She Built A Beauty Empire From Her Eyelash Extension Biz & Now Invests In Other Female Entrepreneurs

Image courtesy of Yris Palmer

We love sharing the stories of female entrepreneurs whose journey to financial stability shows the innovative and unique ways women often have to take to reach their goals. With the majority of investment money reportedly going to male-operated businesses, and yet women of color starting more businesses than any other demographic in the United States, women are showing the world that entrepreneurship means taking the road less traveled in many cases.

When it comes to beauty entrepreneur Yris Palmer, this is definitely the case. Her name may not be familiar, but you undoubtedly know her work and her brand. She is the founder of eyelash brand Star Lash Extensions as well as the Last Beauty Bar in Los Angeles. The Angeleno native, who is the daughter of immigrants from El Salvador, didn’t originally set out to run her own beauty empire that is currently sought out by major celebs such as Selena Gomez and Yris’ personal friend Kylie Jenner.

With dreams to become an actress in Hollywood, Yris made her foray into the beauty world as a means to make money to fuel her bigger goals. But it was that path that would eventually take over and become the very thing she is known for. After a trip overseas to learn the art of eyelash extensions, she came back and started her business. Foregoing the traditional business route by looking for investors and startup money, she utilized the power of social media and connected with everyday people, and also started getting the attention of celebs.

The rest, as they say, is history, but for Yris her journey has become about more than just making a name for herself. As a mom to a young daughter and someone who understands the power of women supporting women, Yris is now in a position to empower other up-and-coming female entrepreneurs. We spoke with the Eyelash empire queen about entrepreneurship, hustling, motherhood and the legacy she hopes to leave for her daughter.

Image credit: Storm Santos

How did you come up with the idea for Star Lash?

I was actually in London on a trip when I first came up with the idea of creating Star Lash. It started as a side hustle while I was following my dream of becoming an actress – I saw a window of opportunity and I took it. I couldn’t think of one person back in LA who had lash extensions or who did them. I knew celebrities were getting them done but it was more of a Hollywood secret versus something that was accessible to anyone. I took a lash course while I was in London, then I started ideating the details of my business. I created a name, started my company’s Instagram page and promoted every single client’s lash extensions that I would work on.

One of the things we love about your business is that you are creating more opportunities for women of color in the beauty industry. Can you tell us more about why this is important to you?

It is so important to uplift our own community, to build each other up. That’s what life is all about. The girls I hire tend to remind me of myself in some way and I just want to help them as much as possible. 

What drew you to the fashion and beauty industry in the first place? 

I’ve always been into fashion! I used to save my lunch money to buy shoes every week. However, I completely fell into the beauty industry out of nowhere. It’s like that saying, God laughs at your plans. 

I thought I was going to be an actress, but once I discovered lash extensions and started my business I feel in love with the feeling you get after completing a set. The feeling of making other women feel instantly beautiful is priceless! 

Image credit: Storm Santos

Along with your own business, you have invested in a number of other female-founded businesses. What are some of those brands, and why do you believe in supporting other female entrepreneurs?

I have invested in another female-founded business called SEV Laser, which is a medical spa in Calabasas. It is owned by another boss lady, Sevana Petrosian. She has 13 locations and is an amazing businesswoman! I think it’s our job as women to support each other. I want to see more female-owned businesses and I look forward to investing in more.

As a single mother to a young daughter, you are no doubt such an inspiring role model to her! What do you hope your personal journey will inspire other single moms to know when looking to start a business? 

That it’s possible to be a good mother and a good businesswoman! It can be difficult at times, but it’s all about balance. Someday your kids will thank you and appreciate all of your hard work! Chase your dreams too, and don’t let mom guilt stop you!

Mothers are some of the most productive people on the planet (we run businesses, give birth, raise children, and multitask like badasses!) but society still places more importance on male entrepreneurs. What message do you have to investors and those who look down on moms and female entrepreneurs?

Never underestimate us! There is a reason why we are the only ones that can carry and birth other humans. We are strong, smart, and always a valuable asset to have.

What legacy do you hope to leave in the world, and most importantly, for your daughter Ayla?

I hope I can inspire others to follow their dreams, by sharing my own journey – obstacles and all. At the end of the day, I hope I can teach my daughter the value of hard work, good morals, and kindness.

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