2016 saw many success stories come out of the Canberra entrepreneur scene. It was a year for many up's and up's for the business women of Canberra. We are excited to be exploring some of these awe-inspiring women in a series of articles over the next few weeks.
Today we're kicking off today with a woman who caught our attention - the super talented Lahnne from Cobalt Cosmetic Tattoo. At only 23, she identified a rising trend, found her niche in beauty market and created a business to fit snuggly in the gap. Not an easy feat, as the beauty market is known for being over crowded by cheap procedures and fixes.
So what's the buzz? Eyebrow Feathering - you've most likely heard of it, it's the latest beauty trend, a semi-permanent 3D eyebrow tattoo carefully hand tattooed stroke by stoke. The results are pretty amazing, and it is now common to have to wait at least 4 months to book in with popular salons in Australia wide, of which Cobalt is one.
I caught up with the bubbly brunette over a coffee before the New Year, as things for Lahnne were starting to wind up to reflect on her whirlwind end to 2016.
Starting out in a 9-5, Lahnne spent the 3 years prior to Cobalt, working in a law firm, a place she describes as encouraging authenticity, growth and discussion. As much as she enjoyed the work she was doing, she felt it wasn't the industry she saw herself in long term, especially as she has always been drawn to more creative fields.
When Lahnne decided to get her eyebrows microbladed, she was shocked to find that substantial travel was necessary for the calibre of work she wanted. Heading up to Brisbane for her own microblading, not only did she love the result, but she quickly because intrigued by the whole procedure, and one coming back home, she noticed that there was a niche in the market for trained Microblading Technicians. She researched training courses and decided to head down to Melbourne for the course.
But it wasn't as simple as completing her training and jumping head first into a new business. After finishing the course and purchasing all the equipment required she said that it still took her more than 6 months to even think about tattooing someones face!
"I was so scared!" she says. "I knew that I had the skills and ability, but the thought of being in charge of such a permanent beauty treatment scared me. I really had to overcome the self-doubt and fear that kept me from moving forward."
How familiar is that one, ladies?!
She started off cautiously working hard to not take on more than she could manage, taking care and time with each client so that they received exactly what they wanted. Within a few months of running the business, demand meant that she decided to drop to part time work, and by November she handed in her resignation to work full-time on the business – a mere 4 months after launching.
Lahnne was originally charging much less than the market value, despite the quality of her work. It's a common theme among business women, fearful of being seen to take advantage of clients, even though it's not something that would even cross our minds.
"I definitely experienced a lot of the teething issues common to other small business owners. It can be a bit of a tough gig, but it's so worth it!"
Now? Flash forward to 2017, Lahnne has attracted a strong following on social media, has her own studio and a flawless reputation, and a current waitlist of 8 weeks + for appointments.
If you ask me, that's something worth some serious eye (brow) raising. Go get 'em girl.
5 minute musings
What's your morning routine?
I'm a night owl so I'm not a super cool, quirky entrepreneur-type in the morning, as much as I would love to be! I'll usually get up not long before my first appointment which sometimes means I'm having a chat and my morning coffee with my client!
Who's your girl crush?
Kate from Brazilian Butterfly. She's my best friend and the one who really encouraged me to get into what I wanted to do. She's always pushing me forward, and has always got my back when I'm having those self-employed 'freak out' days! She runs her own business and so has been through the ringer, always has great, logical advice for me as well as complete support when I need it.
Can women have it all?
Of course, I can't think of anything we can't have!
What's next for Cobalt?
I'm heading to New York in April to train some women over there; I'm definitely excited to expand my skills in this aspect. I also have expressions of interest for me to travel to Switzerland and Wales which is just mindblowing.
Honestly I'm just excited to see Cobalt get better and better in our first full year!
Cobalt Studio is located in Lyneham and open Tues-Sat. To keep up to date on what they are up to head to the website www.cobaltcbr.com.au or check out their socials www.facebook.com/cobaltcbr and @cobalt.cbr on Instagram