West Seattle businesses: Eyelash Jewelry creator sees success

February 11, 2013 at 3:18 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 22 Comments

Story and photo by Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

If you take a chance on your dream – it just might come true.

West Seattle newcomer and Eyelash Jewelry entrepreneur Natalie Russo can vouch for that.

She has created a product so successful, she’s been able to quit a full-time job to concentrate on filling online orders for her designs…

“I forget that I have (the lashes) on,” says Russo, “I’ll notice that people are staring at my face and I wonder, ‘Is there something on my face?’”

Yes, there is something on her face — bejeweled, feathered, beaded and colorful false eyelashes that take eye decoration to a whole new level.

Russo has taken her “experimental” and “extreme” makeup ideas from “gluing stuff onto my face” to finding a wearable art niche in a population of customers that includes performers, costumers, drag queens, ravers, and just about anyone looking to add splash to a Halloween costume or a party outfit.

Demand for the Eyelash Jewelry has become so great, thanks to recent publicity on sites including MTV.com, that Russo recently quit her full-time job to focus exclusively on creating her jewelry.

She works out of her home studio in West Seattle and as of this writing, she was “down to” 17 orders to fill. “That’s down from 50,” she says with relief, “I never thought 17 would seem like a small number!”

She makes all the pieces by hand, which is painstaking and takes patience; designing, assembling and shipping takes a couple of hours per pair. Asked about her design process, Russo says, “Whenever I stop to think, ‘what will people buy?’ the design fails. When I just play with it, it’s a hit.” She will be adding new designs to her Etsy page: and is planning to offer more holiday-specific designs.

The lashes are attached to the eyelids using regular false eyelash glue available in stores. Asked whether the jewelry is irritating in any way, Russo says she’s never had anything fall apart or been uncomfortable in them in any way. “These are a make-up product, not a health product. Some people are allergic to the eyelash glue and that can be an issue.” She removes the eyelashes before going to sleep at night, and because she has such a wide variety, selecting her Eyelash Jewelry is simply part of coordinating her daily outfit.

When wearing the lashes in public, Russo says reaction ranges from people who “get it” and enjoy them to those who get “freaked out.” “There’s more of an art scene here in Seattle, than in rural Vermont (where she moved from.) The difference is amazing. These are my kind of people here and it feels like home.”

She’ll be sticking to selling the jewelry through her Etsy store for now and envisions adding lower-lash jewelry to her offerings. She’ll also be continuing to figure out international shipping costs as orders come in from overseas – including Australia, Israel, Brazil, even Saudi Arabia.

(You can get a closer look at Natalie Russo’s creations on her Pinterest page.)

22 Comments

  1. So cool to see other West Seattle etsy sellers! Rock on!

    Comment by Desertdweller — 3:39 pm February 11, 2013 #

  2. Well done! Also, why do I think those will go over Big in Japan…

    Comment by mookie — 4:34 pm February 11, 2013 #

  3. Saw her story on Evening Magazine last week, congrats Natalie!

    Comment by luckymom30 — 4:36 pm February 11, 2013 #

  4. Natalie! These are fabulous. Congratulations on your success! Looking forward to seeing more of your creations!

    (Keri–great story!)

    Comment by Teri Ensley — 4:37 pm February 11, 2013 #

  5. Thanks, Luckymom, no time to watch TV ’round here (except the morning news, since we get traffic tips from – and sometimes provide them to – Tracy Taylor), so didn’t know she’d been on Evening Mag. Natalie hadn’t crossed my radar till one recent day on my personal Facebook page, I mused something like, would love to hear inspiring success stories … I think it was probably a depressing news day, as they sometimes are … and someone mentioned the brilliant one-line pitch “West Seattle designer’s Etsy store is so hot, she quit her full-time job to handle all the business” … couldn’t resist. Especially since it’s such an unusual concept! Reminds me of olden-days Las Vegas showgirls, who wore ornate fake eyelashes that seemed to be inches long … Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 4:51 pm February 11, 2013 #

  6. Pretty cool. Congrats Natalie!

    Comment by Bonnie — 5:08 pm February 11, 2013 #

  7. how can I contact her and pick up some “product” and avoid a $6 s/h charge.

    Comment by birdrescuer — 6:36 pm February 11, 2013 #

  8. Did our intrepid story author manage to score a pair of these? ;-)

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 6:42 pm February 11, 2013 #

  9. That’s awesome!

    Comment by toodles — 6:43 pm February 11, 2013 #

  10. Great idea and brilliant creativity. I see a bright future but you need a big cash input to expand quickly. Overseas manufacturers will be quickly copying (with no ramifications) your exact designs, produce them, and mass market them to take your growth opportunity away. I see Katy Perry getting her hands on one set and you’ll be left in the dust. Go for it!

    Comment by Carter — 7:13 pm February 11, 2013 #

  11. I would love to know where she got the inspiration for that! So fun!

    Comment by Amanda — 7:31 pm February 11, 2013 #

  12. I am glad the the post mentioned that there could be allergic reactions to the glue, etc. Eyes are precious. “The eyes are the window to the world.”

    Comment by Seattlite — 7:54 pm February 11, 2013 #

  13. So cool!!! I remember getting a business card when I made her coffee one day. :) So awesome to see she’s met success.

    Comment by kay — 7:56 pm February 11, 2013 #

  14. Very very strange.

    Comment by B — 8:34 pm February 11, 2013 #

  15. What a small world. As an ecommerce marketing strategist, I’m always on the lookout for new consumer trends. About two weeks ago I saw Natalie’s eyelash jewelry featured on MSN.com http://now.msn.com/natalie-russo-eyelash-jewelry-is-hot-new-etsy-trend

    I shared it with some of my students as an example of product innovation. Little did I know that this product innovation was happening right here in West Seattle!

    Way to go Natalie! Thanks WSB for sharing this story!

    Comment by LS — 9:31 pm February 11, 2013 #

  16. Wow, what a novel idea…I bet selling them in Tokyo would make her a multi-millionaire.

    Comment by Evergreen — 9:51 pm February 11, 2013 #

  17. I love those eye lashes! So cute and interesting — certainly they are art. I would love to wear them just to see reactions. They are fab!

    Comment by elaine — 10:57 pm February 11, 2013 #

  18. Those look great, I want a pair. Very unique.

    Comment by Carol O. — 11:13 pm February 11, 2013 #

  19. Is this free advertising available to all of us?? I have an Etsy too! ;)

    Comment by justme — 7:20 am February 12, 2013 #

  20. They are cool looking but…don’t they hurt?

    Comment by onceachef — 7:53 am February 12, 2013 #

  21. I would totally worry about getting one of those wires in my eye if something happened.

    And if I were selling them, I would worry about someone getting them in their eye and being litigious.

    Comment by Umm... — 10:53 am February 12, 2013 #

  22. As she expands, maybe she should go on that ‘reality’ show…shark tank! Have to believe those sharks would fight over being in business with her!

    Comment by funkietoo — 3:21 pm February 12, 2013 #

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