Original interview with Jennifer Blair written for The Pittsburgh Business Times by Jordyn Hronec.
With 125 franchise locations across the United States and Canada and more on the way, Pittsburgh-based Deka Lash is making a splash in the beauty industry. The company was founded in 2012 by Pittsburgh native Jennifer Blair and her husband Michael. Each Deka Lash location employs “Lash Artists,” individuals trained in applying semi-permanent, customizable eyelash extensions. The company also offers services that include eyelash curling and eyebrow lamination. For the Blairs, it’s a family affair, with the couple’s two oldest daughters also working for the company. The company started franchising in 2016, and there are currently 11 Deka Lash locations in the Pittsburgh region.
What first drew you to work in the beauty industry?
Growing up, I was kind of surrounded by beauty and the beauty industry. My mother worked in a hair salon. And so when I was young, I grew up watching her do that. And I was in pageants and modeling. So it seemed like a natural fit when it was time for me to go back to work after my kids started getting older. And it was something that I felt would be rewarding, being in the beauty industry. You are making people feel beautiful and helping them, so that also was just part of my DNA, that’s something that I always enjoy doing, being around people, socializing, talking and making people feel good.
Why eyelash extensions?
It kind of just happened naturally. Eyelash extensions were fairly new back in 2012. I was somebody who always loved to get strip lashes put on. If there was a special event or a wedding, that was one thing that I always did, where you would go and have them applied at the mall. And when I heard about eyelash extensions and that there was something that lasted longer, I really liked that you didn’t have to put them on daily. So whenever I looked into that, I tried to find a place to have them done around Pittsburgh, and it was really hard. There weren’t a lot of places doing them. They were really expensive. And that’s when I decided to look into training and take a class, and that’s when the idea came about. I saw that there was this gap in the industry where there really wasn’t anybody specializing in this new service, and I thought that I would give it a try.