bannerPlayFranchisee Stories

How to Succeed as a Multi-Unit Franchisee: Elaina Watley, Amazing Lash Studio

Elaina Watley, the owner of six Amazing Lash Studio locations, talks about how she grew with the brand.

By Chris LaMorte1851 Franchise Editor
Updated 9:09AM 06/29/21

You could say that Elaina Watley went into franchising with her eyes wide open. Before she invested in her first Amazing Lash Studio, she visited it as a customer. 

The brand, which provides clients with light-as-air lashes, fast-drying adhesives and a unique proprietary technique of adhering a single fiber to individual lashes to create a customized look.

“I went to every single lash franchise there was before I invested in Amazing Lash Studio,” she recalls. She had traveled the United States, investigating brands, and of course, stopping in to give herself a little glam treatment. “I stumbled across Amazing Lash in Houston and got my lashes done there. I loved the experience. I loved the aesthetic. I thought it was great.”

But she wasn’t done with her research just yet. She reached out to Amazing Lash owners across the country and spoke with them about their experiences as franchisees. “I immersed myself in lashes,” before opening her first location, she said.

“I originally started out by purchasing one location — I was afraid to purchase multiple units,” she recalls. “I didn't know if I wanted to have multiple locations. And that was probably my biggest mistake. Looking back, I wish that I would have bought 10 locations and been able to really own the region.”

Today, Watley is the brand’s elder stateswoman, with five successful locations open in New Jersey (she’s been among the top earners in the franchise a number of times, she says), and a soon-to-open sixth shop in California. Now, she is often the one who gives advice to would-be franchisees. Her biggest piece of advice: Do your research as she did. “Really analyze your market and analyze what other locations could be important to your business to help it grow.”

She also advises franchisees to pay attention to the numbers for their current locations, particularly the profit and loss statements. They need to be in line before you are ready to open more locations.  “Look at how you're running your operations, and work with your franchise or to get benchmarks and figure out what best practices are tied to those benchmarks,” she said. “Once you’re able to assess your benchmarks, you'll be able to tighten up operations.”

“Don’t be afraid to have multiple licenses — if you’re doing great with your one location, you’ll do great with three,” Watley advises. “I know it sounds scary, but it’s amazing to be able to control an entire area and build a consumer base around what you’ve created and your fundamental principles.”

Watch the full interview above, or click here to watch it on YouTube.

To check out more multi-unit franchisee success stories, click here.