Liz Hernandez, Mother, Wife and Founder of Dama Lashes
We decided to interview Liz Hernandez, the founder of Dama Lashes. Liz is a mother, wife, business owner, and of course, a lash enthusiast. The idea behind Dama Lashes started while Liz was sitting at her desk and realized there was more to life than a 9-5 job.
Let’s begin by telling us a little bit about your story and background.
I am a 29 year old mother of a 3 year old and a 1 year old. I have been married for 6 years to my high school sweetheart. I work as a Pharmacy Technician at a health insurance company in Southern California. I lived in La Puente, CA up to the age of 12 then moved to Pomona, CA. My mother was a stay at home mom up until I started High School and my dad worked for a lighting company.
My parents had a side hustle too. They sold clothes door to door out of their truck bed in the Coachella Valley for over 10 years. They would go sell almost every weekend. After they stopped going to the Coachella Valley to sell clothes, my parents would go sell at the swapmeet.
They sold anything and everything, and still do up to this day. From tools, to buttons, to shoes, cups, strollers, dishes. I literally mean everything and anything.
On weekends when they didn’t go to sell at the swapmeet, we were up early to go to yard sales. They would hit up these yard sales to gather products to sell. Ever since I was young I was taught that I had to hustle. The hustle was not easy, but not impossible.
How did you get the idea or concept for your business? What services do you offer?
I was always on the search for a business I could start. I tried many things such as a photobooth business, selling jewelry, and selling little things here and there such as scarves and sunglasses.
I always wanted to be a makeup artist but everyone and their momma was going to cosmetology school and I was like nope! I am not following the trend. I ended up going to adult school to earn my Pharmacy Technician License and forgot about being a makeup artist, but I still loved makeup. 1 marriage, a full time job, and 2 kids later I had little to no time for makeup.
For some reason I started to buy lashes and realized this was a fast, easy way to look put together. Or in our terms, no te miras dejada. I started to sell lashes at work and realized I loved people coming to me and asking me about lashes. I am the lash plug at work lol! I also noticed some lashes were really good quality and others were really bad quality.
I also started to notice that “dramatic lashes” were in and a good natural looking lash was seldom. The only natural looking lashes I knew were the Ardell brand, yet to me they were a one time use and I could not afford to buy lashes for everyday of the week. I realized that I needed something natural, comfortable, and reusable.
I needed a lash that I could pop on with little to no makeup and still look put together. I knew that I was not the only one with this problem. That is when my idea started to brew. I did not have any guidance from anyone as to how to start your own lash brand. I myself researched and reached out to manufacturers.
I started to sample lashes and that is how Dama Lashes started.
Who is your greatest inspiration?
I have many inspirations from my mother, to Selena, to my own girls. My mother taught me to hustle. Selena taught me that you can be yourself, represent your background, and still break barriers.
My daughters inspire me to build something for their future. To push hard and show them that there is more out there than a 9-5 job. To pave a way for them as my parents paved a way for me.
My oldest daughter wakes up every morning and says “mommy your gonna stay home with me?” and my response is “sorry baby I have to go to work” which is followed by her begging me to stay home. I leave to work every morning with a broken heart.
I want to reach a place in life to where I will work for myself and make my own schedule. So I can finally say “yes mami, im gonna stay home”. The name of my lash brand is actually a combination of both my daughters middle names. Da is from Daisy and Ma is from Mary.
What is unique about your business?
My business is unique as it is not based on looking perfect. In the words of Beyonce “perfection is ehh” It is more than just a lash brand, it’s a way for women to feel better about themselves.
My posts are not from influencers, they are from real women, with real jobs.
They are for women with little to no time for themselves. They are for the mothers who have given every minute of their day to their children and want a little glam without looking plastic. I am over the instagram “perfection”, the internet is not real life.
I want my daughters to look up to women who don’t rely on Instagram to survive. I want my daughters to have respect for themselves and be independent strong women. I don’t sell a fantasy, I sell reality.
What were some struggles you faced along the way?
Funds! It is extremely hard to start a business while just trying to survive.
Without any extra funds you have to work with what you have. In my case I use my phone and natural sunlight for pics. Another barrier was and is, is that I am not experienced in business.
I really went into this blindly knowing little to nothing, BUT I am working and learning as I go.
What is your greatest strength?
I like to believe I have a lot of common sense and I don’t really know how to explain that. I have a “If-it-sounds-too-good-to-be true-it probably-is” type of mentality.
If you could give one piece of advice to a latina entrepreneur looking to start a beauty line, what advice would offer?
In the words of Damon John from Shark Tank, “Use the power of broke”. Meaning never do more than what you could afford. I wanted to buy these cute business cards with gold raised foil and rounded edge, blah blah blah, and it cost $130.00 for 100 cards.
I got advised by my nail girl @lavenderbeautyboutique to use Vista Print. I paid about $40.00 for 100 business cards and 30 postcards.
That took my cost from $1.30 per business card to about .30 cents, the power of broke.
Where do you see your business in 1 year?
In 1 year I hope to be available in more stores throughout not only Southern California, but maybe in NY, Chicago, Arizona, and Texas