Entrepreneurs of Color Spotlight: Barlash

Accessible lashes and eyebrows. The Vargas sisters do their best to open doors for quality, multicultural beauty services for men and women at Barlash.

Connie, America and Bridget Vargas were highlighted in the Entrepreneurs of Color Spotlight series, which highlights entrepreneurs of color to empower and support their businesses. It is brought to you by the Appleton Public Library, ColorBold Business Association and UW-Madison Division of Extension.

The Vargas sisters run Barlash, 2631 N. Mead St., Appleton, as a way to pursue their passions for beauty and bring accessible multicultural care to the Fox Valley Area. The business specializes in lashes and eyebrows with services that range from waxing, brow laminations and lash extensions and much more at affordable prices.

Barlash was started in the Vargas sister’s living room in 2020 as a hobby Connie was doing. Success in her hobby boomed beyond her expectations and she decided to take the leap to starting it as her own business with her sisters, America and Bridget. Continued success led to the opening of their first brick-and-mortar store in 2021.

“I feel like the most successful businesses you see out there started in their garage or in their living room. You see Amazon, things like Facebook. That’s how we feel sometimes,” Connie said. “I wanted to share this hobby and this new thing I was doing with two of the most important and most important people in my life — which were my sisters.”

The plunge to start their own business was an intention the sisters always had. The three all had gone to college but knew they wanted to do something more. They were inspired by their father, an entrepreneur, and each other to take the leap and start their own business together.

The sisters motivate each other to take the venture with Barlash as far as they can go. One sister, Bridget, decided to go back to school as an esthetician to improve their practices.

“We’re very motivational towards each other to do our best — we want the best for each other. Doing this together, especially as sisters, is the motivation,” America said. “Especially my dad. Seeing him go along with his own business motivated us to become these three business owners.”

The Vargas family has a strong entrepreneurial background. Their father, some aunts and uncles are entrepreneurs in the Fox Valley and they knew they wanted to follow in their footsteps. The Vargas sisters with Barlash also have two more younger siblings that they hope to inspire to join up with the beauty business and later chase their own entrepreneurial ventures once they finish college.

“We do everything thinking about each other and empowering each other,” Connie said. “We have two younger sisters… so for us it’s just that continued motivation to empower younger generations as well.”

For anyone looking to start their own beauty salon, the Vargas sisters encourage them to take the first logical step. The trio did not need aesthetician degrees and licenses when they started out with just lash extensions. The growth of Barlash made them need to gain the necessary credentials to offer more services.

Connie’s next bit of advice is to take business classes. Everyone at the salon does the beauty aspect, but Connie takes care of the business side due to her college education in business from UW-Milwaukee.

“You can be an entrepreneur on your own, but it really helps to know how to make connections, how to make business plans, how to approach financial institutions, all of that,” Connie said. “One of my biggest things is if you have that foundation already then just start.”

The Vargas sisters encourage people to take the plunge like they did. You do not need a ton of money saved up or a brick-and-mortar storefront to start, Connie said.

Barlash started out of a living room doing friends and family until word of mouth spread about their quality service. They would regularly have strangers in their home when it clicked for them that their business has grown and is successful enough that they need a physical storefront. But as always, and what most entrepreneurs say, is that starting is the hardest part.Barlash is open Monday-Friday from 9:00am-12:00 pm and 5:00-9:00 pm. Saturday from 9:00 am-3:30 pm and closed on Sunday. Appointments can be booked on Barlash’s webstie.