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22 June 2023

Meet Leola Abondano

Meet Leola Abondano

Are you ready to meet your new lash BFF? Allow us to introduce you to the one and only Leola from @bewitchinglashes! This Texas-based lash artist is causing a stir in the industry with her adorable and quirky lash apparel designs that will make you smile.

Here at UA, we've been blown away by Leola's work ethic, creativity, and ability to infuse humor into everything she creates. We simply had to collaborate with her and ensure all of our fellow lash nerds could get their hands on a limited-edition design by Leola herself!

But first things first, we wanted to let you get to know Leola and all the incredible, inspiring things that make Bewitching Lashes one of a kind.

What led to you becoming a lash artist?

Have you ever heard the saying, "Life is what happens while you're making other plans"? That's exactly what happened to me when I stumbled into the lash industry. At first, I had my heart set on being an esthetician and providing facials. I didn't think lash artistry was for me - it looked too tedious! But as fate would have it, while applying for jobs after graduating from esti school, I decided to take a chance and applied for a lash company on a whim. And to my surprise, they hired me!

As I began my training, I quickly fell in love with lashes. There's something so impactful about making clients feel beautiful and confident. And before I knew it, I was hooked.

Tell me about your career in the lash industry:

My journey in the lash industry has had its ups and downs, but it's been an incredible learning experience. I started working for a lash corporation, but after four years of dealing with a toxic work environment, I knew it was time for a change.

I decided to take a leap of faith and start my own business. It was challenging, but it was worth it! Being my own boss has allowed me the freedom to create a positive work-life balance. I get to see the impact my work has on my clients' confidence and self-esteem. Making people feel beautiful is a total rush!

What inspired you to pivot to lash apparel?

Have you ever had an idea that sparked something inside you, and you just couldn't let it go? That's how I felt two years ago when I came up with the idea to launch lash tees for fellow lash artists.

What started as a way to make some extra cash turned into a passion project that I've grown to love. The creative process of designing each shirt has been incredibly fulfilling, almost as much as the feeling I get when a client is thrilled with their lashes.

I've enjoyed this journey so much that I'm now working towards making it my full-time gig and stepping back from lashing. There's something amazing about being able to blend my love for lashing with my passion for design. Plus, seeing fellow lash artists rock my apparel brings me so much joy.

Overall, pivoting to lash apparel has been an unexpected but incredible journey. Who knows where it will take me next, but I'm excited to find out!

Where did you get the inspiration for the UA + Bewitching Lashes design?

Last year, I had an epiphany that changed my mornings forever - my good mood truly is sponsored by coffee and lashes! There's nothing quite like the feeling of freshly done lashes and a delicious iced coffee to start your day the right way. And let's be real, being a lash artist without that caffeine kick is like trying to swim without water.

I tried my hand at designing something that captured the essence of this feeling, but nothing seemed quite right. So, I stashed the idea away until inspiration struck again. And boy, did it strike! A few months ago, I was having a chat with Annemarie when she suggested the ultimate combo - boba and lashes. I knew we had it!

We had been searching for the perfect design to showcase our love for all things lashes and caffeine, but it had to be something that represented our brand and personalities. 

Finally, we found it - the "My Good Mood is Sponsored by Coffee/Boba and Lashes" tee! This design was perfect for us, and we knew we had to collaborate and bring it to life.

So, get ready to show off your love for fabulous lashes and caffeinated drinks with our exclusive Bewitching Lashes + Untamed Artistry tee. It's the perfect way to stay in a good mood all day long, and represent the lash life 100%

Describe what your design process looks like:

Designing lash apparel is such a labor of love. When it comes to my design process, I start with brainstorming ideas and inspiration. So much inspiration comes to me at the most random times! I’ll be in the grocery store, and BOOM, idea hits me.  I always put my inspo and thoughts straight into my notes. My list of ideas is a mile long!

From there, I begin sketching out rough drafts of designs, playing around with different fonts, graphics, and slogans. Once I have a solid concept in mind, I'll move on to digitizing the design using graphic design software.

The next step is crucial - I like to give myself some time away from the design before coming back to it with fresh eyes. This allows me to spot any errors or make any necessary tweaks to ensure that the design is just right.

Once I'm happy with the final design, it's time to put it on a t-shirt or other piece of apparel. I work with printers who specialize in apparel printing to ensure that the design is printed just as I envisioned it.

Overall, my design process is all about taking my passion for the lash industry and translating it into wearable art. It's a process that requires patience, creativity, and attention to detail - but the end result is always worth it.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a lash apparel designer + brand?

Running a brand is no easy feat, and I've faced my fair share of challenges along the way. However, if I had to pick one, I would say that the biggest challenge has been finding the right balance between inventory and sales.

It can be difficult to determine how much inventory to have for each drop, and it's always a guessing game as to which designs will do well. Sometimes a design will take off, while other times, it falls flat. It's all part of the process, but it can be frustrating at times.

Another challenge has been figuring out why a design may not perform as well as expected. Was it the actual design itself? Was it the timing of the drop or my marketing tactics? These are all questions that I ask myself when analyzing the success (or lack thereof) of a particular design.

Despite these challenges, I've learned that perseverance and flexibility are key. It's important to be able to adapt and pivot as needed while keeping the big picture in mind. With each challenge comes an opportunity for growth, and I'm excited to continue learning and evolving as my brand grows.

Can you share some advice for new lash artists?

Starting a new business, especially in the lash industry, can be overwhelming. However, one piece of advice I'd give to any new lash artist is to get out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there.

When I started my own lash business, I quickly realized that success was directly proportional to the amount of work I put in. I had to push past my fears and insecurities and reach out to people to let them know about me and my business.

It wasn't easy, especially since I was new in town and didn't have any friends or family to promote my services. But persistence paid off - after a few months of putting myself out there, I had a full book of clients, and word of mouth had taken over.

So my advice to you is to be patient and persistent. Growing a successful business takes time, and it's important not to rush or compare yourself to others. Remember that the lash artists you see on social media have worked hard for their success, and it didn't happen overnight.

Stay focused, stay driven, and don't be afraid to get outside of your comfort zone. With hard work and dedication, you can achieve anything you set your mind to!

What’s next season's inspiration looking like for you?

Looking ahead to the second half of the year, I'm thrilled to share that I have some exciting things in the works for next season.

First up is a design that I'm particularly passionate about, which is set to drop in August. The concept centers around community versus competition, with a focus on celebrating the lash sisterhood. I can't wait to share this design with everyone!

But that's not all - I'm already hard at work on my annual spooky lash tee, which has become a fan favorite year after year. I'm always looking for new and innovative ways to incorporate Halloween vibes into my designs, and this year is no exception.

To be honest, I have a long list of ideas that I'm currently mulling over. Each drop is tailored to be unique and intentional, so it's just a matter of figuring out which designs to prioritize and in what order.

Overall, I'm excited to see what the rest of the year has in store. With each new design, I hope to continue spreading the love and positivity that the lash industry is known for. Stay tuned for more updates!

And last but not least:

What are some words you live by?

One of my favorite mottos that I have ALWAYS loved by and has motivated me 

“Do what you have to, so you can do what you want to.”

When you purchase your GOOD MOOD snuggly soft locally produced tee you’re supporting local women-owned businesses to the fullest, from the designer + curator to the print shop and everyone in between, they are all passionate female entrepreneurs and that’s even sweeter than your fave coffee and boba sip! 

So, whether you're sipping on your morning coffee or boba, or just hanging out with your lash-lovin’ friends, this limited edition tee is a must-have addition to your lash apparel collection. Get it now and let the world know that you're all about that lash life!

Be sure to follow Leola for updates on her latest merch @bewitchinglashes +

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