Should I Fill Another Artists Work?

A common question I've received from lash artists through the years is, "Should I fill another artist's work?"  In my career of 10+ years, I've filled someone else's work on less than a handful of clients. Two were very loyal and the rest were to provide temporary help for a local artist who had a health emergency. 

In fact, one is still a client who I've seen for years and she's someone I look forward to seeing on a regular basis.  When I met her, I was at a point in my career where I didn't have a solid plan for my business.  I was still working a corporate job during the week and lashes were a side hustle to make extra cash.  I knew that I didn't want to continue with the corporate grind and the only option I had at that point to create the lifestyle I'd dreamed of was to use my talent with lashes and hair extensions to build up a client base.  I had no clear plan or roadmap to get me there. 

So when this client called and told me she had lashes from somewhere else and needed a fill in a pinch before her vacation, my thought was if the lashes she had were really bad, I could wow her with my service and hopefully when she comes back from vacation, she sticks with me.  I also knew if she stuck with me , over time the the lashes applied by the other artist would grow out and eventually, she'd end up with a full set of lashes done by me.  So I made an exception and took her.  But I explained that I'm going into our relationship blind by not knowing if I have materials that would match.  She understood that risk and decided to work with me.

The second client is one that travels all over the world and due to her schedule, she's unable to keep appointments with the same person.  In the second case, there are a handful of artists she works with and while there are minute differences in styling, the application is usually clean and up to my personal standards.  I also know the artists she sees and they get my stamp of approval.  While she's not a client anymore due to me moving to a new area, we do still keep in touch and I'm grateful for the relationship we have.

I share these personal experiences with you as food for thought.  If you're on the fence about taking on a client that's had their lashes done elsewhere however, there are a few questions you should ask yourself before making the commitment.

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Photos of a new lash client requesting a touch up over another artist's work - courtesy of Nicole Cospy of U Deserve It Laroi's Lashery & Day Spa

IS THE APPLICATION CLEAN?

Let's face it.  Isolation doesn't come easy for a lot of artists.  I've seen many cases where lash sets are full of single extensions that are applied to multiple natural lashes.  I don't want to sound like I'm talking down on anyone because quite frankly, I used to be the artist with poor application when I started out.  But this is the first question you need to ask and know the answer to.  If a client walks in with lashes that are all clumped together from poor isolation or too much adhesive was used by the previous artist, it can be a nightmare for you. I've also seen cases where clusters and strip lashes were applied using professional strength adhesive and while that's an absolute no, no, there are artists that do it.  Issues like this make it impossible to predict your timing for a touch up.  Sure, you can add an extra hour to the appointment but what if too much adhesive was used and your remover takes longer than usual to break it down?  On the flip side, the isolation may be flawless.  If you're familiar with the other artist's work and you know that it's clean, then it's time to ask yourself the second question.

DO I OFFER SIMILAR STYLING?

No two artists are created alike and while most clients don't realize this, we all know that styling can vary tremendously from one artist to another.  With enough practice and experience, its not too difficult to match another artist's styling as long as the lash extensions are applied properly. BUT... as an artist, I personally feel like my creativity is limited when I have to follow another artist's styling to satisfy what a client wants.  One of the things I pride myself on is that my styling is different from the local artists in my area.  It feels great knowing that I have my own unique style.  Yes, making sure my client is satisfied is important but I doing my best work is equally as important.  If there are limitations put on my creativity, I'm not doing my best work. Ultimately a client chooses me because they appreciate my style, right? So I'd rather not put myself in a box trying to be a copy of another artist.

DO I HAVE SIMILAR PRODUCTS?

Fortunately we are at a point in time where most adhesives on the market contain similar ingredients. But what about lashes?  If you're just starting out, there's a great chance you don't have a huge stock of lashes in different diameters, lengths and curls.  If you have a huge stock of options, filling another artist's work may be easy for you.  But from personal experience, I have a wide range of lashes to choose from and even I can't always match the lashes.  The color, curl or finish can vary depending on the supplier. So make sure you think about this before you say yes to filling in another artist's work. 

Now some of you may work in a lash bar where you don't have a choice but to fill a coworkers work and that's totally ok.  And if you're new and trying to build up a client base, it's understandable that you don't want to say no to anyone that wants an appointment with you.  Believe me, I'm not judging.  I just want to give you a few things to think about in hopes that it helps you to make an informed decision.  

And in case you wanted to know, personally I don't fill other artist's work regardless of who they are.  I want to make sure everyone gets my personal best so it's important to me that I start with a clean set of lashes so that my creativity isn't limited.  Another reason why I stick to this is because I can't guarantee the work if it's half mine and half someone else's. 

So what's your opinion on this topic?  Do you fill other artist's work?  How has it worked out for you?  

Leave a comment below.