My Big Idea: 'Service businesses shouldn't expand too fast - you have to ensure quality'
Published 05/11/2015 | 02:30
Cork-born Lorna Farrelly is founder of The Brow Artist, a Dublin beauty salon specialising in eyebrows.
"My sister Elizabeth and I set up The Brow Artist following the success of our last salon business, The Powder Room, which had outlets in Dublin and Cork.
Over the years we developed a meticulous, artistic approach to caring for and maintaining clients' eyebrows and it was so popular we decided to specialise in it full-time.
The service we offer now, with 12 people working from our Ranelagh boutique, is world-class. All our staff have artistic backgrounds and are trained for months before they go to work.
Eyebrows frame the face and done correctly can even be used to correct facial imbalances. So many women have damaged or non-existent eyebrows after years of overplucking; we are here to help rehabilitate that and make women feel confident again. There is huge demand for the service; at one point last year we had to stop taking new bookings and just focus on serving existing clients, which took a lot of discipline. We have deliberately expanded very slowly and taken on no debt. The business has been almost entirely funded by reinvesting profits and our own money, including the extensive refurbishment of our salon.
Before moving full-time into the beauty industry I followed in my parents' footsteps and ran my own restaurant. That taught me to be cautious of debt and very careful with cash flow - the restaurant business is very tough.
The other element to it is that I am incredibly proud of the quality of the service we offer and want to ensure that level of quality is maintained as we expand. I can't see us franchising out what we do - I believe it is very difficult to do that with quality services. But we would eventually like to open another Dublin salon. I love running my own business. I will always do it, in some shape or form."