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RapidChat: Christina Lynn Perez on being a confident business owner & the inner fox and hare

"Be confident enough to accept your faults. No one is good at everything." reflects co-owner of the popular lash lounge and brow bar, Siren & Proper, Christina Lynn Perez. As someone who fears failure, but also finds joy in doing things that aren't expected of her, Christina made the bold choice of going into business for herself in 2015. She knew she would be letting the grass grow under her feet, otherwise.
 
Christina Lynn Perez

"Be confident enough to accept your faults. No one is good at everything," reflects co-owner of the popular lash lounge and brow bar, Siren & Proper, Christina Lynn Perez. As someone who fears failure, but also finds joy in doing things that aren't expected of her, Christina made the bold choice of going into business for herself in 2015. She knew she would be letting the grass grow under her feet, otherwise.
Rapid Growth Media: How long have you been doing eyelash extensions?

Christina Lynn Perez: I became certified in 2007 while still in cosmetology school but was so intimidated by the process of it that I didn’t actually start practicing regularly until 2010. 

RG: What made you wait?

CP: 2009-2010 is when I really started to hear more and more people say things like “have you heard that they have extensions for your lashes now?" It kind of lit a fire under my butt and had me thinking “wait, I’ve known how to do this for a while now and I can do it better than anyone if I really apply myself." That’s what motivated me to dust off my old lash kit, order a fresh bottle of adhesive and start practicing. As it turned out, I found the whole process to be quite gratifying. 

RG: Then at what point did you decide you wanted to start a business around this process?

CP: I always recognized the market for extensions, but I also had always said I would never own my own business after watching my mom and family friends take on the many responsibilities on their own. It wasn’t until about two years into working at Cheeky Strut, having raised my prices a few times and still having a packed schedule, I knew I had to make a choice. Either I could watch the lash extension market in Grand Rapids continue to grow around me, or I could try and stay on top of it. I have always found a certain joy of doing things unexpected of me. 

RP: How was the brand identity of Siren & Proper developed?

CP: When I imagined a space that was my own, I imaged a lot of dark colors and metallics. I imaged something kind of sexy and mysterious but a little quirky and just different. I had no idea what to call it; I just knew it had to be something that didn’t scream “we do lashes." I didn’t’ want that—because that’s just too easy. My friend and business partner, Kaite Lyn, has a strong knack for the best kind of quirky or just the right amount of different to add to about anything. I reflected back to a conversation we had years prior where she mentioned a brand name that she just didn’t have anything to apply it to yet where the logo would be a fox and hare. When I inquired about my memory to her, she said the name “Siren & Proper” and I thought “that’s us, the fox and the hare. That’s all women, the sexy and mysterious, the quirky and the sweet." 

RG: Are there any obstacles you’ve encountered as a female business owner?

CP: I’m not entirely sure how much me being female has an effect on these particular issues, but I have a massive fear of failure. I certainly have found that showing or taking any ownership of the business or its successes is really difficult for me (exhibit A right there) and balancing other relationships or commitments in life. The responsibility of making the business grow is very difficult when you have the habit of putting things off when you don’t have the time to make things JUST right.

However, on three specific occasions, I recall being nearly scoffed at by older males when I’ve stated that “I own a small business." I’ve resorted to using the verbiage “I have a small salon," because it is received much better that way. So I guess that’s a thing. 

RG: What are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned going into business for yourself?

CP: One, be confident enough to accept your faults. No one is good at everything. Recognizing your weaknesses will help you improve on them, or be open to asking for help when you need it. It’s okay.

Two, when you’re wrong, you’re wrong. And everyone can see it. Just own it, be genuine about your feeling stupid or guilty because people appreciate your humility and it makes it easier for you to then apologize which in turn makes it easier for you to close that door and move on. But don’t forget to make a change for the future. 

Finally, never make a decision solely based on financial gain. When money is your only motivator, you tend to cheapen your business and piss off clients and employees—to put it plainly. 

RG: With so many other beauty salons out there, how does Siren & Proper stay ahead of the curve? 

CP: To put it generally, maintaining an open mind, knowing you are never finished learning and can always do better. It’s a fun challenge always looking for ways to improve things for your staff and your clients while building a profitable business. We are always researching what is new in lashes and brows, we encourage a constant open discussion amongst our staff, we leave space for our employees to take on more leadership if they see the opportunity and are interested and of course, we invest in continued education. 

Maintaining great communication and relationships with our clients is also important to us. We are always looking out for possible gaps to fill in our client relationships and looking for ways to improve customer service and show more client appreciation because [we] recognize the commitment our clients have made to us and certainly don’t want to take it for granted. 


Jenna Morton is the RapidChat correspondent for Rapid Growth Media.
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