Home ContentFlourishing Woman: Wendy Tomaino

Flourishing Woman: Wendy Tomaino

Published : September 01, 2015

Meet Wendy Tomaino

Director, smiink-smile & wink bar
  • Entrepreneur
  • Mother of 4 children ranging in age from 21-13
  • Based in Melbourne, Victoria

What’s your story?

I started my career later than most, going back to TAFE as a mature-age student to study Diploma of Health Science – Beauty Therapy. I always had ambitions to open a purpose-built beauty salon (as they were called then) because I really didn’t like the lack of privacy in salons that were commonly curtained.

We built an architecturally designed salon with a purpose-built wet area – the first of its kind in Victoria. After 11 successful years I sold the salon to have children and most recently for the past 7 years I have imported various brands into the Australian beauty market.

 

What inspired you to pursue your business/dream/direction?

After managing other brands, I wanted to create my own brand and researched until I found a niche of products that weren’t readily available in Australia. Originally believing this would be eyelash extensions, I researched, tried different applications and finally settled on false lashes and my company, smiink – smile & wink bar was born.

 

Was there a perfect time to do it or did a set of circumstances help you to make the decision?

There were tenuous circumstances working with overseas brands leading up to pursuing my own brand. I felt that I needed to expand what I was doing to safeguard my position in the distribution game. ‘Diversify or die’ was the motto I lived by for the12 months prior to developing the smiink brand.

 

What obstacles did you overcome?

Sourcing quality lashes from reputable manufacturers and for smiink to become known as the largest range of false eyelashes in Australia. Compared to the US and Europe, we have a relatively small beauty market in Australia which is flooded with so many different brands, so there were definitely concerns about how another beauty brand would be received, and whether it would be successful.

 

How did family/spouse/friends react? Did they support or obstruct you?

My husband and family were 100% behind the changes in our business model – and lashes are fun!!! My children are always ready to help out when needed and it’s actually great to have them involved with the business on different levels.

 

What is the biggest challenge that you face?

Keeping smiink foremost in the minds of professional makeup artists, fashion houses, hair designers, and anyone who is creative enough to require the extensive range of lashes we have available. Making smiink the “go to place” for any lash that is required is the challenge we have set for ourselves, and judging by the reception so far, I think we are well on our way to meeting this challenge head on!

 

What are the future plans for you and your business?

Continuing to grow the business in retail and also expanding our range of products to include more innovative, high-end cosmetics to compliment the range of lash artistry lashes.

 

What top 3 tips would you give our Flourish readers if they were looking to make a significant change in their life?

  1. Find out what truly makes you happy.
  2. Pursue it despite many setbacks.
  3. Keep family close and involved.



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