I'm Shona, the founder of Wink with Mink. My background is in psychology, and I always wanted to be a Clinical Psychologist, so I completed my undergraduate in Psychology and graduated in 2016. The road towards becoming a Clinical Psychologist is long and I had to complete approximately two years unpaid work with the HSE upon completion of the undergraduate. At the time, I was working five days a week unpaid, and then spending my weekends working in the local pub. I knew this wasn’t sustainable so I enrolled in an Eyelash Extension Course hoping that I could swap my shifts in the pub for a few lash clients – but I didn’t exactly have expectations or a plan. Within three months, my lash clientele grew, and I was able to leave my job in the pub. My small lash business funded me through the unpaid work and my Masters in Clinical Psychology, and my eyes were still firmly set on qualifying as a Clinical Psychologist.
In 2018, when the effects of Brexit were more apparent, I spotted a gap in the market for a leading Irish lash brand that could supply professional products to salons around the country, without the added costs of customs. As I am a Lash Artist myself, I have a true insight into the lash industry and the type of products that will make lash artists and clients lives easier. In 2019, I launched my brand of professional lash products, and a range of Aftercare products for clients. In addition to this, I launched the Wink with Mink Training Academy for individuals looking to train in Lash Extensions or to upskill - you could say that 2019 was a busy year. Since the launch, I have trained over 200 lash artists, many of whom has since gone on to open their own salon, become self employed and take on staff.
We currently hold accounts with over 500 salons across Ireland, and the Client Aftercare Range is retailed in 18 salons and one pharmacy (Dorans Pharmacy Ballybrack, Dublin).
I was building this business all while working full time as a Psychologist, but it is physically not possible to do both! In October of last year, I took the leap to go full time with my growing lash business, and I haven’t looked back since.