Valarie Lozano knew that she had done everything in the world of banking — working her way from teller to a loan processor — and she knew that she was missing something.
However, as a single mother of two, navigating the what and how was a big part she needed to overcome. Banking provided security. Still, she knew that she wanted a change.
"Making the jump to quit my career and go into cosmetology school, with little to no income, was very scary But it worked." — Valarie Lozano
Applying the lashes is a precise and technical job that requires a delicate touch.
That change came in the form of a chance conversation during a haircut with Anabel Medrano — the can-do co-owner of 1962 Barbering Co.
"She told me you should get into beauty," Lozano said of her conversation with Medrano. The beauty industry was something she had already considered, but that nudge proved to be crucial.
"My first question to (Anabel Medrano) was can you even make money doing that?" Lozano said. Medrano's response was classic: "She looked at me like I was stupid," Lozano said with a hint of embarrassment.
"That's pretty much how it went," Lozano said.
Fast forward more than a year later, and Lozano now owns Lash Stash — next to 1962 Barbering Co. along Jefferson Street in Kerrville. Her specialty? Well, the name says it all — eyelashes. That's right; it's a business dedicated solely to giving an extra bit of glamour and pop.
It wasn't necessarily easy getting there.
"Making the jump to quit my career and go into cosmetology school, with little to no income, was very scary," Lozano said. "But it worked."
After 12 years in banking, Lozano discovered she is setting her hours and adjusting to life as an entrepreneur. While Kerrville is loaded with nail salons, a place dedicated to eyelashes is a new concept, and Lozano built a clientele during her time in cosmetology school.
The timing also proved to be a challenge — coronavirus hit. Since the pandemic proved to limit, Lozano, 34, converted her backyard shed into a lashing studio. Finally, as the pandemic settled, Lozano decided it was time for a dedicated studio.
When Anabel and Daniel Medrano expanded their business by purchasing the building next to their barbershop and speakeasy — La Escondida 1962 — the first person they had in mind as a tenant was Lozano.
"Finally, I made a move," Lozano said. "Lashes have been great. I'm so glad I pursued it."
Lozano wants each one of her clients to relax and enjoy the sessions. So, she's created a spa-like environment, with a recliner and a relaxed vibe.
The technical challenge of lashing is far more than just sticking on a set of fake eyelashes. The design of each session is about precision, providing a natural and enduring look and giving the client a relaxing experience.
"I fall asleep every time," said Anabel Medrano, who lays back in a recliner as Lozano works.
The precision of the work is equally pleasing for Lozano, who is one of only a handful of practitioners in Kerrville.
"Lashing is my therapy," Lozano said. "It brings me peace. It's kind of like a calming, spa-type setting. So, it's a relaxed feel."
The procedure is essentially a fill onto a client's natural lashes, and they last for a few weeks before having to be re-filled.
"It's not harmful to your natural lashes," Lozano said.
Lozano's clientele ranges from teens all the way to a 75-year-old cancer patient who wanted to bolster her lashes after radiation.
Each lash is delicately attached to a natural eyelash.
When Lozano first attended cosmetology school in Kerrville, the lashing work she was doing was self-guided — a more robust program would have required an out-of-town education, which wasn't an option for Lozano and her elementary-school-aged daughters.
She's made it work, and she sees the benefit.
"With lashing I can work until midnight," Lozano explained, juxtaposing her previous career in banking where the opportunities to expand her income were confined. "You can make as much money as you want. Most recently, I've inspired my children because they want to practice, and they want to be my receptionist."
So, the decision has been empowering, and Lozano is ready to continue to grow one lash at a time.