What Sets Arch Angel Amy Jean Apart From the Brow Pack?

Arch Angel and Luxury Salon Owner Amy Jean, spoke with Ariana Pezeshki about her journey to stardom and how she began as a sole operator to become the queen of brows, creating a luxury salon experience for her clients.

My Journey began 19 years ago when I started my own business. Armed with nothing more than a wax pot, a beauty bed, and an immense amount of enthusiasm, I ventured into the beauty industry. While I studied commerce at university, my true passion lay in beauty, and I even landed one of my first jobs at the Estée Lauder counter during my time there.

Back then, brows were not considered a premium or dedicated service. However, I’ve always been a risk-taker with very little hesitation. So, I set up my business at the back of a busy hair salon. I figured I had a captive audience while clients had their hair colour processing. I ran around excitedly promoting my brow services, and within weeks, my schedule was fully booked from 8 am to 8 pm. I was on an absolute high!

For over 10 years, I travelled between Sydney, Melbourne, and the Gold Coast on a weekly rotation, establishing standalone brow salons in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. I even had pop-up salons in Perth, Adelaide, Singapore, and London. Along the way, my team grew to 30 talented individuals, and I created a dedicated collection of brow cosmetics that are now stocked in over 35 retailers worldwide.

What inspired me to create my first business was the sheer excitement of taking the leap and learning for myself. I wanted to challenge myself and carve my own path in the beauty industry. Starting in the beauty industry came with its fair share of challenges. On my first day, I had no clients booked, and people still saw brows as a $10 add-on to a salon facial. I had to prove that my skills were unique and that brows deserved more attention. Fortunately, I had good timing, as I enjoyed a monopoly in the market for about 10 years before the surge of brow salons started multiplying.

Creating a luxury salon experience was of utmost importance to me. I believe that every facet of your business should reflect a premium service, starting from the moment clients enter the salon. The smell, the surroundings, the warm greetings, and the gratitude among the team all contribute to the overall experience.

I’m a closet interior designer. I spend hours upon hours researching interiors. I’ve even gone hunting for new salon space to justify a fit out, which is completely backward. My vision for the salon is to never be identified as a common ‘brow bar’ where beds and chairs are lined up for public viewing. We ensure privacy with single treatment rooms, where clients lay horizontally and immerse themselves in serenity and leave feeling refreshed, never rushed. I’m very particular about hiring staff who exude warmth and genuine kindness. Clients have a sense of authenticity. So my interiors, staff, services add an ‘air’ in our salons.

Being known as the “arch angel” is a wonderful compliment for a self-confessed eyebrow pervert like me. I appreciate the recognition and the association with my passion, however, running a luxury salon certainly presents its challenges, just like any other type of salon. However, the association with luxury is not the challenge itself. We have an incredibly talented team that genuinely cares about customer satisfaction. While our clients have higher expectations, they also have a calm and trusting demeanour because we are an established brand. I’m always amazed by the trust and respect our clients have for our staff. Challenges exist industry-wide, and I firmly believe that business owners are phenomenal warriors and the ultimate multitaskers.

In our salons, our most requested luxury treatments are a signature brow sculpt paired with a Keratin Lash Lift. It’s a moment of relaxation as clients lie back and sleep in cocooned cashmere while our artists work their magic. They wake up feeling refreshed, with more youthful eyes, and perfectly defined and symmetrical brows.

Working with celebrity clients like Rita Ora and Eva Mendes has been a wonderful experience. Both of them are incredibly kind and genuinely care about their beauty treatments. It warms my heart when they simply want to be treated like regular clients. It’s respectful and refreshing. My first celebrity client was Dannii Minogue, and she couldn’t have been sweeter. She made me feel at ease in the celebrity space from day one.

My advice for those looking to commit to opening a luxury space is, don’t expect it to happen overnight. It comes with years of training, hard work and dedication to your craft and your team. You’re making a commitment to being above average and putting in the ‘extra elbow grease’. Your skill set has to align with your fit out. There is nothing wrong with starting small and taking small steps into the luxury space. I was a sole trader with a 10-square-meter space for many years. But I’ve given my clients the same level of attention and dedication for 19 years now.

Creating my own luxury cosmetics brand was also very important to me. I love a challenge, and it’s much more challenging to stand out in the luxury space than in the mass consumer market. All the products in the Amy Jean Privée Collection hold fond memories for me. I was involved in every step of the research and development process, from refining samples to packaging design. However, my all-time favourite is the Daily Brow Mask. It was the first of its kind in the brow category, and it was a risk that I embraced during the COVID lockdowns when people were focused on self-care. It’s a leave-in hair mask for your brows.

Starting the Amy Jean Privée Collection definitely came with its fair share of challenges as well. Negotiating minimum order quantities with European manufacturers when we were not yet established was a major hurdle. However, I attended every trade fair I could find to learn as much as possible. I believed in myself and never sought outside investors. As for the future of the Amy Jean Privée Collection, we recently partnered with SEPHORA ANZ and Crown SPA in Melbourne, and the range is launching globally with FARFETCH Beauty very soon. Our goal is to continue expanding and reaching more prestigious retailers. We will be launching in FarFetch’s luxury boutique ‘Browns’ in Mayfair, London.

My aspirations for the future are to continue to offer innovative treatments to our clients, remain relevant in the brow space for years to come and set a good example to my team and my children. I really hope we can teach future generations that the bare minimum isn’t clever. It’s detrimental to their growth and unlocking their potential. No one successful ever said, “I’m cool with two to three days per week”.

This article originally appeared in the July-August 2023 print issue of Professional Beauty.

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