Felicia Rand, owner of Femme Jolie Eye Design Studio, knows there's no socially distant way to wax or tweeze eyebrows. "I took a notepad and started writing out all the potential ways I could make money.”

Felicia Rand felt like things were finally starting to click for her this winter. She launched Femme Jolie Eye Design Studio in 2017 after years of doing eyebrows and lashes out of others’ salons because she wanted to run a business her own way and treat customers the way she wanted to be treated.

“If you’re going to be in a space for seven, eight hours a day, you want to enjoy it,” she says. “It’s really like a girly space that I made for myself.”

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She made some early mistakes, she admits, but had found mentorship through the Women’s Small Business Accelerator, which helped. Her appointment book was nearly full March 18 when Gov. Mike DeWine ordered barbershops and salons to close.

Rand understands why. There’s no socially distant way to wax or tweeze eyebrows or do someone else’s makeup. “I don’t have many rules, but I’ve always told customers, you cannot come in sick,” she says. “I don’t have a service where I don’t touch a face.”

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Femme Jolie is closed until salons can reopen, and Rand gave up a part-time job delivering groceries because of concerns for her 6-year-old daughter, who had been fighting infections since fall. 

But, “I hope you didn’t want a woe-is-me story,” she laughs. “I actually think this happened at the best time it could have. It forced me to get over myself. I took a notepad and started writing out all the potential ways I could make money.”

Rand, who is 39, is focusing on a side project selling T-shirts and gifts online. She’s staying connected, too, with the women who see her studio as a place to unwind and talk about their problems at home and at work. She had been getting a lot of “my brows look crazy” comments from friends and customers, but she knew they also were missing that space to share. She sent them an email with a photo of her with her two children, added her cell number and told them she’s there if they want to talk.

Rand is confident customers will return. Her lease is up in July, and she’s planning to return as well.

“I will reopen,” she says. “But I’ll probably have people wear masks.”

Bob Vitale is a freelance writer. 

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