Amy Connolly and Carrie LaPenta run Lash a go-go in Fountain Hills, but only Connolly is licensed to provide lash services.
“We don’t want Carrie doing eyelashes,” Connolly says. “We joked about teaching her just so she could do mine, but I don’t trust her.”
Before going into business together, Connolly and LaPenta had been best friends for quite some time and their banter kept them close over the years. With their love for eyelashes, you could even call them lash-addicts. In fact, when Connolly lost her job in March 2020, she didn’t cry because she was out of a job, she cried because she couldn’t get her eyelashes done.
As a licensed beautician and former director of a major hotel chain, Connolly was beside herself when, in 2020, all non-vital businesses were ordered to close their physical locations. While Connolly might argue that eyelash businesses are vital, she had to find a new way for people to get their eyelashes done. Living in Pennsylvania at the time, Connolly moved to Fountain Hills where her mother and LaPenta lived and hatched a plan to start an eyelash business on wheels.
“We were all trying to navigate a ‘new normal’ with face masks,” Connolly said. “So our whole concept behind Mobile Lash Artistry was that when you talk to someone, you can’t see their face and their smile, but you can see their eyes.”
Despite a slow start, business is picking up. Last year, the two launched the Pro Lash Training Academy, where lash enthusiasts could attend a comprehensive, hands-on training program that gave them the expertise to “lash like a boss.”
Through an in-person or online platform, Pro Lash Training Academy offers theory and practical application of classic and volume eyelash extensions.
With the success of the academy and the easing of COVID restrictions, Connolly was eager to transition from a mobile lash studio to a physical location in Fountain Hills, and LaPenta provided the perfect space for it. In addition to co-owning Lash a go-go, LaPenta has been in the real estate business for 18 years and owns CPL Properties at 16858 E. Avenue of the Fountains.
“We really don’t like each other,” said Connolly, who moved into LaPenta’s office about two months ago, sarcastically. With most of their clientele living in the city, the two naturally promote and share each other’s businesses.
“It’s like empowering women,” said LaPenta, who runs the financial side of the business.
The atmosphere at Lash a go-go is soothing, perfect for what Connolly calls “lash naps” on their padded lash bed. Connolly has ample light to skillfully apply lightweight extensions using a safe, professional-grade, certified adhesive. A sliding door and linen curtains ensure privacy throughout sessions, which typically last 45-60 minutes. Eyelash refills are scheduled for two to three weeks depending on wear and retention, and extension length, diameter, curvature and volume are selected based on customer demand.
An additional lash studio is nearing completion, and a waiting area and loot shop contain clothing, tumblers, and other goodies for sale. Lash a go-go gift certificates are available on their website, and the duo said they make perfect gifts for birthdays and anniversaries.
“We offer loyalty programs with a nice punch card and after 10 visits you get half off your next visit,” Connolly said.
“We always try to thank essential workers and always have military and student discounts… we want to get to know our customers,” said Connolly, who recently gave discounts to senior graduates.
For Connolly, the best part of the job is the expression on her clients’ faces after they open their eyes and see themselves in the mirror.
“For me, that’s it,” Connolly said.
She told of a client who had lost her hair due to chemotherapy. She was overworked and exhausted from her work as a nurse.
“She just needed to feel good about herself,” Connolly recalled. “When she opened her eyes, she cried and said, ‘I actually feel beautiful again.'”
As their business continues to grow, Connolly and LaPenta are looking for charities to support, especially if it’s empowering women, veterans, or just those who’ve been through the ringer and are trying to start over.
After some research and recruiting, the two are making plans to reopen their mobile eyelash business and provide their services to people at home.
“Everything continues to evolve,” says Connolly, who enjoys getting to know his customers. While its loyal customers are important, its “special occasion” customers are equally unique.
“They are just as important as the people who come back every two weeks.”
Lash a go-go is located at 16858 E. Avenue des Fontaines. Service is by appointment and can be done by visiting their website at lashagogo.com. For more information, visit their website or call 908-295-3009.