‘I Knew If I Didn’t Do It Now, I Never Would’
Josie Philippe was enamored watching the hair stylists at work.
She spent her early teenage years as a receptionist in Northern Virginia, and knew by 14 that she wanted to open her own spa one day.
‘I didn’t want to work for anyone, but I loved the beauty scene. I loved seeing people’s confidence levels change when they got all dolled up.’
Josie was promoted from receptionist to shampoo assistant, and attended cosmetology school. She completed the training program at Red Door Salon and became a hair stylist, but the work she was once fascinated by didn’t hold her attention for long.
‘After so many blow drys, I’m like hair styling isn’t so much for me. I knew I wanted to do something else.’
With two children under two in Ashburn, Josie began looking at nearby spaces to open her own business. She wasn’t going to entertain a commute to Georgetown until her broker found the perfect vacancy in Book Hill. Josie was sufficiently wooed.
‘It’s close enough to Georgetown’s main streets, but far enough that it’s not in the middle of M Street. I thought it was such a cute, charming little area.’
Two years later, Josie is happily running DC Lash Bar—specializing in eye lash extensions, lifts, tints, and perms, plus brow waxing and threading services. The beauty craze is still relatively new to the DC area, and Josie has capitalized on such a niche service. She took six courses to become fully skilled in the art, and requires her employees to take a two- to three-month course through the salon.
The majority of Josie’s clients live in Georgetown, and 70% are regular customers—addicted to the service after getting their lashes done for a special event.
‘They’ll come in for their wedding, and when the lashes slowly start to shed, they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, this was so much easier; I can’t live without it now.’ You wake up and you’re already put together. You don’t have to wear as much make-up either, and everything is fully customizeable. And for moms like me, it’s all about that minimal life. This is so much less maintenance every day.’
Josie says her managerial roles at previous salons prepared her for the long hours, and shaped who she’s become as a business owner. The more challenging aspect is ‘all the little things that pop up,’ from taxes to compliance paperwork.
Less than a year into the business, Josie also learned she was pregnant with her third. Running DC Lash Bar with a 4-year-old, 3-year-old, and 6-month-old is as daunting as it sounds—especially for a self-described workaholic who’s opening a second location in Ballston this Fall. But Josie says she’s finding that balance.
‘When I had my second kid, I was traveling back and forth to New York managing salons, and I knew if I didn’t open the business then, I never would. And then the third came. You’re going to feel guilty regardless, whether you’re not giving enough time to your business or your home. As long as you go in being aware of that balance, you can do both. To all those moms out there who think they can’t be a business owner and be a mom, you can.’