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The Great Franchisee: Caitlin Donovan, Amazing Lash, North Carolina

The community-focused franchise owner signed a six-unit deal with the fast-growing eyelash extension brand.

Caitlin Donovan is no stranger to business ownership. After her husband Adam Clampitt, a Naval Public Affairs Officer, returned from his deployment to Afghanistan in 2010, the couple built a public relations firm that focused on raising awareness of social impact issues.  

Now, Donovan is focusing on her next endeavor — bringing Amazing Lash Studio, a 250-plus-unit eyelash extension franchise, to North and South Carolina.

Donovan, who has been a client of the brand for years, will be opening six Amazing Lash Studios in the Asheville and Greenville markets, with the first two planned to open in late summer.  

1851 Franchise: Tell us your story – what did you do before franchising?

Caitlin Donovan: After graduating from Syracuse University with dual degrees in Finance and Marketing Management, I moved straight from my small hometown in Massachusetts to Washington D.C. to take a shot at Federal Consulting.  Over the last 15 years, I’ve held many different positions throughout my career but my main focus has always been on team building, customer service and sales.  I’ve always loved working with people, helping them reach their goals, improve their lives, and that’s the core of what’s driven me to be an entrepreneur.  

My husband, Adam Clampitt, has been a Naval Public Affairs Officer for the past 19 years, and when he came back from the war in Afghanistan in 2010, he knew his career focus could no longer be a traditional one.  We put our heads together and decided to create a public relations firm that would focus on raising awareness about significant social impact issues.  Our firm, DCG Communications, has been operating for over 10 years and our core expertise is with supporting Federal government agencies tackle critical missions such as ending Veteran homelessness, preventing Veteran suicide, raising awareness about mental health and reducing the stigma associated with seeking help, and combatting human trafficking. Hopefully, you’ve seen advertisements about these topics and it’s likely we’re the firm behind the messaging.  I’m passionate about these causes, and so are our 100+ employees. 

1851: How did you initially find out about franchising and what was your perception of franchising before becoming a franchise owner?

Donovan: I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit even before I met my husband and the start of our business. I’ve been exploring various new ventures for some time including a few different franchising opportunities within the wellness space. 

Like most, I initially didn’t know much about the franchising concept but there are endless resources available to get smart on it from books and podcasts to simply striking up a conversation with a franchise owner.  Through my research, I became incredibly excited about franchising, what is needed to be successful and the importance of partnering with a brand you believe in.

1851: How did you decide you wanted to be a franchisee?

Donovan: Throughout my conversations with WellBiz and current franchise owners, I fell in love with the concept and knew this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.  I’m passionate about building businesses, the wellness industry and helping empower customers and employees to be their best selves.  As a franchisee, you receive all the support to set up, maintain and grow your business but the freedom and flexibility to put your personal touches on it. You can throw all your energy into one location or build a massive portfolio of studios.  The sky’s the limit.  As a franchisee of an established and successful brand, I get to focus on what I love doing most – bringing an amazing product to an untapped market, employing local talent and helping my customers feel and look their best!   

1851: How did you perform your research?

Donovan: I didn’t leave any stone unturned in my research.  My work began with speaking with many different franchisors and franchisees in the wellness and beauty space and understanding their business models.  I heard success stories and most importantly, learned about things that didn’t go well and what to look out for. Once I homed in on Wellbiz, I flew to Denver and had the pleasure of meeting with so many members of the leadership team.  From there, I spent hours on the phone ‘interviewing’ current Amazing Lash franchisees.  I also consulted everyone who would give me the time of day from community leaders in my target market, lawyers, friends and family.  

1851: Why did you pick Amazing Lash Studio? What excited you most about the potential?

Donovan: I have been an avid Amazing Lash customer since I discovered my local studio 3 years ago.  I love everything about the brand, from the customer experience to the quality of the products, to the way it transforms how I feel about myself after a visit.  I have been blown away by the level of support Amazing Lash and the parent company, WellBiz Brands, Inc., has provided me so far. I initially thought I would focus on one studio opening in my incredible second hometown of Asheville, NC but decided to really go for it and open 6 studios throughout in both Asheville and Greenville, SC.  Amazing Lash has created a solid playbook for success and there are many incentives for becoming a multi-unit owner.  

The pandemic has taught us all many, many valuable lessons.  The significance of self-care is an important one.  That one hour I spend at Amazing Lash every 2 weeks is transformational for me.  Not only do I love the end product but it’s my time to zone out from the stressors of everyday life.  When my local Amazing Lash studio was able to safely re-open, I was the first customer through the door.  

The other big takeaway I’ve learned is the importance and benefit of supporting your local community.  I am excited to start the hiring process for the new studios and strengthening relationships within the local Asheville and Greenville communities.  I am committed to hiring and building diverse and inclusive teams, helping create new job opportunities and finding ways to be involved in and give back to the local community.  As with all my ventures, giving back through corporate donations is essential and I’m excited to partner with local organizations that make a difference in our community.   

1851: What are your dreams with the business? What does the future look like?

Donovan: I have big plans for the upcoming six Amazing Lash studios and bigger goals beyond that.  Our first two studios will be arriving this summer and I can’t wait to get those doors open.  I’m thrilled to be a contributor to creating new jobs in my local community and to provide a service that can enhance how someone feels about themselves. My husband and I have spent the last 10 years focused on improving the lives of our nation’s Veterans, and I’m eager to continue that great work with the Amazing Lash brand.  With a preference for hiring Veterans, particularly women and minority Veterans, my hope is to empower these heroes with exciting new career opportunities in a positive and fulfilling studio culture.  

1851: What advice would you have for others looking at buying a franchise?

Donovan: Be fearless with speaking to as many people as possible about the franchise you’re exploring.  After digging deeper, I walked away from investing in a couple franchises that initially seemed like great business models.  Knowledge is power and while the Franchiser will provide a playbook for success and lots of support, it’s ultimately on you to make your franchise a success.  

Chose something you’re passionate about.  While this isn’t absolutely necessary for many successful franchisees, believing in the value your product is adding will help you power through challenges you’ll face and enjoy your successes even more.    

1851: What do you do in your personal time?

Donovan: My husband and I have 6-year-old boy/girl twins and a King Charles cavalier puppy named Charlie.  As a family, we have a passion for traveling, and our kids are almost halfway through their passports. They are homeschooled so we have the flexibility to explore the world when it’s not peak travel season and so we can all be together for work trips, too.  We love going on long hikes and mountain bike rides through the Blue Ridge Mountains and celebrating our workout with a pint from one of Asheville’s many renowned craft breweries.  

As a family, we are also extremely passionate about our work with Veteran Service Organizations.  Adam was on the board of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) for 5 years and for the last 2 years, I’ve been actively involved with Women Veterans Network (WoVeN).  We want to help give back to our nation’s Veterans in any way we can whether it’s by supporting charities, hiring Veterans and their family members, or through the Federal programs our PR firm works for.  


About Amazing Lash Studio®

Founded in 2010, Amazing Lash Studio locations’ estheticians utilize a patented process to apply semi-permanent eyelash extensions to the clients’ own lashes, replicating the curve and size of natural lashes. The concept began franchising in 2013 and to date has over 260 open studios in 28 states. In 2021, the brand ranked No. 14 on the Franchise Times® 2021 Fast & Serious list and in 2020 the brand was recognized with several accolades including ranking No. 307 on Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500® list. Each Amazing Lash Studio® location is independently owned and operated. Amazing Lash Studio® and the Amazing Lash Studio + design are registered trademarks owned by Amazing Lash Franchise, LLC.