2020. What. a. year. When Kati Prater and her husband, Detroit Lions placekicker, Matt Prater, decided to purchase a Lash Lounge salon, they were prepared for the ride, the rush—but not the unprecedented hurdles posed by the pandemic.
Today, we’re taking you inside Kati and Matt’s journey to build and open The Lash Lounge Birmingham – The Pearl, all in 2020: a year unlike any other…and one we’re not ever looking to repeat!
A New Venture as Lash Lounge Franchisees
When Matt was signed as a placekicker by the NFL’s Detroit Lions, the family packed their bags and made the move from Colorado to Michigan. Kati, a devout lash extension fan, was sad to leave her Colorado salon behind but excited for the new adventure ahead!
All settled in and ready to start her new life in Michigan, Kati began the hunt for a new favorite lash extension salon to call home.
But then something happened. She couldn’t find any that were just the right fit. Frustrated, her wheels started to turn. She turned to Matt: “Why don’t we open our own eyelash salon?”
After further discussions and franchise research, the stars aligned when they discovered The Lash Lounge.
Being the supportive husband he is, Matt was on board and, most of all, happy to join and support Kati in this new venture as Lash Lounge franchisees.
(photo credit: Lulu and Lula Photography)
Overcoming Obstacles…as a Team
The beginning of salon ownership went just as planned. The couple followed standard onboarding processes, continued conversations with The Lash Lounge home office team, were introduced to real estate and construction partners.
Decision making and build-out for their new salon was in full swing! Kati was elated: “For me, I was so excited to be a part of the whole process, from the very beginning of construction to choosing my mural, my chairs, etc. And most of all, to see it all come to life!”
2020 had other plans. Due to COVID-19, the construction process was delayed. “Being in Michigan and being one of the first states to shut down, we couldn’t begin construction on time and we were delayed almost 4 months. It was the longest four moths EVER!”
But 2020 wasn’t done with her yet! Kati faced many additional obstacles, perhaps the biggest of which was figuring out the right time and most effective way to hire her professional salon team. The process was not conventional, but she rolled with it: “I couldn’t hold in-person interviews which was super weird for me because I’m a people person and it just wasn’t the same via Zoom.”
Once the happy day arrived and restrictions were lifted, Kati and Matt stayed optimistic and were determined to keep everything moving full steam ahead. “My new team came together, they got in there, busted their butts and did such a great job getting the salon ready!”
Oh, Happy Day! The Lash Lounge Birmingham – The Pearl Opens!
After an almost 2 year process from when Kati and Matt first signed on as Lash Lounge franchisees, they were finally getting close to the finish line! In October of 2020 their stylists were trained and certified, then shortly after the breathtakingly beautiful Lash Lounge Birmingham – The Pearl opened!
It was a long and trying road, but once their doors were open and they began welcoming and servicing guests, it was a dream come true. Kati’s now looking forward to the day she can start planning their official grand opening celebration. What a happy moment that will be! 🙌🏼
High Hopes for 2021!
As for new hopes in the new year, Kati and Matt Prater have a lot they’re looking forward to for their salon, staff and guests…and their future as proud Lash Lounge owners. #1 on their list? “To be a top salon in the franchise!”
We can’t wait to see them soar!Learn More About Lash Lounge Franchise Opportunities