Live Love Lash's Amy Dickerson
Our series Talk Shop is a career and style profile featuring personalities from various industries. They are shot on location in Cherry Creek sometimes wearing clothing from stores in the area. Writer JORDAN LAUDADIO interviews Amy Dickerson, owner of Live Love Lash in Cherry Creek North. Amy wears clothing from her closet.
PHOTOGRAPHED BY ESTHER LEE LEACH // LOCATION: LIVE LOVE LASH
Stepping out of the dense summer heat and into the clean, cool space of Live Love Lash’s Cherry Creek studio was a welcome relief. Exposed brick, plenty of seating and friendly faces greeted me as I sat down with the “Keeper of the Culture”, Amy Dickerson, to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey, style inspiration and how she strives to inspire her staff every day. Amy is the award-winning esthetician and founder of Live Love Lash, which celebrates its 7th anniversary this month.
Jordan Laudadio: Amy, Tell me about your background and how you started this incredible business?
Amy Dickerson: After working on cruise ships throughout my twenties, I traveled the world as an art auctioneer, which was perfect for that time in my life. My husband is from Wisconsin, and we decided to move back there together. Once I was there, I realized there really wasn’t much of a market for art auctioneers in Madison, WI. So, at 29 years old I was at a crossroads, trying to figure out what was next. After trying lash extensions once in LA in 2004, (which at the time was a new brand new industry that was just getting off the ground) I just loved how easy and effortless they looked. I wanted to find somewhere in Madison to get my lashes done and there wasn’t one. The closest lash studio was down in Chicago, a three hour drive. That was my lightbulb moment. I thought, “this is what I want to do”. I loved the way it made me feel and I loved the way it looked. I started doing research on the industry and found Xtreme Lashes, who is now our main vendor here. I got my esthetician’s license and immediately started working out of salons in Madison. I opened my first studio in 2006 and it was just gangbusters from there. I started traveling for Xtreme Lashes as an educator, which often took me to Denver. The market hadn’t really “hit” here yet, and there weren’t any exclusively lash-focused studios. It was another light bulb moment. I spoke to my husband, we both loved Denver and agreed that the Wisconsin winters go on a little too long. In 2012, I sold my Madison studio and we moved to Cherry Creek, where I opened Live Love Lash with another girl. Now, we have 25 employees and two locations. It's just been an amazing journey. Fourteen years later, it’s still something I’m really passionate about.
JL: Live Love Lash is a neighborhood favorite! Tell us more about all the services that you offer.
AD: We truly pride ourselves on excellent customer service and making everyone feel comfortable when they come in the door. We love when people pop in and say hi. In a neighborhood like Cherry Creek, the streets are very walkable, but there can be a barrier of entry. I really want people to stop in, walk around, ask questions and see what we do. Everyone is welcome. We have services for both men and women. As well, every staff member at Live Love Lash is very well-trained; is either a licensed esthetician, RN or cosmetologist and has gone through the Xtreme Lashes advanced training programs. Finally, though we are called Live Love Lash, we do offer other fantastic services inside (like Hydrate IV Bar microblading and waxing), which I don’t think a lot of people know.
JL: I love that your business card doesn’t say Owner. Your title is “Keeper of the Culture”. I want to know what that means!
AD: To me, it means setting up all the stylists for success, and setting them on a path so they are even better than I am at this job. It's really fun to watch them grow their careers and to help them along that path. I am open to whatever my girls become passionate about, which helps us grow and expand our service offering to our loyal clientele. We try to stay on trend and bring things on and off the menu and we're constantly adapting to what is relevant in the industry right now.
JL: What do you love about having a business in Cherry Creek North?
AD: One thing I love about Cherry Creek is you can park once and do multiple things. You can go to the bank, go to lunch, go shopping, get your hair done, and run many errands but park just one time. And that it’s well-lit and safe, that’s very important to me with as many employees as I have. I want the girls to feel comfortable leaving at eight o'clock at night in the winter to get into their cars. I have really gotten involved in the neighborhood: I’m on the board of the Cherry Creek Chamber and I really feel like this is our neighborhood. I was an Air Force kid, so I moved around all the time. It feels really nice to know people and feel rooted.
JL: If someone isn’t sure what type of lash treatment they’re looking for, how can Live Love Lash help?
AD: The main thing to know is, we are all things lashes. We have something for everyone, depending on the level someone desires for their look. Our primary service is, of course, the Xtreme Lashes extensions but we also offer a service called Lash Lift which is actually a perm for your lashes, it curls and tints them. We also offer lash tints and a few different growth serums that accentuate and strengthen what you have naturally using a peptide-based serum. As far as health and safety, one thing I’d like for people to know about the lash industry is that more is not always more. The smartest path is to do what’s appropriate for your specific hair type, because so many unique factors play into how your hair grows --and that includes your eyelashes! At Live Love Lash, we discuss plans with each client and customize to them individually. There is a lot going on in the lash industry right now, and it’s important to do the research and understand the necessity of getting these services done correctly and doing what’s appropriate and safe.
JL: What is the most requested service here?
AD: When people pick up the phone, they’re calling about our Xtreme Lashes. Everyone thinks lash extensions are for the glamour girl, but really, our biggest clientele is people that don’t want to wear a ton of makeup. They just want to wash their face and go. Everybody has their own beauty routine,that makes them feel great. The truth is, women have been trying to glue things to their eyeballs to be fabulous since the dawn of time. In fact, in 1916, the filmmaker D.W. Griffin made the very first set of false eyelashes for an actress and since then it’s evolved. We’ve obviously come a long way and have a much more advanced process: we apply one extension to one hair of the lashes and they shed and grow with your hair growth.
JL: Congratulations on winning XTreme Lashes Trainer of the Year 2017! Tell me more about the Xtreme Lash process?
AD: The Xtreme Lashes process starts from the time the client walks in all the way to teaching them how to care for their lashes after they walk out the door. XTreme Lashes was started by an ICU nurse named Jo Mousselli, who created the education process after the nursing training process, making Xtreme Lashes the most comprehensive brand on the market, in my opinion. Jo produces her products with research and development and a team of nurses, doctors, engineers, lash stylists. We aren’t just getting products from overseas and slapping a label on them, XTreme Lashes actually produces a line of products ranging from after care, to facial cleansers, to makeup, to the medical grade adhesive used as the bonding agent for the lashes. Everything is compatible with the lash extensions and works together to compliment the end result. Plus, the product line is just beautiful. It has great ingredients and great botanicals in it and it’s something that I’m proud to sell.
JL: You are very innovative when it comes to business. What are the future plans for Live Love Lash?
AD: I've always been open to what the universe presents to me. I’ve never tried to force anything into a direction I don't see it naturally moving into. That being said, we might grow into more locations, it might be something that I sell to the employees to step into more of a mentorship role and start working with small businesses. I really enjoy the education piece: I love sharing what I've learned and improving the technique of anyone that’s interested in this process. Who knows? Maybe I’ll write a book, or start a podcast!
This month we are celebrating seven years of our Cherry Creek Studio being open, and one year for our Highlands studio. I didn’t even realize they opened the same week, of the same month, until someone pointed it out to me! Other than that, we're always participating in the community and we always do great specials we love seeing new clients. The best way to stay in the know is to follow us on Instagram or join our email list.
JL: Because this is Cherry Creek Fashion, I must ask the question: As a successful business owner, do you have any style tips? Who are your style inspirations? Where do you shop in Denver?
AD: At this point in my life I'm moving around all the time and I’m very busy. Whatever I wear to work has to be comfortable and has to be well-built. I love shopping in Cherry Creek, it has everything you need! I shop a lot at Garbarini, Mariel, Denver Darling, Ever Eve. I have my little route. I can’t remember the last time I went shopping for clothes outside of Cherry Creek. Everything I have on today is actually all from stores around here, it’s just so easy! I’m also the girl that always has two pairs of shoes. I love to start my day in heels, but I might end up going down to a cool tennis shoe or a flat during the day, then I’ll kick the heels back on for a networking event in the evening. I always like to have options for whatever the day brings my way.
Cherry Creek Fashion TV’s The Beauty Report with Amy Dickerson