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High Brow Business: Elke Von Freudenberg

What’s hot in spa services? It’s right in front of your face (literally!)

Eyebrows are hotter than ever. We take them for granted, but Elke Von Freudenberg is a New York City-based celebrity eyebrow specialist who understands that eyebrows can make or break your look. Her salon, called Elke Von Freudenberg Salon , allows you to get this flawless eyebrow look with The Model Brow service. Women are spending more than ever on putting their best face forward and Elke has capitalized on that trend. She also sells eyebrow-related products in her private Manhattan salon.

And as with eyebrows, trends may change, but some principles of growing a business (and using social media) are in plain sight.

Here are some of Elke’s tips on how to rock great eyebrows and how to stay up to date on hot trends in the beauty business.

How long have you had your business?
I’ve owned my own salon for about seven years now and have been in the business since 1982.

What prompted you to start your brow business?
I always had a passion for beauty, in all areas. Faces always fascinated me so I started with my esthetics license in 1982 and went on to do photography makeup in Los Angeles. That led me to New York where I did runway for Dolce & Gabana, Diane Von Furstenberg, Calvin Klein, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar. I ultimately opened my own salon for private clients where I specialize in eyebrow shaping along with my brow product line.

What have been your proudest moments?
The day I signed the lease for own salon was definitely my proudest. I also enjoy being able to help someone with scars, or going through chemo and we can help them get their eyebrows back. I always get teary-eyed after working with them and seeing their strength.

Do you have an example of a hot trend you saw before it caught on? How did that impact your business?
Being behind the scenes doing editorial work, I definitely saw the bold thicker brow trend coming. But it took a good six years before clients caught on to it and it’s still going strong. I don’t see it dying anytime soon. I predict it will last another six years. While the thicker brow is still going strong, I see changes to the shape. We’re now seeing two shapes coming in — one a straighter brow that’s more flat. That’s slowly getting requested more, I get about five a week. The other trend is a thicker brow but a more curved line, similar to the shape Gigi Hadid has.

Who are some of your inspirations as a business owner?
I’m always in awe of Oribe and Ted Gibson who can manage several salons and still be on top of their game. And Nars creates an amazing makeup line and keeps its game changing season after season.

What has the impact of social media been on your business growth? What prompted you to start your blog?
I’ve had a beauty blog for the longest time, since the late 1990’s and it’s slowly transitioning into a more personal blog along with salon news, info and brow trends. I’ve always loved writing and the blog keeps me on top of things. Social media has been amazing for us, with Instagram being the best. We’ve gotten retail accounts from it, as well as followers from all over the world. I love to post teasers of new products coming out or things that happen in the salon.

What advice would you give to other women running their own businesses?

  1. Make sure you love what you do to death. My father taught me that one. He always said, if you love what you do, the good times are even better, and the bad times aren’t so bad.
  1. Realize that things will change. A bad month turns into a good, a difficult client becomes your most loyal. You never know what will happen. Things will always change.
  1. Treat your clients and your staff the way you want to be treated. The personality you have will be reflected back to you because like attracts like, so if you want a great clientele, be passionate, respectful and professional to them. The rest will just disappear. Stay true to yourself and your passion and the right people will join you.
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