SLASH Beauty is the must-visit new beauty emporium specialising in semi-permanent lash extensions, opening in London’s Notting Hill. Fresh off their pop up at WAH NAILS, Soho, the SLASH Beauty crew is headed out west to carve out their permanent location on Portobello Road, and we met with it’s founder Ashade Cole to find out more.
Liza Bakeyi: So how did you decide that you wanted to start a business?
Ashade Cole: I used to be one of those kids that came into school with my bag full of sweets ready to sell in the playground, then later on, I started a little business with a friend where we’d just write your name in sequins on your clothes. So I’ve been business-minded since my teens. But I didn’t have the option of working on a business instead of going to university because, with my background, it was just expected that I’d go on to become a lawyer or a doctor basically.
You mentioned your background about having to go to university, has it had an affect on how you run the business?
So I come from a Jamaican-Sierra Leonean background and because I was academically gifted I had to go to university but honestly, my business degree hasn’t help that much. But the way I was raised was to work hard and that’s something that will never leave me.
So, at the moment you have three SLASH branches, with the flagship being the Notting Hill shop. Where did SLASH Beauty start?
Leaving university, I did work but I felt like the corporate world wasn’t really for me. I started doing lashes back when everyone was getting those clusters from the black hair shop and went on to do extensions in people’s homes instead. One day, about three years ago, I just saw a sign saying shop for sale. I took a bet and risked it, and that was the Crystal Palace branch, Lash Lounge.
That must have been super stressful! Literally setting up a shop on your own.
Yeah, like I said before, my degree wasn’t hugely helpful in figuring out the day-to-day things you need to know when running a business, but I was introduced to WAH Nails Founder, Sharmadean Reid, by a friend from school. Those events really helped, and Sharmadean has been a huge help too; she’s someone that wants to see other women in business succeed and I have a huge amount of respect for her.
What services do you offer?
So, our trademark services are our lash and brow services. The lash extensions are incredibly popular and come in three main styles based on how natural or full you’d like them to be: No More Mascara is our most natural look, Glamour-eyes is a bit more full and glam, then Russian Doll which is great for events or people that just love a glamorous look. We do coloured extensions too, which can be really subtle but also really fun.
Which lash look do you go for?
I tend to go for No More Mascara but on our Instagram page you can see that there are people who go for a mix between natural and glam, and we’re happy to do that. You can decide to go for silk or cashmere for a glossier or softer finish. We also do lash lifts for those that don’t want extensions.
Is it true that you can’t wash your face for 24 hours after getting extensions?
No, it’s not true – well not for our lashes anyway. I’ve been spritzing some distilled water on your lashes during the application so you’re fine as long as you aren’t rough with it or fully submerge your face in water. Lashes will be good to you as long as you’re good to them.
In 3 years you have grown to three branches and have a great social media presence. How has that been?
I think initially I didn’t realise how much work was needed to run a business and once I got into the swing of things it was easy to focus solely on the business and less on the personal side of my life, so I’ve got a good balance now.
What are your aims at the moment?
In the last 6 months we have gone from one branch to three, so I am very busy, but I want SLASH Beauty to be a social environment. Sometimes you go to places where it’s purely professional and it’s silent and awkward, that’s not what SLASH is like. Beauty should be fun, so you don’t need to lose that to be professional. I want an environment where people want to come back and my staff enjoy coming to work and being there.
What plans do you have for Slash Beauty in the future?
I don’t know if I’ll open another branch but I definitely want to have events and make our flagship store more of a social hub. My mum had a stall during carnival literally 30 seconds away and this location (Portobello Road) is perfect for an outdoor bar just off the main route.
Okay, I’ll see you at carnival then! Or, at least, when you get some time off from Slash Beauty. Do you have any other projects?
I’m actually studying to become a trainer and setting up a training academy of my own. My mum would initially worry about me when I first set up the business, but she ultimately knows that no matter what, I’m not lazy.
Drop in at any of the branches for a patch test at least 24 hours before your lash appointment.
New customers currently have £10 off with the code “SLASHED” when you book online.
Find them on Instagram at @slashbeautyldn and their branches:
SLASH – PORTOBELLO flagship store: 321 Portobello Road, London, W10 5SY
The Lash Lounge London: Crystal Palace 22 Church Road SE19 2ET
WAH – SOHO: 4 Peter Street, London, W1F 0AD