the village square but when it came to Oakville, we wanted the same feeling just a bit more chic and that is definitely what we created with the studio in downtown Oakville.
What challenges have you experienced and how have you overcome them?
Sara: So many, but my sister and I always had the idea of how we wanted our businesses to work and coming from the beauty industry I did have some experience on how to organize and set up. But it was definitely overwhelming at the beginning and stressful. Now a few years in we have experienced a massive flood that ended up pushing us back few months and with Covid, we are now learning how to bring back the momentum we had. But that’s business, that’s what it is like. Staffing is by far the hardest part about running the business. Finding the balance between me and the staff and not taking on too much but staying positive with the turnaround that that there is in the beauty industry was pressure I wasn’t expecting. Keeping myself centered and maintain my balance has been the most difficult but 100% the most rewarding.
I was once told by a mentor of mine that for every 20 staff you will find 1 gem. And I thought to myself maybe that is just back luck. Now it makes sense to me after building a business that I had always dream of for myself, isn’t the same dream for everyone else. But as a woman, mother and nurturer who always wants to help everyone. I definitely had to learn to create boundaries and not take on any outside stress. I learned if I’m not at my 100% then neither is my business and taking on others stresses not only did not benefit me or the business.
Did anything scare you or make you nervous about opening your own business?
Sara: Yes! Hell yes! its scary no matter what but knowing what you’re getting yourself into you have an idea of the sacrifices you will have to make. And not being able to leave it at the door when you get home because its your business if a big one. I have a family and now we are bringing in a new baby to give your time and attention to. But opening this business with my partner has been a great blessing. Knowing our strengths and weaknesses, who can take on what and who can focus of another is easy. Being able to depend on someone when you need a break and have them understand because they are there with you and you get that comfort. We are always on the same page and him being my best friend makes things a little easier.
What is some advice you would want to give people that are feeling scared about starting their business?
If you get the opportunity to take your passion and make it into your own business, take it! If you see a door, it’s probably not locked, turn the knob and step in and go for it, because you never know what can happen if you don’t try. With this new age of social media there is opportunity for everyone to build themselves its just about doing it and being authentic while you are on that journey.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
My child. Its easy when you have someone to survive for. Every morning I wake up, stress like everyone else, making sure all is right and sometimes it’s hard to get out of bed. But when I see him, it reminds me that there is a reason I wake up everyday and put my best foot forward, and that reason is him. I am blessed and grateful for all I have and without that motivation none of this would be here, and that alone is a blessing in its self.
What is your key to success?
When I find it, I will definitely let you know! Everything has been so natural and organic, falling into place as through it has was always meant to happen. Walking into an issue with patience and grace, creating boundaries were learned and being grateful for the people who chose to support Dollface. Being excited for what the next day will bring and a new person we get to meet is what keeps the positivity going and if that brings stress that Is okay. New stress means new experiences, if we walk into a new experience already dreading what is to come then you are manifesting the stress and potential failure. But if you are open to seeing what good is to come after the stress, good things will always be coming. There is no key, rather it’s how you see your life and the motivation to keep going.
Dollface Beauty Bar can be found at 104 Reynolds Street, Oakville for all your lash needs! Sara has three stylists available for extension services or you can even book yourself in with her! And If Lash extensions are not for you, they do offer supplies and products such as 2 different lash strips, serums and to stay stylist they also carry the cutest scrunchies. Give Sara a follow at @welcometodollface or if you have any questions!
Let us know if Sara’s words helped you stay motivated or even encouraged you to start your own business by commenting below or tag us @infusehumber on your new business’s page! We love supporting local businesses!