Lala Soum, co-founder of Blaque Lash and Podcaster

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Lala Soum is a bold, smart, and sassy entrepreneur; she got her Esthetician license in 2015 and co-lauched her business Blaque Lash. In today’s feature, she reveals what it is like to be a Woman of Color (Cambodian-American) business owner, in the beauty industry, what inspired her to have honest conversations on the podcast Okay Girl., and why her mental health matters. Lala keeps it real in today’s feature below 👇

Lala, what propelled you into becoming an esthetician and opening up your own shop? 

After college, it was pretty hard for me to break into the (radio) industry and I was a bit discouraged. Not knowing what to do next, my dad told me that I needed to be my own boss and after talking about it with my best friend Ashley, she told me that I should start my own lash business. I thought she was being silly at first but after just one month, I started esthetician school. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but I figured if I did four years of college, I can do four months of esthetics school. So I completed school, got my license and then took an eyelash extensions course. I fell in love with everything lashes and never looked back.

As a business owner who is also a woman of color, can you share some challenges? And— what are some of the rewards? 

Some of the challenges of being a WOC business owner is that there aren’t too many of us! Especially in the beauty industry, specifically with lashes—it’s rare to see a thriving lash business run by a WOC so it gets hard trying to network and build relationships because no one really looks like me. The most rewarding thing about being a WOC entrepreneur is that I get to speak and meet with other WOC that want to be entrepreneurs as well. It means the world to me when I meet other like-minded women who seek advice or mentorship from me.

Lashes have become popular in the last couple of years and the beauty industry has been competitive AF, how do you stay and get ahead? 

Never stop learning and stay in your own lane! It’s easy to get distracted and compare yourself to others, but you have to remember that everyone’s timing is different.

Everyone’s learning curve is different. No lash artist is the same as the next. Take all the classes to improve your craft; whether it be business courses, artistry training, or even marketing classes.  Stay focused on yourself, perfecting your craft and clients will come. Any negativity you speak about other professionals will reflect in your business or lack thereof. Trust!

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In addition to holding it down with the business, you are also a co-host on the podcast Okay Girl, what are some of the subjects you discuss on the podcast with your co-host Ashley? 

Okay Girl is about adulting and basically all the shit that goes with it. Mental health, body positivity, financial freedom, friendships, situationships, family—you name it. We want to discuss things that WOC go through, but never really were taught HOW to get through. It’s a wellness podcast and we want everyone to know... “You’re gonna be okay, girl!”

We’ve listened to some episodes, was there a reason you two keep the editing minimal and encourage honest conversations? 

We want to keep our conversations raw and real! We want to keep it flowing like you’re having an actual conversation with your girlfriends. Sometimes we, and even our guests, want to crop things or re-record, because we’re afraid of how we’re going to sound or come off to people—but who cares? This is real life, babygirl! Say how you feel and own it!

What’s your biggest blessing right now? 

I would have to say that my biggest blessing right now is my MIND. Now, I say my mind because I have been working on my mental health so hard for the past few months. I’ve been learning how to rewire my mind and my thoughts to think more positively and affirm new blessings into my life. Since I have been learning these new habits and changing my sponsoring thoughts, I can honestly say I am very content with life right now. My mental health, family, relationship, friends, business -- there are all going well and I am so thankful.

Your mind is a powerful thing and once you learn how to use it better, everything in life begins to change and you will be so much happier.

Tell us the next milestone you’re looking forward to? 

The next milestone I am looking forward to is the opening shop for my lash company, Blaque Lash. I’m happy I have a studio of my own but I would love to have a space for Blaque Lash. Blaque Lash is a lash company that I started with my partner, Lynda. We offer eyelash extensions training as well as products/supplies and through Blaque Lash, I have learned that I love to help other professionals excel in their careers. I want to spend less time in the treatment room and more time on helping professionals perfect their craft. I am so grateful for the mentors I’ve had thus far and I want to be that for other women -- inspiring them while also beautifying them! Thanks thecnnekt for having me!

To learn more about Lala, visit her website here or follow her work on instagram @drapedbylala

Interviewed by Chary 👋