Latrice Pinkins, owner of WINK YOUR EYES, has run this premier salon in Louisiana that specializes exclusively in eyelashes since 2009. Before Latrice established this beauty brand she was a journalist.
She attended Southern University and A&M College and worked her way up to being the Managing Editor of The Southern DIGEST, the campus newspaper. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Print Journalism she went on to receive her Master of Arts in Journalism/Public Relations. Latrice was ready for whatever Journalism had to offer.
She had internships and employment with various news outlets including: The Advocate (Baton Rouge), NY Times, and Cumulus Media.
Then one day she decided to do something different.
That decision not only changed the course of her life, but her sister’s life as well.
She was working as a small business coordinator recruiting minority businesses to become certified as DBE (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise) & WBE (Women Business Enterprise) to gain more government contracts. “I learned more about owning a businesses and how there were many opportunities that were available for minorities. But at that time I had no idea what type of business I would start,” says Pinkins.
As a woman who enjoyed beauty and always took pride in looking her best, the beauty industry was intriguing to her. “A friend suggested that I get lashes at a local nail salon,” says Pinkins. “I went in and it was not the environment I wanted to get lashes done at. I began to do my research and realized there were a lot of lash salons in the US, but none in Louisiana. That sparked my interest and I began to take classes and make plans to open the first lash salon in the state of Louisiana.”
She registered WINK YOUR EYES as a business in 2009 and opened its first location in 2011 in The Mall of Louisiana.
“I did home parties and pop up shops before opening a store,” says Pinkins.
Currently WINK has two locations, one in Baton Rouge and another in New Orleans. Latrice attributes much of her long standing success to her great working relationship with her sister, Drenica Pinkins, who serves as the company’s business manager.
“All of our success can be attributed to my sister who is definitely the backbone to WINK Your Eyes,” says Pinkins.” My sister is an accountant in addition to having her own branding company, Stamped Printing. She handles all of the financials, inventory, hiring and ultimate the ability to run the whole store in my absence. I don’t know if I could have kept it up for these 10 years without her.”
In a society where mixing business and family is often taboo, the Pinkins’ sisters are defying the odds.
Latrice admits that being a long standing business owner isn’t as easy and glamourize as people may want it to be, but she’s learned a lot through her journey.
“I have learned to have a plan, but even when you do, just go with the flow,” says Pinkins. “Nothing is ever perfect; it just has to get done. I stopped beating myself up so much about how hard it is because if it was easy everyone would do it. Most problems you have within your business are a reflection of your leadership or lack thereof. I take even the complaints with a smile even though we never want them, but it allows you to learn and become better.”
The coronavirus pandemic closed a lot of small and large businesses. Though WINK did adhere to the mandatory closing in Louisiana, they were able to return with a new Baton Rouge location and renewed confidence.
“I plan to hold strong and finish positively on the opposite side of this pandemic,” says Pinkins. “We are always working on being a leader in all the esthetic beauty trends. Our staff attends conferences and continuing education classes.”
Connect with WINK YOUR EYES:
WINK Your Eyes
10979 Coursey Blvd Ste H
Baton Rouge, La 70816
New Orleans – Mid City
2926 Canal Street
New Orleans, La 70119