Some of her graduates make up to $15,000 a month.
This article is part of Narcity's biweekly Millennial Money Makers series, which profiles young Canadians who are making money in "new" — and often surprising — ways. Have a story to tell? Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.
Running a business is hard enough, but 24-year-old Raquel DaSilva is proof that you can do it at a young age — and be very successful at it.
The Scarborough native went from doing lashes in a 10-by-10 room in her dad's house to becoming the founder and CEO of Lashgod as well as Modern Aesthetics College, so you definitely won't find any dust on her.
DaSilva spoke to Narcity about how much money she's making, how much money others in the industry can make and her advice for success.
This 24-Year-Old Created Two Multi-Million Dollar Businesses Out Of Her Love Of Beauty Narcity Canada | YouTube
How and why did you get into your industry?
"So I got into my industry, literally, just for the love of beauty," DaSilva told Narcity from her salon in Yorkville.
She explained that from a young age, she remembers breaking into her mom's beauty supplies.
"I always wanted to enhance my natural beauty," she said. "Me and my cousin would always play around doing each other's hair and makeup."
In June 2019, DaSilva opened Lashgod Don Mills, which is both a beauty salon and a beauty supply retail hub, and in 2021, she opened a second location in Yorkville. The Yorkville spot is also where she offers in-person training to certify people as lash and brow technicians, hairstylists, nail artists and aestheticians.
"I really wanted to go down the traditional route to make my parents happy," DaSilva noted, "but beauty is something that has literally always spoken to me since I was young. And it's something that to this day I enjoy — you know, waking up in the morning and getting dolled up."'
What is your educational and professional background?
DaSilva said she went to George Brown College for business but struggled to focus in class. After sticking it out for six months, she walked out of an exam and started looking up beauty schools to present her parents with her idea of an alternative career path. And that's how she landed at the Canadian Beauty College.
"I remember just loving the energy, the vibe, the small classrooms, and my dad actually really liked it too. And that's where I took my first lash course," DaSilva said.
From there, she became inspired to really get into lashes.
"When I went to school for medical esthetics, I said, 'It's not perfect, but if I apply myself it's going to give me the information that I need to do whenever I see fit.'"
"Lashes, for me, when I did it — I remember being in that course with 12 other girls and I said, 'I want to be the best at this,'" DaSilva explained.
How much money are you making?
"Two of our companies, Lashgod and Modern Aesthetics College, are multi-million dollar companies," DaSilva shared.
"People hear that and they think that I have millions of dollars in my bank account, which I definitely do not," she noted. "We do have 35 people on payroll. So we have a huge amount of payroll going out on a weekly basis, plus hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in supplies that we have to order to support our e-commerce and to support everything that we're doing in store."
Although her companies generate "a few million dollars every year," DaSilva said that she puts herself on the payroll "for a small monthly amount."
What sort of money can be expected for someone entering this industry?
"I feel like I'm the perfect person to ask because I have thousands of graduates from my lash program," she said.
DaSilva explained that there are two factors in success: good training, and how much a person is willing to put in, such as giving out business cards and using social media.
"Typically the goal is to make between $300 to $800 a day," she said, noting that it's very doable. "We have a lot of graduates that are making $10,000, $12,000, $15,000 a month."
Do you have any advice for anyone getting into the industry?
DaSilva says it's a balance of 50% business and 50% having the right attitude, energy and enthusiasm.
"Having a good sense of how to operate your business on the back end is going to make your business successful," she said. "But when you're dealing with people, you really need to understand how to be like water, and how to communicate with people in a way that they want to come back to you."
DaSilva noted that people can get a pretty good quality service anywhere, but making sure your interaction with your customer is special is what will keep them coming back to you every two to four weeks for treatments.
"It's about how you are going to train your personality and your social skills to really make people like you and for you to be able to adapt to any personality type," she said.
What are the best and worst parts of your job?
"The best part of my job, I would say, and the reason why I haven't been able to give this up, is doing business building with my students," she said.
DaSilva loves giving out her secrets on how she built up her businesses and sharing tidbits that she says you don't learn in regular school.
"That's something for me that I get such good feedback on," she explained. "That for me is something that has changed my life and a lot of people's lives."
As for the worst parts, DaSilva says it can be hard to constantly be busy.
"People will see my life and be like, 'Oh, wow, that's amazing.' But there's no off switch," she said. "I've sacrificed a lot of time with my family and even my own health sometimes. I don't have the option of sleeping in or taking time off."
"I don't think it's a bad thing," she noted. "I just think it's something that people don't really consider when they think of entrepreneurship in this industry at this level."