One SUGA has based her business and career around beauty, making a living out of empowering women to own their beauty.
SUGA Venna Tohilima, 28, started her business Lashfix, applying eyelash extensions out of her parent’s lounge in Ranui, West Auckland years ago. Today, she has expanded her business to Australia and has turned Lashfix into a beauty industry brand, working full-time from her sophisticated home salon in Tarneit, Melbourne.
Her previous expertise in make-up artistry also adds to her unique brand of service quickly gaining her a credible reputation. Today, Lashfix serves over 200 regular customers in Melbourne, and counting.
“My vision is for women from all walks of life to understand their beauty and to be empowered. Lashfix is a vehicle to take them on this journey. I have my regular clients come in every two to three weeks for lash refills and some women come in for special occasions and then get addicted,” she laughs.
Working alongside her team of fellow Pasifika women Mele Atalina Maka and Karoline Tupou, it comes as no surprise that the team incorporates warm Pacific hospitality at their workplace. “We get in a lot of first timers and our goal is to create an environment where they can feel comfortable enough to relax and let us do our work.”
Venna’s thriving business is a testament to her own parent’s work ethic. “My family is my biggest motivation. Both my parents were such hard workers. I remember when my parents would wake up at five in the morning then come home after 12 hours of work and make our dinner everyday. I just wanted to be someone that they could be proud of and to finally take care of them. I’m also a mother of three and I want to be the example my mother has been for me. Strong, hardworking and humble.”
When it comes to Pacific beauty, Venna says Polynesian beauty is like no other. “It’s such an empowering feeling when I see SUGA’s take pride in who they are and how they look. I remember my mum would always say, ‘E iloa le teine Samoa moni i lana tu, savali ma lana gagana.’
“Here at Lashfix, we enhance your natural beauty. Our poly women are such natural beauty’s and we want to emphasise this. We want our poly women and all women to be comfortable and confident in who they are inside and out.”
She acknowledges the challenges she had faced in starting up business. She has a dream to see her Lashfix brand all over Australia. “You need capital in the beginning but you have to spend money to make money. It was hard seeing all my money go straight back into the business for things like registration fees, equipment and website but at the end of the day it’s all worth it.”
Photo credit: Sera Fifita (A Loved Photography)
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Aside from Lashes, Lashfix also worked on the hairstyling for Project “Pua Lahilahi” this year which was part of SUGA Magazine’s print edition. | Photos below: Christine De Blasio Photography