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Featuring DeeAnna Heavilin of Wisp Lashes
In this episode, I had the privilege to speak with my amazing wife DeAnna Heavilin, owner of Wisp Lashes. Wisp Lashes offers high end individual lash extensions, facial waxing, brow design and more. DeeAnna’s stylish eyelash extension salons currently have two locations in Knoxville, Tennessee and Austin, Texas. The business of lash extensions and facial care is a very in-your-face job– so it was hit hard when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. Thankfully, having a website set up before the pandemic meant that a steady stream of clients continued to contact the salons. Half of their clients came from online booking, and were found through search engine optimization and ad campaigns run by YellowFin Digital.
DeeAnna made three main pivots in her company as a result of the pandemic.
In this episode we talk about:
- A pivot from a service centered business to retail
- Going from full price to temporarily discounted in tough times
- A pivot from retail and service to wholesale
Pivot #1: Adding and Adjusting Services
DeeAnna’s first pivot was to adjust which services they offered, focusing on distance. For example, switching from a focus on eyelash extensions to also target retail sales and service packages. Wisp Lashes has a WordPress website created by YellowFin Digital, and receives constant support and optimization for their online needs. When DeeAnna approached me about needing to sell stuff online, we turned to WooCommerce to set up an e-commerce platform on the site. In a matter of hours, the website was up and running for the beginning of her e-commerce journey. She sold products that they offered in store online, such as growth serum and after care products.
When asked on a scale of 1 – 10 how smooth and effective this pivot was, DeeAnna answered with a resounding 10. She sold way more products than she thought she would, and credited her loyal client base with the support. She also attributes the success of this transition to the quality of her products, which remained in high demand through the pandemic. Having products online allowed people far away to make purchases– and that’s the beauty of e-commerce. They receive 3 times the number of online sales comparative to those in store.
Pivot #2: Offer Deals
When businesses started carefully reopening, DeeAnna considered how to get people back in and made a second pivot. Wisp was in a position to re-open quickly, because they followed health guidelines and were already an extremely sanitary environment. The Knoxville location was able to spring back quickly, while her Austin location had difficulty getting customers to come in. With rising cases in Austin, the decided to close the location again. Having one location open again, she decided to focus on packaged sales and offers such as buy two fills, get one free and new customer deals.
This pivot was very successful, but it was not something they would do under normal circumstances. While Wisp Lashes are high quality products and not a discount brand, DeeAnna feels this was the right thing to do for clients during tough times. Things have kept going by pushing on social media and text messaging ads done by YellowFin Digital. Organic online posting text messaging campaigns also work very well for them. During COVID-19 closures, Wisp has had time to focus on marketing and create some thriving email campaigns.
Pivot #3: Go Wholesale
The third pivot was to set up wholesale pricing for select products. Sourcing products at reduced rates meant that Wisp Lashes could offer exclusive wholesale deals. She started sourcing items that they use in the salon like extensions, tweezers, cotton pads, and more. Now they have a relationship with a vendor who provides these items– and a stable relationship means receiving quality products and not waiting forever. This strategy has enabled Wisp Lashes to market to other lash salons. They already have their voice to talk with clients, so talking to other salons and artists is going to be different.