By Molly Cerreta Smith
Prior to opening her own Amazing Lash Studio just over a year ago in Peoria at 24870 North Lake Pleasant Parkway, Margie Bahm spent much of her profession in industries that might be considered the opposite of beauty.
For 25 years, Bahm held a corporate role as a national trainer and demo director for the pet food industry within the Mars conglomerate. When she met her husband eight years ago and national travel became less desirable, she decided she had “done her time in the corporate world.” She took a brief (and well-deserved) hiatus, then jumped into another passion of hers at the time — home health care. She managed a team for Caring.com as her own mother was in memory care.
Meanwhile, another passion was brewing as Bahm enjoyed the personal “obsession” of getting lash extensions. “I was getting them done by a young girl right out of high school who started in a small one-room studio and did them herself,” she reveals. “I watched her business grow to the point where she opened her own spa and I could see how lashes could develop into a fast-growing sector of the beauty industry.”
For convenience, Bahm began looking for a new studio… for her lash obsession, not as a career! “I wanted extensions, I was not looking to buy a business that day,” she clarifies. But as she was laying on the table, she began speaking to the franchisee of an Amazing Lash Studio, which has its corporate headquarters right here in the valley… and Bahm began thinking about it. Soon after, she decided that owning her own Amazing Lash Studio was her next professional direction.
As for the location, she naturally decided upon her own neighborhood in Westwing. “I knew what this area of Peoria could do,” she reveals. “I knew this area was growing — there is so much new growth — and the demographic is higher here.” However, Bahm did not sign on with Amazing Lash until she had found the perfect location. She knew she wanted to be in the Target center where her studio exists today, but nothing was vacant except for one very large parcel.
As her mother became increasingly sick, Bahm put her search on hold while she went to California to spend some time caring for her. After her mother, whom she was very close with, passed, Bahm admitted she doubted whether or not she should really continue to pursue the idea of opening her own Amazing Lash Studio. Upon her return to the valley, she learned that the space she’d been coveting had been divided into three parts. “It was like a heavenly gift,” she says.
“The timing was perfect and that is really the beginning of the story,” says Bahm. But beyond just building upon her passion, she says, “I knew I wanted to be a hands-on owner and to really build a culture.” Thanks to her corporate background as well as her own life experiences, she had the skills to hire, train, manage customer service — and could help a team of young ladies apply their own skills to succeed.
As a teen, Bahm had a full college scholarship when her life took a turn and she became a single parent. “I worked very hard to support myself and my child,” she reveals. “I always go back to that because I understand what it’s like to be a struggling single parent.” When it comes to her 22 employees, many of whom are millennials and in the same boat she was once in, she reveals that she is very empathetic because she has walked in similar shoes.
“I am far from being a micro-manager. I like to empower women and give them the power to make their own decisions,” she says. For those reasons, she feels that this career was a calling for her. “I draw on a lot of my experiences and my skills that I can share with them and build a culture that thrives. And the girls here are really amazing and highly skilled.” Bahm also offers her staff initial and ongoing training during their employment.
When it comes to what Bahm attributes to the popularity of lash extensions, she points to several things, saying, “Lash extensions offer an instant gratification for women of all ages, and they help you feel young and beautiful.” She says that her studio’s average demographic is women over the age of 39, with a good base of her membership in their 50s, as with age many women’s lashes don’t grow as much and often become brittle and less full. Because there are a lot retirement communities in the neighborhood, she also has a solid base of senior clients. As her business continues to grow, Bahm says she will offer one-time application of “special occasion lashes” for girls going to homecoming and other events. She says lash extensions also help those who have lost their hair and lashes to cancer get their look (and confidence) back through these services.
Amazing Lash Studio is a membership-based business with an initial full set starting at just $89.99, with a one-refill credit membership available for $69.99 per month and a two-refill membership for $119.99 per month. She also offers variety when it comes to application including single set featherweight classics, as well as add-ons such as the 3D fuller extensions and 6D, which creates a fuller look and a darker lash line. The company also offers pre-service consultation regarding length and style to ensure their clients get results they love.
Bahm’s approach to business is clearly succeeding — Amazing Lash Studio was named Best Eyelash Extensions in Arizona Foothills Best of Our Valley 2019, and at the corporation’s recent national sales conference, her franchise was awarded “Top Performing Studio in the First 12 Months of Business” in the U.S. She has approximately 750 members already, in comparison to the average 350 members that most studios gain in their first year of business.
As the company continues to grow in membership, Bahm is excited to reveal additional services newly added to their repertoire including brow waxing, shaping and tinting, facial waxing, and lash lift with tint and strip lashes for one-time occasions.
Bahm doesn’t take her community connection lightly. She has partnered with Dress for Success, an organization that helps empower women to achieve economic independence through support and development tools as well as professional attire to help them thrive in work and life. “This group is very important to us because it helps women who are trying to get back on their feet,” she says. Her studio recently had a clothing drive for the organization during which many members donated beautiful items to this cause.
Bahm invites The Upper Westsider readers to take advantage of a special deal — $10 off a full set when mentioning this article. Amazing Lash in Peoria is open seven days a week and on evenings and weekends. While it’s always best to make an appointment, walk-ins are possible. For more information or to book an appointment, visit www.amazinglashstudio.com/studios/az/phoenix/peoria-lake-pleasant/.