Vivian Kooch: Wink Beauty Lounge

We see trends come and go all the time because once a celebrity flaunts in on the red carpet, it’s in stores within the week. But there’s a trend that celebrities have started that seemed to have stayed: eyelash extensions. The need to make their eyes pop in an HD photo is enough reason for women to want them for themselves. There’s been much buzz surrounding it but not many services for it.

coworkingresized 5014 111018691046 697921046 3278122 4091976 n Vivian Kooch: Wink Beauty LoungeBut Vivian Go Kooch came around and launched Vancouver’s first specialty spa that offered semi-permanent eyelash extensions. She started her business in 2004 as a mobile service and gave it the short, sweet and appropriate name – Wink.  The mobile service then turned into a little studio in 2006 for the public to go to. “I opened it for all my equipment and for those who didn’t want a house call.”

And finally, in 2008, it became an open-concept retail boutique beauty lounge in Gastown. The two floors include space for waxing, facials, manicures, pedicures and many other beauty needs. In addition to that she also offers a range of services as add-ons or alternatives to the lash extensions such as lash tinting and brow shaping. Vivian recommends having your manicure, pedicure done at the same time as lash extensions. “It is a great time saver because you are lying comfortably anyways in our recliner.” But having something stuck so close to your eye may be a little scary. “Lash extensions are painless and easy to maintain with proper care,” Vivian ensures, “there are also full strip lashes or alternatives like serums for natural lash growth.”

As a leading specialist in Vancouver, “all the beauty professionals are certified and licensed. We do extensive training on the girls we choose.” Vivian, herself, runs wink with over a decade of experience. “I’ve been in the industry since 1996 so, make-up, hands, feet, removing hair and adding hair to ladies’ faces is fascinating.” It’s not just the service she loves. “What is interesting is the ability to really connect and meet some great people. You learn a lot about the human mind and about yourself when you’re with a client for a few hours. The beauty industry is 50% cosmetology and 50% psychology!” she admits.

Being in the beauty industry may look like a breeze but she admits there were some tough times. “The hardest part about opening [the lounge] was trying to transition from a sole proprietor to incorporation. I highly recommend to anyone to start by incorporating from the get-go. A rapidly growing company should be incorporated in the early stages. Paperwork is rough! [Also] I found out later in my business, that you really have to step outside of yourself and be the cause for others to be leaders in your business. As the “Master Organizer”, your job is to organize and re-organize that machine you call your business until it runs the way you want. Throwing a bunch of money at it also won’t make it run any faster or better. However, inspiring people to be leaders in your project and organizing the money coming in, will allow your business to really grow and florish.”

With that said, her focus is to set an example. “This year’s theme is all about community, compassion and contribution, so we are spending time supporting our local Gastown businesses by combining forces for special events but also doing volunteer work to help out the less fortunate in the Downtown Lower East Side area.

We are also working on a training program and distribution for lash extensions and in talks with the Cosmetology Association of BC to introduce the single lash extension products to future beauty professionals at schools and tradeshows. Also a web-store and second out-of-town location is in the works.”

Be sure to stay updated with Vivian on her Twitter and Facebook. Keep your eyes open for a hot pink Wink car around town!

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