I’ve just had my first brush with the International Lash Industry as this year’s host for The Lash Events UK Conference 2018. Similar to the ‘debutante’ culture across many societies where the ball gown takes centre stage, I too felt that my attire should make a ‘lashing’ impact, and those of you in attendance may have noticed I donned my ‘millennial’ style kilt. I did so for many reasons, but in the main to celebrate our International Editor Louise Tierney’s Scottish Roots in this truly global industry.
I first met Louise a few years ago at our former alma mater, Glasgow Caledonian University, where we were both invited to speak about our career journey.
I hail from a presenter/journalist background with the BBC, and it was the first time I had come across the Lash Industry – bar the time I bought some strip lashes for Halloween as I tried to pull off a Bollywood look!
What sparked my interest into this ‘alien’ industry is how Louise grew her business and brand from Glasgow, my home city. I remember Louise talking passionately about the ideas that came to her whilst sitting on a train. This led her acting upon her ideas right there and then via her laptop. She energised me away from the ‘media bubble’ which us luvvies so often tend to vacuum ourselves in.
I too spoke about my career path, across Radio and Television and simply offered an honest and brutal account of my career to date. I coupled this with some open and honest sub narratives from life’s journey, and I candidly spoke about my success, what inspired me, and the ‘F’ word.
I energised this word. In our career path we are not guaranteed instant success and we will all fail or have challenges at some stage. Some of these challenges take place away from our office and work; from health issues, to relationships, love and bereavement.
It is imperative to allow ourselves time, space and balance. The point I was making to the students in attendance was to embrace such times in one’s career and use it as fuel, be it a rejection letter or email, and I took copies of my own rejection letters and emails to show the students.
After meeting Louise at this event, we met up for coffee (and cake!) in Glasgow and she suggested I could host one of her events in the future, explaining the foundations behind the UK Lash Conference and what it would entail.
I was still somewhat clueless at this stage, but signed up immediately, it’s the extrovert within me.
Broadcasting conveys the importance of networking at such events and conferences. Being a natural talker and extrovert I find networking and breaking the ice easy. I appreciate for others this may not be the case; of course I get nervous, but I use my platform as a Host/Presenter (and my Kilt!) to shield such nerves and turn it on its head, making it work for me.
If Louise and I hadn’t networked, the chances are I would never have had the opportunity to work in the lash industry.
In my experience nobody is that important that they won’t speak to you or give you some time at such an event, regardless of what industry you are in. Never be afraid to approach industry leaders, mentors or a brand/company you are trying to connect with. If I hadn’t employed a ‘gallus’ (to use a good Glaswegian word) attitude I would be working behind the scenes in the media as opposed to being on air. Another reason I wore my Kilt at UK Lash Events 2018 was it simply draws an audience’s attention and people engage with me over it. So wear something that you feel confident in to express your own unique energy and style.
If you are a naturally shy person and find the networking side somewhat challenging, drop an email to the person or contact you are trying to connect with beforehand. A simple introduction and request a quick five minutes of their time at the conference. People are generally nice (well most of the time!) and respond, sometimes not immediately but eventually.
Networking is essential as a business tool but is doesn’t stop there; you can make some genuine and lasting friendships. I’m lucky to say that Louise and I became colleagues as result of our business networking; not only do we engage on ideas around the lash industry (as I take up the mantle of Men’s Style Editor for Lash Inc. International), we are also firm friends.
Not quite sure how our Editor in Chief might edit that last line I have just written!
Onto the actual UK Lash Events 2018 itself, I write this a few weeks on from the conference in May. I’m raising a cheeky smile to myself as I’m still buzzing from Super Yacht! From pre-production between Glasgow and London, meeting UK Lash Events members for the first time, hosting and engaging with such an amazing array of talented delegates and guest speakers, forging genuine relationships, having very little sleep and sharing a hotel room with our lead designer Andi (who I had only met on the Friday!) to the pace and energy of it all!
I found it accelerated me professionally and personally.
I’ve learnt a lot from Louise so far about the industry and the learning curve continues. I took a lot away from Guest Speaker talks and engaging with them alongside delegates at the conference. There are many sub narratives and levels in this industry, and this has only further fuelled my interest to engage some more.
With open invites from new friends from Denmark, Sweden, Latvia, USA et al and vice versa including a round or two of Golf on Scotland’s lush courses with Borboleta’s lovely Kimber and Craig planned, my lash journey is set to continue…
Just like any method actor worth their salt, I embraced the conference with a Lash Lift. I’ve never been shy to embrace fashion and beauty culture that’s perhaps perceived as more ‘metro’ than ‘hetero’ and I truly felt a million dollars post treatment!
I loved the craft, technique and artistry that goes into such a treatment. The look it gave my eyes was uplifting, I felt it accentuated my natural lines and the actual spread of my lashes gave me a lot of confidence. This, coupled with borrowing Louise’s mascara in London, meant I was all set for hosting in London!
I now look forward to my next experience – lash extensions for men!
Lash Inc Men's Style Editor
Instagram - @ravisagoogram