Meet Janny; she is one-half of AZLO Lashes — and she a fearless entrepreneur. Read Janny’s take on how she got started, what it’s like to be a business partner, and what it's like to run a company. She’s become a business maven and left a job to fuel her career. Next week check out Brianna’s take on everything.
Lauren Elizabeth: Tell us who you are.
Janny Nguyen: I am a 28-year-old Vietnamese gal from Lawndale, CA. I come from a huge family of seven sisters and one brother. Growing up with so many influences in Los Angeles, I knew I wanted to have my own business, but I wasn’t sure what kind I would have. I have always had a passion for making people feel better no matter what job or position I was in. As it turns out, I have had various jobs that involve customer services skills; from being a server/bartender to a physical therapist technician, and eventually a salon manager. It brings me such joy to make people smile and genuinely feel happy. AZLO Lashes embodies my passion for helping people feel beautiful as well as help put a stop to animal cruelty in the beauty industry. Brianna and I created our company by focusing on the positives of ourselves and others. We wanted to create a brand that cultivates empowerment for all walks of life and protect those who may not have a voice in the industry.
Brianna and I founded AZLO Lashes in October 2015, when we first met—and have been making each step of our journey turn into huge leaps within our company. We had no idea where to start or where to go, but we’re learning as we’re earning—and that’s worth so much — looking back at how much we have both grown and developed our company.
It is extremely amazing to be able to have and work with a business partner. We totally compliment and balance each other when it comes to our business. We have different strengths and skills, so we always make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to making decisions together. Occasionally, we don’t see eye to eye, so we always make sure to make final decisions together with plausible reasoning. There are many days when things are not easy, but that’s what is great about having a business partner; they lift you when you’re feeling down. Brianna is the best at keeping my head up—thanks, girl! You’re an angel.
LE: Lashes are big in fashion, especially here in LA. I love that your mission is to create a product that helps with self-confidence, empowerment, and reduces the animal cruelty footprint. Can you let us know what led you down this path to both empower and not harm animals?
JN: What led us down the path to both empower and not harm animals is simple; to respect and love one another no matter what the cost. We all know how much hate and animosity is out there in this world. All walks of life are constantly prejudged, labeled, or mistreated with disrespect to who they are as people. Why not stand together and help each other practice positive affirmations to feel confident and beautiful; instead of listening to all the negativity that stems especially from social media? The copious attempts to make a person feel any less than what they are/should be the reason why we want and need to cultivate and encourage positivity through our brand. This reason is why we named our lashes after positive affirmations and personality traits so that you can feel empowered. It starts with YOU — help us spread the love!
LE: Can you share a behind the scenes favorite moment you had when creating the lashes?
JN: One of my favorite BTS moments was pairing the list of names we created to each of the lash styles because of what I was envisioning—customers feeling the name of the lash styles and owning that positive affirmation. It brings me such joy, knowing that our lashes make them feel fierce, resilient, radiant, sassy, classy, or elegant. I love hearing customers saying, “I am sassy!” when they are wearing our lashes.
LE: What are your top three tips for starting a business?
JN: My top three tips for starting a business would be:
When in doubt, ask; because you will need the right answers.
Take care of only one or two things at a time—don’t overwhelm yourself with too much.
Be ready to make social and financial sacrifices; because you need to grow as a business owner, like how your business needs to grow an income and results!
LE: Tell us about a breaking glass moment.
JN: I feel like our breaking glass moment was when we realized we wanted our company to be a vegan and cruelty-free company. In the beginning stages of us creating our brand, we were testing out different types of materials, styles, curls, lengths, etc. We noticed that the lashes made of “silk synthetic” were just as durable and beautiful as other lashes that were made from animal fibers or fur. Brianna and I are very aware of how animals can be mistreated in the beauty industry, and we realized that we did not want our company to have any negative aspects. If we can have alternatives and help save animals from harm, why wouldn’t we? We then decided to make it a movement to help bring a stop to all the animal cruelty practiced in the industry by getting our products certified by PETA. Ultimately, we want to give back to the community and give a portion of our sales to non-profit organizations who make it their mission to put this to an end. Stay tuned for what we have planned to come soon!
LE: Do you have any other jobs outside of your lash business? If so, what have you learned that can be brought into your company?
JN: I just recently left my job as a salon manager to work on AZLO Lashes full time! Before this, I worked 40-50 hours a week ensuring, clients had beautifully manicured hands and feet. It was my job to make sure every client was happy with the health and personalized style of their nails before they walked out the door. However, managing the salon was more than just nails. It was fulfilling each client’s desires whether it was their health or appearance of their nails; it was building relationships and providing a space for clients to relax and unwind with the love and care of another person. I feel like working there made a huge impact as to how I wanted to build for AZLO Lashes since both companies strive to be a source of love and empowerment.
LE: What is the best piece of advice you've received?
JN: The best piece of advice I have ever received was to never limit yourself from what you think you can only do; because you will end up doing just that! Life is about growing and doing things that may be uncomfortable, but you must keep practicing until they are comfortable. I feel like we constantly stop ourselves from what we want to do because of what others may think. Rejection is not easy to handle, so creating a high belief system for yourself is key. Personal development is very important throughout the journey, so take the necessary steps for what you want in your life because no one is going to hand it to you.
LE: What is your favorite quote and why?
JN: “Patience, persistence, and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” By Napoleon Hill. This quote is my favorite quote because it’s a reminder always to pull myself up and to be consistent with the responsibilities that I uphold. From time to time, I find myself doubting why I’m continuing to do my business. However, I have to remind myself that nothing comes overnight. Any business takes time to get the results you desire, so I’m constantly telling myself to be patient and keep being persistent so that my success can and perspire and hopefully, inspire!
LE: What advice would you give to a Girl on the Rise?
JN: Never give up. If you have something, you love to do or are passionate about pursuing, just do it! You never know who you’ll influence and how doing something you love can turn your life around! I make this statement almost every time I talk about my journey with AZLO Lashes!
LE: What's your favorite thing to do when you're off the clock?
JN: My absolute favorite thing to do is to laugh! So, doing anything that will get me to laugh is always great. Spending time with my boyfriend, family, and/or close friends in the comfort of my home with my two cats, Joey, Chandler, and my dog, Hank usually will do the trick! I love unwinding by watching TV and having a glass of wine with cheese and crackers! I mean, who doesn't?