As a group of women working towards common goals for STYLE Canada‘s brand and business, we understand the value of peer support in the workplace. So, after our last Supper Club at Soho House, we decided to bring like-minded women in business together and feature them in an ongoing series: #LeadingLadies. Learn more about #LeadingLady Raquel DaSilva, founder of LashGod and Modern Aesthetics College, below.
SC: After working from home as an eyelash extension artist for years, what made you decide to finally take the plunge and open up your own storefront?
RD: After providing lash services out of my dad’s basement for about two years, I knew I wanted to take my business to the next level and give my family some privacy (so my dad wasn’t constantly answering the door to clients in his boxers!). I consulted with my parents and took the next natural step: I leased a condo and really started to pursue entrepreneurship with the official launch of LASHGOD.
Eventually, my entire condo was full of lash supplies, fellow lash technicians and clients. I’m a big believer in never doing anything until I’ve absolutely maxed-out space. I decided to take the plunge and find a real salon space. Faith brought me to my amazing landlord Vijay Kanwar, a highly successful businessman, who leased me my first storefront location on the highly coveted midtown Don Mills strip at 1310 Don Mills Road. LASHGOD’s flagship retail and salon location were born!
SC: What inspired you to start training up-and-coming entrepreneurs on how to run their own successful lash businesses from home?
RD: About two years into my home-based aesthetics career I decided I wanted to share what I had learned with others. I was getting a ton of inquiries on social media and from my clients, asking if I would be doing any lash extensions classes. Having my own business completely changed my life and I knew I could help many other young women and men gain financial independence and find a career path they loved. I knew I wanted to teach both aesthetics and basic business fundamentals to ensure my graduates felt excited and prepared to create their own beauty businesses as skilled technicians. I am living proof that there is a lot of opportunity in the lash extension industry.
SC: You offer online courses on business fundamentals and courses for lash extensions, hair extensions and nails. How many of your students have started their own businesses after taking your courses?
RD: One interesting thing about Modern Aesthetic College is that we help every single student launch their business Instagram page on the first day of their course. We also encourage our students to practice on friends and family to build up their skill to a point where they are 100 per cent confident, and our business building course provides all the information needed so they can register, insure and use consent forms at their business as well as provide timelines and tasks to help them grow.
At least 80 per cent of all our graduates pursue building their own business in the field of the certificate program they took, and while it depends on the drive and persistence of each individual, our educational directors and mentors ensure every single student has easy access to assistance and in-house resources to help make their business successful. Every student is also given complimentary mentorship as well as free refresher courses.
Modern Aesthetic College offers in-person and online medical aesthetic programs to train and certify lash and brow technicians, hairstylists, nail artists and aestheticians.
SC: Were they any learning curves when it came to running your own academy?
RD: The biggest learning curve was adapting to each student’s personality and making sure that I gave them the best learning experience possible. Every person has their own learning style and a different perception of what good quality education is. I really had to mould myself to be the perfect amount of fun, relatable and disciplined while demonstrating what I was teaching in a way that would accommodate visual, aural, verbal, logical, social and solitary learners. Really understanding how to best teach every person, especially in a group setting, was definitely the biggest learning curve that has taken me years to master.
SC: What did you learn about yourself after becoming a teacher?
RD: Being an educator truly changed my life. After becoming a teacher and receiving so much positive feedback from students, I realized my destiny was to help people find their greater purpose. I watched hundreds of my students from all over the world transform into six-figure-earning bosses in front of my eyes. The positive results fuelled me to reach a larger audience and change more lives. Seeing so many people accomplishing their goals gave me a greater mission to continue focusing on building my own business – from opening more locations where our like-minded community could gather, creating more social content that makes people feel good and developing more innovative products and educational courses.
SC: You created a clothing company called GirlGod with your business partner Tien Nguyen. Where did you guys meet and what inspired you to start a fashion line?
RD: Amazing question! Funnily enough, I met Tien at a nail salon that she worked at through her best friend Bambi. Months later I asked them both if they would come for an interview with me. We hit it off immediately. They initially came to LASHGOD as nail technicians and one day Tien pitched me to help build up the LASHGOD company. In blind faith, I said yes and upgraded her to media management, and she pretty much took on all tasks related to improving the functionality of the company.
After a year of being absolutely blown away by her work ethic I decided she was too valuable to simply employ. We shared a mutual interest in fashion and she had production resources back home in Vietnam, plus prior business-to-business fashion e-commerce experience. My business knowledge, love for fashion and loyal consumer base combined with her resources, experience and unique style has been a recipe for success. Making a lifelong commitment to Tien with our shared business GIRLGOD is one of the best decisions I ever made.
SC: What’s your beauty routine like?
RD: My beauty routine is pretty simple. It starts with a healthy foundation of well-cared-for skin! I use Vivier pharmaceutical grade cleanser, followed by LASHGOD witch hazel and all-natural rosehip seed oil. I wear my LASHGOD Face Trainer for one hour while I prep my day, choose my outfit and make my morning calls. I also wear my LASHGOD x GIRLGOD Curvature Waist Trainer two to six hours daily. It’s super flexible and doesn’t interrupt the organs or cause any internal damage. I’m a big believer in all the products we create at LASHGOD and I’ve made them to aid the everyday beauty routine.
Then I move onto my makeup regime which starts with a glow oil, a sparkly base to give my face an illuminated shine, then my Nars Pure Radiant Tinted moisturizer and Tarte Shape Tape Concealer, followed by my all-time fave, Lise Watier Havana Bronzer and Rodial Beauty Banana Powder to set my under eyes and forehead. I use Nars Orgasm Blush with Revlon #33 on the apples of my cheeks. Top it all off, I use Becca or Artist Couture highlighter on my inner eyes, cheeks and Cupid’s bow. Last but certainly not least, my lipstick addiction kicks in. I typically choose a deep red or pink colour to add a seductive flair. My fave lipstick is any shade of Guerlain with a Dior gloss on top.
SC: On your channel, you discuss the importance of goal setting and having a positive mindset. What advice would give you to someone who constantly doubts themselves?
RD: To anyone who doubts themselves, and I speak from personal experience… If you want other people to believe in you, you first have to have an unwavering belief in yourself. Every human has the same capability, we are all infinitely powerful and we are all responsible for creating our own future. Success comes from within, so do whatever it takes to gain self-confidence.
I recommend saying positive ‘I am affirmations’ and getting on a positive frequency first thing in the morning by singing, smiling and getting ready to a point where you feel as confident as you possibly can. The way you feel in your mind literally creates your reality. You are a creator, every thought holds powerful creation and energy. The beauty of being human is being able to close your eyes and imagine anything you want.
Whenever I’m overwhelmed, I close my eyes for 10 minutes and escape the hardships of reality. Write down all the characteristics of the person you want to be and take action to mould yourself to be that person. I promise you with consistent effort, even the most doubtful person can transform into a strong and positive person.
SC: On your channel, you discuss the importance of wearing a cute outfit. Do you believe that a good outfit can give you the extra confidence boost you need?
RD: The perfect outfit will make or break your day. Feeling dressed for the occasion will automatically give you a ray of confidence and an extra boost of self-love. Taking pride in dressing up has transformed my life. I feel that creating your own personal style is something you should love doing every day. Decide what you want to dress your ‘character’ like each day and absolutely own it. When you’re confident in your outfit, you can better embody the person you want to be.
SC: After years of running your own business, what advice would you give to people who want to become their own boss?
RD: To all the ladies and gentlemen out there wanting to take the plunge and start their own business, my recipe for success is to pinpoint the perfect career path for you and what you really want to do. Make a plan: What action will you take each day towards achieving this goal? Research people and brands who have achieved something similar to your goal and incorporate their trial and error into your plan. Do three tasks per day that will help achieve your business goal.
Ideas backed by persistent action will allow you to reach your goal every single time. The most important factor in my business growth is my belief in myself. No matter what anyone says, I believe in me and I will never stop trying. If you do the same, there’s no doubt in my mind that you will be successful. I am a living example that consistent work pays off.