Brow Queen Amy-Jean Linnehan On Building A Beauty Empire
The woman behind the brand reveals how she got there – and how you can too
Once upon a time we plucked our own eyebrows – often with disastrous results. These days switched-on women know they’re better off visiting with a brow pro at least semi-regularly, if not every couple of months. Because the truth is, a professional is always a good idea. That holds true no matter what you’re attempting to do – but most definitely when it comes to your face.
In Australia, you have plenty of brow pros to choose from. But there’s one who truly stands out from the rest – Amy-Jean Linnehan, of the famed Amy-Jean Eye Couture. We’ve long admired AJ – both for her incredible brow skill and also, her business finesse. Here, we grilled her on both.
How did you get your start in the brow business?
A total gamble really. I had no business plan but knew I could whizz a brow into shape. I set up in a very busy hair salon so I had no hesitation in chanting about eyebrows all day to the poor ladies waiting for their colour to process. I eventually got some bottoms on my brow bed and then before I knew it I was doing 11 hour days and 25 clients a day.
I’ve always been a dead-set brow pervert and a keen artist. I studied business at uni and decided to have a go at combining my love for a well shaped brow and my curiosity on how to develop a brand. I honestly never thought, this might not work out. I was too busy on the tweezers to give it a seconds thought.
How many salons do you currently have?
Five. One in Sydney, the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Brisbane and Amy Jean Privée VIP suites which are also in Sydney.
Can you pass on any general brow advice or is it just too tricky?
Yes, shoot me! I could cough up pages of advice but really it’s far too general to give advice on such a uniquely framing feature of our face. The depth of colour, the facial features, your muscle strength symmetry, hair colour and skin tones all come into play.
I will say this … please invest in a visit to a specialist who has an acute eye for detail and follow their lead. This will be money well spent.
Finish this sentence. A beautifully-sculpted brow has the power to … shed years off your appearance. It creates polish and lift. An elegant brow will always turn heads.
And now this sentence. On the flip-side a poorly-shaped brow can … age you 10 years.
What is the most popular brow look right now?
What suits YOU! Don’t follow trends. Be original. If your features are bold then you can carry a fierce brow, but you tiny gals out there with petite features and minute heads, an overdone brow will enter the room before you and overtake your whole presence.
Is that a style we can all wear/aspire to?
There’s plenty of hot celeb brows out there but they look great because they’re tailored to their individual look. Once again, invest in a trip to see a brow shaping guru.
You always look AMAZING. Give me three top beauty tips please …
Ha that’s kind. Guess I’ll stick to never leaving the house without a full face on then. Hang on, there’s one. I love makeup and I see it as artistic expression. I’d love to be a tinted moisturizer and lip gloss kinda girl, but I’d most likely scare my neighbors.
So mine are:
Don’t be lazy with makeup. Put your best face forward every day. If you’re time poor then investigate semi permanent makeup. We offer lips, eyeliner and brow tattooing with extremely natural results.
Use quality skincare with active ingredients like C serums or retinol. I swear it burns a layer of crappy skin off each time you use it. I also marinate in Dr Spiller Collagen Cream.
Blow dries. Treat yourself. It feels like magic when you skip out of a salon with fresh locks. Go Hollywood and go big. Yes, accept the back-comb option I say.
What does your routine look like – manicure every Tuesday, blow dry every Thursday?
I wish I had a rhythm like that! I travel a lot so that throws things into chaos. I tend to message my hairdresser the day I need help and he puts up with me for some reason. We’re all bloody time poor aren’t we?
I just bought a home spray tan gun after my fiancée agreed to be my tan man. I was a little worried when he said ‘It can’t be any harder than painting a fence right?’. Lordy
Three fashion + style tips please …
Wear clothes in your correct size.
If you’re a black on black addict, opt for a hot lip colour or heel.
If you have thought about a particular piece more than three times, work your derrière off and buy it!
Women are cool. We know them. We are them! They make for great business owners because …
We’re intuitive. We know how to support each other and listen to others needs yet we won’t be played and we know how to protect what we’ve worked hard for by recognizing when someone/something isn’t genuine.
Do you have any advice for women wanting to launch a new business or grow the one they already have?
Yes it’s called head down tail up. If you’re not a fan of sheer hard work then reconsider. If you love a crazy day (for example, me responding to this interview at 11:56pm) then go for it!
I’m a sucker for challenges, projects and gambles. If I finish one project, I’m always thinking about not only the next one but the next two. The ideas are always brewing.
We have 26 on the Amy Jean Eye Couture team now so there’s developments by the minute. You cannot sit still in business. It’s a race. But a word of advice – be thorough and never cut corners.
Practical tips of any kind? Instagram, a good PR agent, a solid support team?
For me it’s my staff. My clients always tell me how lovely and kind each of my team are and that’s because I hunt down kind-hearted people in my interview process. Ego can stay outside. I learnt very early on that one self-entitled personality can throw the whole team out which means no more working as a ‘collective’. A great team means everyone can go home with a happy heart.
Most famous clients?
Naomi Campbell, Courtney Love, Dannii Minogue and Delta Goodrem (and of course you Miss TBI). Honestly, my most fabulous and fun clients are always, without a doubt, journalists or anyone who works in magazines.
Any downsides to being a woman in business?
I’m learning every day. There’s times when I do tell myself to ‘man up’. I loathe the word boss and I’m always hopeful that my staff will show me respect and work hard because I show them respect and work hard. I like to think those two aspects are mirrored without the need to ask for it.
It can be tough though … I cried the first time I fired someone. She cried first. I cried because she was crying. Then we cuddled each other crying. Hopeless.
Future you – do you have a five year plan or a dream for the future?
Yes – I’ve got my biggest business project yet just around the corner and I am so flipping excited! Then I’ll get bored again and chase another project. I plan everything while I’m wide awake at 2am, including salon interiors for shops that aren’t mine yet. But I’ve just been stalking them on Realestate.com so I can keep myself awake. Crazy fool I am.
You’re getting married soon (congrats!). Um … babies?
Yes, I’d like a couple of those too! Cannot wait to train up a few apprentice pluckers!