At just 24 years old, Raquel DaSilva is the CEO of a beauty empire.
After founding LASHGOD – originally an eyelash extension salon – in 2018, Raquel’s beauty brand has spawned into a robust ecomm site, two physical locations, an aesthetics college, and 4 sister companies. Count ‘em.
We caught up with this young beauty mogul to learn what inspired her to go out on her own, what motivates her to continue expanding the brand, and why believing in herself was the number one growth metric for her business.
Tell us how you first fell in love with beauty.
Funny enough I fell in love with beauty because I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup or hair extensions throughout elementary and high school, and naturally anything you can’t have you want more. I grew up with a lot of respect for my dad so I made sure to follow his rules – as far as he knew. As soon as I got onto the GO Train I would run to the bathroom to apply my makeup and clip in my hair extensions. I vowed to myself at a young age that, when I was old enough, I would dedicate myself to beauty. To looking and feeling beautiful and to helping other women do the same. I remember the day I was “allowed” to wear makeup – I was obsessed! I used to apply 50 coats of mascara to imitate lash extensions. My mom use to call me Tammy Faye because of my lash addiction.
What inspired you to start your own business instead of working for a salon?
I started LASHGOD very young because I had tried my best to work retail and salon jobs but I didn’t really fit in. I knew I wasn’t meant to be working at somebody else’s business. It felt uncomfortable. I wanted to experience real freedom, no rules, and to live life on my own terms.
At my very last salon job, which lasted less than one month, I said to myself, “You have to go 100% in on starting your own lash business otherwise this will be your life.” I quit with one last decent paycheque and a burning desire to build something of my own. Definitely the best decision I have ever made.
What makes LASHGOD unique from other lash services?
We are a one-stop destination for lash technicians and everyday beauty gurus alike. LASHGOD provides premium, trend-forward eyelash extension services.We also design, produce, and retail professional-quality lash extensions, tweezers, adhesives, brushes, and beauty accessories such as ring lights, misters, lash tape dispensers, and much more. We have a robust e-comm site, as well as two physical salon/retail locations (one which is opening in Yorkville in Toronto soon)! We also offer in-person and online professional lash courses through Modern Aesthetics College.
Every lash technician that works at LASHGOD has over 4 years of experience and is personally trained by me. Every artist is a master of their craft. We don’t simply place lashes like everyone else. We craft a completely individualized lash experience. We treat our clients like royalty, making sure their visit with us is one to remember. And all LASHGOD lashes are made from high-quality, cruelty-free, vegan synthetic silk PFT fibres.
What was the number one thing that helped your business grow to what it is today?
The single most important thing that got me where I am today is the unwavering belief that I have in myself, instilled in me by my dad.
If you believe you are a successful, exceptional person, then you are! Life is all about perception. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? You must be your biggest fan and your biggest support system.
The support of others comes only after you fully support and believe in yourself. When I showed others my persistence and dedication to my own success, it made everyone else believe in me too.
Just last year, you founded your own registered beauty college to train and certify lash and brow technicians, hairstylists, nail artists, and more. How is Modern Aesthetics College filling in a gap in the aesthetics industry?
Modern Aesthetics College offers and continues to add certification programs that will benefit our students. We don’t just teach the aesthetics trades. We also teach business basics so that our students can turn what they learn into a profitable beauty career.
The problem with traditional education is that students don’t know how to make money upon graduation. Our students learn from some of the biggest up-and-coming entrepreneurs in the city. I’m also very hands-on, which gives me the opportunity to ensure every student has the in-depth knowledge they need to build their own business. I share all of the mistakes and discoveries I’ve made with LASHGOD to help fast-track their success. The hundreds upon hundreds of six-figure graduates are proof that Modern Aesthetics College helps our students achieve success.
After co-founding 4 sister companies with industry partners, you’re no doubt building a business empire. What facet of the empire are you most excited about and why?
I’m definitely excited about all the new companies equally: GIRLGOD, HAIRGOD, NAILGOD and MEDIAGOD. The most exciting part is being able to see the people I started them with reach their goals.
For me, true success is seeing my co-owners reach heights they never imagined possible and expanding my team even further. It’s been a lifelong goal of mine to be the one giving out jobs rather than applying for them. Creating careers, stimulating the economy, and opening new businesses with my day one team is the most remarkable thing I’ve ever done.
Tell us why you love your job.
I love my job because I am the Picasso of this magical place we created. I enjoy seeing my ideas being translated into real tangible things. Each day offers something new and exciting and I always have something to look forward to. I work with a team of multicultural super-geniuses. Every single person has a talent that contributes to the company’s growth. We all have different backgrounds and upbringings, but somehow we managed to find each other and create something magical. Doing what I love with the people I love is the greatest life experience that I could imagine.
What piece of advice has stuck with you?
Once someone very special said to me: “Don’t ever waste time watching the competition or comparing yourself to someone else. You’re YOU. Let them watch YOU.”
As a woman in a social media generation, this advice really stuck with me. Why should I ever dedicate time to caring about what people think or watching the “competition”? This is MY life experience. I should Iive on my own terms and focus on all the things I need to accomplish. I’ve always been one to mind my own business, but there was a point when I would get a lot of people showing me someone copying my ideas or my salon design and it used to upset me. After getting this advice, I decided to be flattered by it. I am here to inspire. As soon as I let go and stopped caring about anything that didn’t serve me, I became truly free and my success grew tremendously.
To stay in-the-loop on all things LASHGOD (and shop their beauty products), hit up their website and follow them @lashgodraq. Want to get beautified in person? Make an appointment here for their Don Mills location and upcoming Yorkville salon.