Julie Butler Interview
“I got knocked down, I got back up fighting twice. Now my business is going international”- Julie Butler.
We at BoxHuman take time to celebrate founders behind the businesses. Especially the ones who are inspiring, helping and bringing light within the world. We do this in order to rebalance some of the negative messages we often hear, see and receive on a daily basis. We quickly met up with one of these amazing individuals…
Hi Julie, let’s start by getting to know you. Can you please tell us a little bit about you and what you especially known for?
I’m a mum of three boys (all married now and left home) and a Nana to three beautiful grandchildren. I am also the CEO and founder of an international online lash supplies company – LashBase
Thank you Julie, that was a great introduction! Can you please tell us more about your business Lashbase and what is it all about?
LashBase Ltd is a wholesale eyelash business supplying individual eyelash extensions and all lash related products to salons, mobile beauty technicians and beauty schools. So, in a nutshell, we sell everything a lash technician could ever need! We also have a training academy and we train people in lash lifts, classic and volume lashes in several locations around the UK.
We are about supplying quality, safety regulated compliant products with a high standard of customer service. It is very important our customers receive the best service at all times. We give individual and personal care and we pride ourselves on that.
Wow, what a great customer care ethos! Can you please tell us what inspired you to go into the beauty industry and start your own business in the first place?
When my boys left school I felt redundant and realised I needed to do something for myself. This is when I decided to start my own business. I enrolled in a number of beauty courses the last one being eyelash extensions. I planned to work from a room in my home offering these services and thought it would be a nice part-time job for some pocket money.
Within a very short time I was working 9 am-9 pm seven days a week just doing eyelash extensions. I loved it, it became my passion. At this time eyelash extensions were in its infancy and there were not many places to be able to get supplies from and they were also very expensive. I couldn’t understand how these items were as much as they were so I decided to start researching to see if I could improve on prices.
I initially intended this to be for my own benefit. However, once I started I realised there was a market for it and I’d be helping others too. I thrived on the hard work and always had the desire to do more. Needless to say, there is never enough hours in the day and I’d got to my limit so I had to make changes. That’s when I decided to put all my efforts into product supply. I think I made the right choice!
Wow that’s an inspiring reason to start your business and what a great outcome! So, what has been your biggest achievement and proudest moment so far in your business and why?
We have just had LashBase’s 10th anniversary so I feel that is great achievement and one to be proud of. However last year I finally got my youngest son to join the company along with his brothers who both came on board five years ago.
It may seem silly but this is definitely my biggest achievement and indeed my proudest. It’s amazing to now have all my three boys by my side helping me build and grow something I love. The reason is, family has and will always be the most important thing in my life but the business is important too so I can now say “I have my cake and eat it too”
Congratulations on your 10th anniversary and achievements Julie! Okay so knowing that we’re in the presence of a lash and beauty expert can you please give three top expert tips someone should know about choosing eye lashes?
When choosing eyelashes it is important to know that one size does not fit all. Make sure to always consider which length, thickness and type is suitable for each individual client to protect the health of their natural lashes.
Great advice! We’re sure that some of our readers are now happy after reading that expert tip. As with anything and especially with life and business it can have its highs and lows. So what’s been your biggest challenge that you’ve had to go through since starting and running your business and how did you overcome it?
Believe me, there have been plenty of challenging moments and no doubt many more to come. I’m not sure what I’d class as my biggest. However, one challenging time was maybe a year or so after I started I received a letter from a Trademark solicitor telling me I must stop using the name I’d chosen for my brand and hand over the website domain too.
At this time although the business was called LashBase, the lashes and products were branded in a different name. They were acting on behalf of a company in the States who had the same name. It was a bit of a shock, to say the least, and I really wasn’t sure how serious to take their threats, I guess because I didn’t understand. I sought legal advice but unfortunately found I would be fighting a losing battle.
Although I had applied for a Trademark it turned out that they had too but a couple of months before I had and even though we didn’t do the same thing it still came under beauty so I knew I could never win. I had no choice but to do as they asked. I was given a deadline to cease trading with that name, remove all photos from our site or anywhere I’d used it and give the domain I’d bought.
This was a challenging time because I didn’t want to lose trade but had to get everything changed. What I couldn’t change I had to dispose of and buy again. I worked day and night to meet the deadline and financially took a hit but even though it was hard and I wasn’t happy, I knew there was no alternative, it just had to be done and I moved on.
Every step good or bad is a lesson learned.
Thank you for sharing that Julie. That experience must have been very hard, so its inspiring to see how you and your business have bounced back after it all. Let’s now change the mood and lift it all the way up. Here are some quick upbeat questions. Lets go…1) What do you do to empower or motivate yourself on a daily basis? 2) Who inspires you and why? And….3) What is your favourite quote that inspires you?
1) My workday begins early in the morning with a HITTS class at the gym. This gives me so much energy and releases endorphins in my brain that really makes me feel good and positive for my day ahead.
2) I don’t have anyone in particular who inspires me but I can be inspired at anytime by lots of different people I meet. I’m inspired by people who work hard, show drive and passion for whatever they are doing but are genuine, honest and kind. When I meet anyone like this I get a burning desire to do more and be best I can.
3) There are so many good inspirational quotes but there is probably two I live by and they are,
“Push yourself, because no one else is going to do it for you” and “Success doesn’t just find you. You have to go out and get it”
Brilliant answers and we love the quotes! What would you say to inspire and empower someone who was going to start a business? And…What piece of advice would you have liked to have known before you started your business?
Having your own business is the best thing in the world and worth doing. I would definitely say to anyone who really wanted to start their own business to go for it. Work hard but be patient. Set goals and use each day or week as a step up the ladder to improve, to be better and get a little closer to your goals. If you have the hunger to succeed, you’ll have the power to achieve it.
One piece of advice I would have liked to of known before starting my business is probably to learn more about your competitors than they know about you. This is something that comes in so handy and I have learned from this over the years.
What future goals do you still want to achieve with your business and why? And if there was one thing you would have done differently when you first started what would it have been and why?
My future goal is to succeed in America. Although we are known in the US and have customers there it is hard to service them properly from the UK. So we are launching LashBase Inc in March from Atlanta Georgia. It’s like starting all over again, a new business. It’s going to be an exciting new challenge but one I cannot wait for.
Looking back at things I would have done differently, I think the one thing that comes to mind is training. We have our own training academy but it was only started two years ago although I’d been talking about it since I began in the industry. I think that is what I’d do differently. I would have introduced training much earlier as it complements the business so well and helps others carve out new careers, which is one of the most rewarding parts of the job.
Thank you Julie for sharing such inspiring words of advice! And last but not least… A BoxHuman is an empowered individual. They will not be defined by society’s labels. They show the better qualities of humankind, such as strength, kindness and inspiration. Can you please tell us what makes you a BoxHuman?
That’s a good question! In the 10 years of growing and building LashBase, I would like to think that I am a BoxHuman through showing the qualities of strength and kindness along the way.
Yes, I work hard for myself and for my family but for me, it’s about how I can help build everyone in the industry to be successful. Not just my immediate team but all the people out there that purchase our products, get in contact on social media or choose to train with us.
To me this is what LashBase embodies, helping and supporting others in their careers, offering advice and seeing our community grow into talented and successful lash artists, not just in the UK but all over the world. The beauty industry sometimes carries a negative stigma, but I like to think LashBase challenges this and proves that the industry can be a supportive and encouraging place.
I also think the lessons I’ve learned from a young age have had such an influence on how I do things and how I want my business to be. I know the importance of working hard and I don’t expect things to be handed to me. If I get knocked down I get up fighting twice as hard which hopefully provides inspiration to others.