Who doesn’t want to work for themselves?” Lydia Jones asks as she applies eyelash extensions to her cousin, CeCe Terrell, at her business in Bourbonnais, Wiinxx Luxury Eyelash Extensions.
The 25-year-old lash technician (or, as she’s known by her clients, “The Lash Lady”), Jones, a 2012 Kankakee High School graduate, has entrepreneurship running through her veins.
“My grandfather[s] on both sides of my family were entrepreneurs. My aunt, my cousin [CeCe Terrell], owns her own business,” Jones said. “I would definitely say it runs in the family.”
Her dad, Jeff Jones, owns Jones Funeral Home and took over ownership after the death of his father, Thomas Jones Jr., in 1998.
Lydia Jones created Wiinxx in March 2017 and was employed previously at Municipal Bank in Bourbonnais.
Jones remained at Municpal Bank while doing lashes for a year before she was able to financially take care of herself with her new business.
“It really pays to know people,” she said.
“I just didn’t see a future in banking,” Jones said. “I wanted something with my own name on it.”
That doesn’t mean banking didn’t play a role in getting her where she is today.
“Seeing how people had their own business and [how] they operated ... that was definitely influential,” Jones said. “I think going into business for yourself is more prominent today, and entrepreneurship is trendy with millennials.”
In the beginning, Jones didn’t know she was going to venture into the lash extension business, but she landed on it in the end.
“It’s very tedious, but it’s something new to the area” Jones said.
A report from Market Research Future stated the eyelash extension business as a whole will have a market share of 36.78 percent from now until the year 2023.
Eyelash extensions can last for six to eight weeks (the natural growth cycle of your lashes), but Jones advises her clients to come in every two to three weeks for a fill-in of the extensions. Eyelash extension application starts at $75.
The application process is a two-hour process and requires a very steady hand.
“There’s definitely no coffee — for either of us,” joked Jones as she meticulously applied lash extensions to CeCe.
From making sure the eye area is free of make up, isolating each natural lash, applying single lash extensions at a time with tweezers, to ending the completed application by brushing the lashes to clean them of any excess glue, lashing is a tedious process.
In her three years at Kankakee High School, Jones was a member of the Business Partnership Academy.
“I owe a big thanks to the late Ms. Theresa Sobota, head of the Business Partnership Academy,” Jones said. “Ms. Sobota’s lessons stick with me in everyday life experiences.”
Jones learned the eyelash technician trade at Alluring in Calumet Park.
“This doesn’t really require a license, but I am certified,” Jones said.
What would Jones say to those who are skeptical about going into business for themselves?
“I would tell them make sure your business is in demand, know that it takes money to make money, and always invest your business,” Jones said.
It’s easy to see the upsides to being your own boss, but there are downsides too.
“Business is always up and down,” Jones said. “Especially around the holidays. People prioritize and usually beauty is the first thing to go. It’s definitely a roller coaster. It’s really big to promote yourself.”
For the future of Wiinxx, Jones is thinking big.
“My ultimate goal is to start a franchise,” Jones said. “I’d like to see girls that I’ve trained working at different stores in different big cities.”
Jones said she also would like to have her own line of products for Wiinxx.
“Right now, there’s nowhere in town for me to get my lashes,” Jones said. “I have to go up north or shop online, which I really hate.”
You can buy “falsie” lashes at most drugstores, but Jones advises against it.
“There’s a huge difference,” she said. “I almost think of lash extensions as a protective style for your lashes.”