Opening last September, it has been a successful five months for Woollahra salon Lash & Lacquer. Ashleigh Sharman spoke to owner Gaynor August about her surprise winning formula.

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It’s hard not to notice Woollahra’s newest salon. Lash & Lacquer, the brainchild of Gaynor August, exudes a stylish and chic aesthetic — a beauty beacon to the tight-knit eastern suburbs locals who are notoriously hard to win over. Yet, in a matter of five months, this salon of ‘finishing touches’ has exceeded all expectations with a word-of-mouth clientele to show for it.

“I’ve no experience in the beauty industry but I am a great purveyor and user of the industry and, as a stay-at-home mum, was looking for a new challenge,” says Lash & Lacquer owner, Gaynor August.

“It all happened very quickly but my goal was to bring together all the beauty treatments I personally liked to have done: a spray tan, mani-pedi, lash extensions and waxing. This was the genesis of the business. I have always liked the aesthetics of beauty and wanted every ‘finishing touch’ available in the one location.”

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Nails and lashes may indeed be the hallmark of this salon but it is equally supported by tanning, waxing and soon, makeup, with all brands chosen based on personal experience and client requests. OPI, CND and cult nail polish brand, Deborah Lippmann, will soon be joined by Essie to offer even greater client choice; Lycon for waxing; and Aviva Labs for tanning, soon to be joined by Naked Tan. Still a work in progress, Gaynor admits, but there is no swaying when it comes to lashes.

“I’ve had eyelash extensions for about three years — once you get them there is no going back. My eyelash technicians are Korean and as the trend started there, I find they produce the best work. South Korea also produces the best product and quality is key when it comes to lash work. We are competing with a lot of businesses, not just around Bondi Junction but in the eastern suburbs area, and it’s about a commitment to quality,” Gaynor says who offers both silk and mink lashes and encourages a multi-treatment approach for client visits.

With seven staff on board, including a receptionist, two lash technicians, a wax specialist and three nail technicians, clients are encouraged to book in order to maximise their time, balance treatment options and receive dedicated service. Gaynor is determined to provide good quality at a reasonable price, aiming to return beauty to “the way it used to be”.

“I remember the days when you had to make an appointment and all of the attention was on you, not on the line of girls waiting at the door. I will never be able to compete with the large nail salon chains but we want to instil respect for the therapist and allow our clients to have a real relationship. We want a boutique, luxury experience that is nothing short of relaxing,” explains Gaynor who, along with interior decorator and designer Alex Zabotto-Bentley, has created an open, white space, inspired by the likes of Tom Ford.

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2014, then, is a year of consolidation for Gaynor and her team at Lash & Lacquer. Locals have proved her biggest supporters and with many already asking about further expansion, it is clear that this personal challenge has revealed an innate skill in the business of beauty.

“There have been many moments where I thought, ‘have I done the right thing?’, but it has worked out so well. Beauty is a very personal thing and it can be hard to persuade women to move to a new salon but we started with nails and have grown from there. Watch this space!”

For more information contact Lash & Lacquer, 222 Edgecliff Road, Woollahra NSW, (02) 9389 7713 or visit www.lashandlacquer.com