Let's talk to italian lash & brow business queen - Olga SharipovaPosted on Dec 05, 2018
Everything that she has achieved is due to her talent, persistence and... family.
In an interview with Lashlandia Olga Sharipova, the founder of the Imperial Lashes and Brows admits that her way to success was a long and hard one.
International judge, speaker, young mother and a successful businesswoman. She even hated lashes at first! But it was her sister who always supported and inspired her.
This wonderful lady told us what drove her forward all these years and why lashes became her passion. From the immigrant bartender to an owner of a very successful lash company - get to know everything about Olga's story!
-We're happy to welcome you on Lashlandia. We are so curious to hear about your lash and brow success story. Let's start from the beginning, and tell us about your country of origin, your family.
It's nice to meet you. Thank you again that you're asking me all this question. It's really nice to talk with you.
Actually, I'm half Moldavian and half Russian, as my mom is Moldavian, and my father was Russian. But it's a big confusion about this because no one is able to understand where actually is Olga from.
-That's interesting. That's something mysterious about you. What reason made you move away from your native country to Italy, and how many years ago did that happen?
Actually, this happened 15 years ago, and the main reason is my mom. She just move to Italy, like every immigrant, to search a better life for her and for her children.
So, after a while, every one of us, and my family ... I mean, my two sisters, one brother, just get here.
So, it's a long story, but it's even long time ago that happened.
„my first stick with the lashes wasn't so good how everyone imagines“
-Okay, so how did you stick up with lashes? Was it your first job ever?
Oh, no, no. Actually, no. Everything started from my sister, from my big sister because she is just makeup-addicted. She is always so nice, so cute.
She just start to knew about the eyelash extension, and she just start using on herself.
And then she just didn't find anymore here in Italy, a professional that could make eyelashes, then said me, "Olga, please, just start learning because I need my lashes done."
And everything just start like this.
But the first time that I ever touched the tweezers, I just threw them away, and I was shouting at her and saying, "I will never, never, never make this job."
So, it was a little bit, let's say stressful situation. So, my first stick with the lashes wasn't so good how everyone imagine.
-In these situations, I can see that everything was happening in your life is being related to your family, isn't it?
Yes, it is. My family is my most important part of my life. They're still in my life, and you'll see that everything, actually, what happened was becoming from there, or to there, or with them.
-That's really nice. Was your start easy from the beginning, or did you struggle with something at the beginning?
As I told you, it was actually a shocking experience, because it was for me just how should I do? Just isolating one single lash, really?
Are you really about this, but then it was ... It get like something really passionate, like everyone in our lash industry, let's say like this.
And it just get better and better, and I love it more and more. Of course, there was a lot of difficulty, because there was no products, no customers, nothing, because it was almost eight years ago.
So it was really, really difficult.
-So we can say that it was the beginning of everything, you know? So it was in the beginning on this industry starting to grow?
Yeah, exactly. At the beginning, I was not only here in Italy. So, maybe let's say I'm one of the persons who begin it with ''a lot of''.
-Did you have any marketing skills, or did you discover everything on your business, on the way when your business was growing?
Everyone think that actually I'm graduating in marketing or something, because they always come and ask me some advices, some important things.
They say, "How to do this." In that moment, I really didn't have nothing.
I just start like this, okay, but from when I was a child, I knew that I will have something mine. So, when the lashes just come in my life, I said, "Okay, I got it. These are that I am going to do."
-It was like a feeling that, "Okay, I will do it, and I will grow it," yeah?
Yes. And just grow it, of course. I don't say that it was easy, because not having marketing skills is not so good. So, that's why I'm just saying to everyone that it's not like this. There was up and down.
There was ... Sometimes it was really hard, because I understood, and I get a lot of problems in my business, just for the fact that I didn't know how to manage some things.
But then with practice, with some maybe errors, this one just get better and better, obviously.
-I believe I can say that you, at the beginning, you were doing everything intuitively?
Yes, I was.
„sometimes I'm just looking back and saying, "How? How did I get this?" “
-Oh, that's good. Tell us about the steps of growing your business, please.
Actually, it begins in a strange maybe way, because I was working like a barman. In the day, I have like eight, nine hours of working in the bar.
After that, my passion to the lashes, and I told you, because I just didn't have enough customers, I need to cover my incomings.
So, then I will just ... In the evenings, sometimes I was working until 12 o'clock. Sometimes I was working at six in the morning.
So I just get customers and more and more until I left my job. Like everyone, just this happening.
So I left my job at the bar. I started to concentrating on the lashes, and I was making a lot of customers, really.
But then there happened another problem, because I've had customers, but I don't have the products to use.
It was because I was searching in all the Italian shops, and I didn't find lashes.
No good lashes. I just started, "Okay, maybe it's time to import something nice."
I started, of course, from the Russia, and I just got all the lashes, products and everything. But with time, I understood that, actually, I'm working for someone else.
Why should I do this? It's time to create business from this brand, and maybe that represents me, and actually shows who am I, why I'm working this, and the quality.
It just start like this, then just go everything. Like when the passion is something that guides you..
It became just natural. It becomes the academia, there comes the staff, the workers, you have girls, and again, it just became everything, really too natural.
Sometimes I'm just looking back and saying, "How? How did I get this?" But it was just the love for this job.
-When was that moment when you couldn't do your clients anymore? Was it difficult to delegate other people to do work for you?
Actually, yes. This is the worst part of me, because I am too perfectionist. It means that it's really difficult for me to delegate the person.
But thanks again to my lovely sister, she just came... how can I say?
In my life again, and she just took on her the part of the customers.
I was really ... how can I say? Calm, and really it was easier to give, because it was my sister and I know that she loved this job as me.
It was this, but it was really difficult. Not only when I am ... The part of the trainings, there was increasing really too much. I didn't have time.
But it was difficult, not only from this, because I love my customer.
I still love them, and I have a lot of customers that became my best friends from now even, and we hear each other, and we love each other, and I really miss them sometimes.
Because the part of making lashes is still something that I feel inside and I want to do this, and I love it.
-What does it take to transform a small business into a successful company? Is there a company?
Yes. There is a company, and then it became international because we are getting big part of Europe.
There is Romania, Bulgaria, Italy. We're having Albania now and Moldavia, and so on, but not only. Now in June we'll be in Colombia.
How to get successful? Stop sleeping in the nights. Working a lot, and just maybe sometimes you even need to stop thinking about you, and you need just to see to your health.
- To focus?
Exactly, and sometimes it's really too hard for someone. It's maybe happen that not everyone is ready for this. So it was a difficult period.
I will not say that it's wasn't, it was easy. It wasn't. I was sleeping really only a few hours a night, and even the family felt my missing and everything.
But I was too concentrated and just dedicated to this. So we just need to work really hard, but to know what you want.
-So, people, stop sleeping. As Olga said, you have to work. If it's for you, you have to do it, and you will get a business.
No, just sleep sometimes. Half an hour in the evening, and you're done.
-She said it. Yeah, she did it. Could you please share your experience? What common mistakes can be avoided? Were you personally disappointed by something on the way?
Oh! Actually, it will be a big list, because first of all, I'm a woman. And nowadays I think, "Yes, a woman should do business, but they should not forget that they're a woman."
So, first of all, do not forget to love yourself.
That was a mistake of mine that I've done. That's why my transformation now, because everyone is saying just this, because I started to love myself.
This is important too, do not forget this. Yeah, the job is important. Everything is important. The money important. So let's say this is the truth, but you should love yourself more.
It's really the key of everything. And only if something makes you comfortable and makes you feel passion love, and even the desire to do not sleep at night, that's only the way just to get to success.
If you're feeling uncomfortable with this job, with the customers, with everything, it's time to quit it. So just time to hear your heart.
„They are just independent women, maybe some of them are even bigger than me“
-What does your business look like now? How many team members work for you?
In this moment, I have more independent team members. They are not anymore my staff, okay? This is the point of my growing business.
That's why we get in a transformation, because these are professional that are growing by their self with me. They're not anymore my staff, my secretary.
They are colleagues. They are partners and friends.
This is the point of how making it, growing everything, because I was wrong sometimes when I was saying, "Okay, you need to do this, this, this and this,"
because I just saw the person didn't have the possibility to give their creativity, and their force.
And so, when you just say, "Okay, you will have your own, so just think about yourself," just like I told before, the persons became different.
They just started to behave different, so it's not about how many persons because they are too much, but they're independent.
They're independent women, and some guys, that love their job, love the fact that we grow together. I'm not growing alone, so it's just even not about the brand.
It's not all my girls that was my staff, my teachers let's say like this.
They are just independent women that maybe some of them are even bigger than me. More bigger, and more fantastic women, that are becoming just fabulous in lashes.
-Is your family also involved in your business?
Let's say yes. First of all, let's start about my mom. Sometimes she's more worried than me about my business, because she just became a part, like she knows everything.
She knows, "Olga, did you get the import stuff? Did you manage to do that..? ... to do that?" No, she's not only nice, she's just the most amazing person on this world.
She's the only thing that makes me go ahead and just straight because there is no stronger woman than her.
Then there are my sisters that are already in this business. They're making lashes and brows. Even my brother is working with this, and not only, he married a lash-maker.
So yeah, it's just strange, but every person in my business work with me.
-All the time you can feel the support of your family?
Yeah, it's very important.
-Even it's good, or it's bad, but still they're always near you, and if something bad would happen, you always can go to them and say, "Okay, I need your help." That's nice.
I need to say that I'm really lucky with my family. I have a really amazing family that will always support me and take care of me.
Now, without them, maybe all of this wouldn't be possible.
„actually, we invest everything we have, like the last penny of everything...“
-Even now, I started to love her family because of her words. Could you admit that you have achieved the dream of everyone - work less and earn more?
Well, it depends. If the dream of everyone is work less and earn more, I cannot stop sometimes, you know?
Just about these things. I'm not thinking, I never do this for money. These are only money that's there, just coming and going, and they're just like this.
It wasn't my dream, it isn't my dream, just to earn. I'm working for my passion. So actually, I'm working because I love to do it, as I told it.
-That's why you don't count even the hours you're spending in your business.
Maybe, yeah. Maybe that's why.
-Mostly when people are just starting to do business, they are always thinking, "Okay, now I will do business. I will earn good money, and I will work less." But in the process, it's becoming your passion. And it doesn't matter are you earning money, you're still working much harder to go much higher. Am I right?
Yes, but not only, because sometimes we do not earn anything. There are days that do not earn anything.
Actually, we invest everything we have, like the last penny of everything we invest in what we have in new trainings.
There is always something really new, and in a new level of conscious and something of new knowledges at different levels.
So, it's not like getting money, it's earning, or not working. Sometimes we're just earning, yeah. I'm not saying that we're not earning.
Every respectable lash-maker actually could handle even a salary that some plastic surgeon is not making. So we're not saying this, but there are ... how can I say?
Some little things to understand. That is not the point.
-But you can understand them only then when you are making a business?
Yeah, that's right.
-What does the word "success" mean to you? Tell us.
It's changed. In all these years, it changed. When I started, I thought there was the money.
Okay, I will learn more so I will be successful, then I will get nice car, an apartment, et cetera, et cetera. Sometimes, all this changed.
When all my customers start to love me, that was my success. That was the meaning of my working and all these hours.
After a few years, there come my baby, as you told. So, now this is my success. Everything changed, and I think it depends on what level, and what period of your life you are, to understand what is your success.
For now, for me, is being a good mother, and trying at least to maintain as much as possible my business. This is my success, and to have just the harmony at home.
-What are your plans for the next year, please?
I will not tell these plans. You know why I will not tell it?
Because, actually, I don't know them. My life demonstrated me in all these years, it's just going like I want to go my life.
Sometimes I just program this being a kind of person that program everything.
I was programming, "Okay, in two months I will be there. In a year, I will be there. In half a year, I will make this, this, this," and just when the moments come,
I understood that, actually, it's not in my force to control this.
So I think we'll meet in that one year.
-You just want to be free person?
I really want to be a free person.
What would you wish for Lashlandia TV?
Lashlandia and me have a nice story, and you know it. I love the positivity that you're giving. I like your new trainings. I like all your new plans, so me and Lashlandia will just be one heart.