Welcome to Chicago North Shore Moms’ Meet a Mom series, where we interview, celebrate and inspire moms just like you! Alrighty this description’s going to be a mouthful (or a run-on sentence), but bear with me… This week’s Meet a Mom feature is Northfield mama, almost empty-nester, ex VP (“madwoman”) NYC ad-exec, world champion ballroom dancer, turned superwoman multi-unit franchise owner of 4 (soon to be 10) Deka Lash Studios…. Bette Anne Duffy. Yas queen! Oh, and she’s offering a discount off your next lash extension service (see below).
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town?
I’m originally from the suburbs of NYC, specifically Rye, New York. I moved to downtown Chicago 22 years ago, and my family and I have been a resident of Northfield for the last six years where we built our dream house! I loved living downtown but ultimately craved a suburban lifestyle in which to raise a family.
How many kiddos do you have and how old are they?
I have one child. Kevin. He’s a senior at Loyola Academy, and is now 18. He is passionate about flying, and wants to be a professional pilot for his career. He just earned his personal pilot’s license. He could fly a plane before he could drive a car. (I’ve flown with him; he’s a better pilot than he is a driver ! 😉
What’s your favorite thing about being a mom? Please share your favorite “hack/tip” that makes your every day life a little easier…
Mom tip for a teenager: Allow them freedoms until/unless they give you a reason for revoking them. In my house, our son has been exceptionally mature, and has earned rights. But if he strays from our house rules, he loses those rights.
Great advice for future parents of teens! What is your least favorite mom job?
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Oh yes – first my hobby:
I earned a title as 2nd in the world in Ballroom dancing, in the American 9-dance category. That includes: Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz, Cha Cha, Rumba, Swing and Mambo. I danced competitively for 14 years, and retired 3 years ago.
I also earned the title as 1st in the US in the American Smooth category (Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz).
… And professionally:
While living in New York, I spent 13 successful years in the advertising agency field. I was actually the youngest Vice President of the multi-national agency, Ogilvy & Mather, which is now simply Ogilvy. That honor survives to this day. I was 21
Please share a few favorite local places to spend with the family?
- Taco Nano (Northfield)
- Salt Creek Tacos (Highland Park)
- Pinstripes (Glenview)
- Greek Feast (Northbrook)
- Spears (Wheeling)
Tell us about your business venture!
I own 4 highly successful Deka Lash eyelash extension studios on the North Shore: Glenview, Lake Forest, Evanston and Deer Park – and soon, downtown Chicago. We are the Experts in Eyelashes™. Every day I see women feeling transformed by something as small as an eyelash. Full eyelashes make women feel beautiful and empowered. No makeup necessary. You simply wake up with makeup.
It’s a business created by a woman, for women, and employing women. I couldn’t be happier in the role I play to change people’s lives.
PS: My studios in Glenview and Lake Forest are the largest revenue-producing Deka Lash studios in the country. There are currently 85 Deka Lash studios nationwide, and we’re growing at an impressive rate! In fact, Deka Lash was named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top Fastest Growing Franchises in 2019!
What was/is the inspiration and/or training involved behind your business?
I’m a professional marketing/advertising woman. I have advanced degrees in both fields, and a storied career in the advertising agency realm. I am not an esthetician or a cosmetologist, but from my experience in Ballroom, I knew I wanted to make the empowerment of eyelashes accessible and affordable to all women.
When you dance, you don’t dance with just your body; you dance most effectively with your expression. Expression comes most from the eyes. My story:
As a dancer who was addicted to eyelash extensions, I tried to find a local provider near me. It was hard to find anyone local those days – it was still a relatively new concept, let alone someone to provide quality at affordable cost. I found quality. And I happily paid an egregious sum for eyelash extensions.
I paid it. Consistently.
And then, I was in the midst of my standing refill appointment, early-November. I heard the phone at reception ring off the hook. I heard the receptionist say, “I’m sorry, we couldn’t possibly schedule you for an appointment until after the New Year. We’re fully booked.”
My marketing brain kicked in.
Really? You can’t fill the bill for 2.5 months? At your prices?
Is the demand that great?
There is an unmet need here, and if I can bring the price down to an affordable level, many more women, not just those that are wealthy, will have the empowerment that I feel every day with my lashes.
What are some of your proudest moments with your business where you said “wow, I did that”?
I see it every day. At the end of every service, my lash artists presents the mirror. And, in every situation, I hear “WOW!, OMG! I look beautiful!” There is no better reward than that. I’m so lucky; I experience it multiple times each day.
Please offer advice with respect to Deka Lash…
Always brush your lashes. Just like your hair, your lashes need attention, too. Whether or not you have extensions, lash health is akin to hair health.
How important is it for you to have a passion outside of being a mother?
Extremely My passion is my business.
When parenting gets hard, what’s something you tell yourself that gets you through?
This too, shall pass. It’s momentary.
What’s on the horizon for your business? Future aspirations, plans….
We will be opening 6 more Deka Lash studios downtown. Most likely in 2021.
And for the now: Visit a Dekalash studio at one of four convenient locations: Deer Park, Evanston, Glenview, Lake Forest
AS A SPECIAL OFFER FOR CNSM: I am happy to offer a special for your following. $20 off our revolutionary new service, TrueXpress™ , where our clients get more of the lashes they love, in half the time. Use code: CNSM when booking online at www.dekalash.com/chicago.
Valid for new clients of TrueXPress lashes only. No cash value. Non-transferable. Cannot be applied to membership dues or member benefits. Participating studios only.