Noir Lash Lounge: Staying Inspired During the Pandemic
In a world rife with virtual connections and remote collaborations, you might think cosmetic services have become a moot point - but seasoned beautician Joyce Poon disagrees.
The Founder and CEO of Noir Lash Lounge recognized a revamped desire to look our best and nurture our self-esteem – especially as many folks stare at their digitized reflection on countless video calls. Apart from camera fatigue, she also recognizes that finding your confidence at any place or stage in life is key to both a successful beauty routine and to starting a business like hers.
Throughout her career, Joyce has discovered that the demand for lovely lashes isn’t specific to one target audience. Her associates have outfitted local cheerleading squads with lashes for competitions, treated athletes on the UCLA swim team and even dolled up a 90-year-old customer who needed no special occasion to look glamorous. Across the board, inclusivity has been the premier trend among her clientele, and she appreciates how everyone embraces femininity differently and chooses to celebrate themselves unapologetically.
Her younger years, she reminisced, were spent primping for nights out on the town and adjusting lashes gone rogue in dingy club bathrooms, but Joyce she still delighted in any reason to put her finest foot forward. Over a decade ago in Vancouver, Canada, that love affair with lashes in her early twenties later blossomed into her first business venture when she learned about a new technology that replaced press-on lashes with a method that could seamlessly bond faux lashes to your own for weeks, without any mess or hassle.
Her verve for beauty empowerment carried over into a series of enterprising pursuits as she expanded her vision by launching six different locations across Canada and the Pacific Northwest, including one in Santa Monica, CA, North Vancouver and a flagship store right in our own backyard in the Park Row Shopping Center on Bellevue Way.
“We’ve really been fortunate to have such great synergy with other neighboring businesses, like Yogurtland around the corner and a nail parlor that used to be next door,” Joyce said.
In addition to developing her own signature brand of adhesives and custom lashes (sans parabens, latex and other toxic chemicals, of course) her company has supplied over 200,000 sets of semi-permanent eyelash extensions. In 2013, her team ventured into the false eyelash market with several original designs that feature easy application and durability to minimize wear and tear. Her offerings are a hit with anyone looking for an easy way to enhance and simplify their beauty routines.
“I’ve found that eyelash extensions are actually a great option for people who are looking for minimal effort in a beauty regimen, including myself! I look after three kids and rarely have time to dress up my whole face,” Joyce said.
Removals are complimentary for all customers and services range from a natural, foaming lash cleanse to synthetic applications for a subtle accent or dramatic style without any fickle clumps or tangled flares.
“As COVID-19 has carried on, my morning routine has basically been nonexistent,” Joyce joked. “I slather on a little moisturizer, and thanks to the lash treatment, my eyes look great from the minute I wake up.”
Sanitation and other safety measures have been in practice long before the virus called extra attention to cleanliness, Joyce said. Her employees wear gloves, masks and even face shields as an extra hygienic precaution, and clients are required to wear CDC-approved facial coverings to appointments.
Like other entrepreneurs, social media has proven to be a powerful resource for Joyce, both in recruiting new customers and maintaining relationships with her regular crowd. Recently, she launched a secret menu with exclusive offers advertised only on her Instagram stories, amassing 37,000 followers. Under the reels section on her profile, Joyce publishes brief tutorials and commentary on a wide range of topics, from her commitment to COVID-19 security protocols to expert advice on lash care techniques and other industry insights.
Though between shuttering its doors from March through June during the first round of public health mandates, and a slew of looting incidents that damaged the lounge, there has been no shortage of obstacles for Joyce and her staff to grapple with over the past year. However, amid these challenges, Joyce praised the residents, local students and other good samaritans in the community who rallied around small businesses like hers and showed up in droves to lend morale support and muscle to clean up the wreckage.
“There were a few burly teenagers that dropped by to help sweep broken glass and haul garbage out of the store,” Joyce said. “Despite all these barriers, kindness hasn’t been cancelled. It’s actually brought us closer together and strengthened our connection with one another.”
If you're in the market for a little preening and pampering, download the official Noir app to easily order your favorite products or book your next appointment in the Heart of Bellevue.
This blog is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.
SIGN UP FOR THE HEART OF BELLEVUE NEWSLETTER