Steppingstone

12/30/2022 12:41 AM By Lisa Anderson
Rich with History
Eugina Lewis
Eugina Lewis
Story by Cynthia McFarland • Photos by Joshua Jacobs

Steppingstone

Lash Artist Sees a Bright Future

People laughed when she started her business, saying it wouldn’t succeed in Ocala. But Eugina Lewis was never one to listen to naysayers. Instead, she proved them wrong.

Growing up in Anthony, Eugina was raised by her father’s sisters: Aunt Ethel, Aunt Ida, and Aunt Candice. “Being raised by strong, independent women made me very independent,” says Eugina, who had her first job in seventh grade. She worked for her Aunt Candice, who published Mahogany Revue, a newspaper for the ethnic community in Ocala and Gainesville.

Eugina began typing articles and doing layout. By the time she graduated North Marion High School in 2005, the newspaper had gone digital.

“My aunt’s entrepreneurial spirit really sparked something in me,” recalls Eugina. “I think I was born to be my own boss. I wasn’t going to let being in a small town define me. I knew I was either going to move away or stay and break the mold and do something different.”

Stay, she did. But becoming her own boss didn’t happen overnight.

Eugina had been interested in beauty and fashion since high school. “I used to watch Sex in the City and was determined to be the black country version of Carrie Bradshaw,” she laughs.

Fair and Firm

Eugina was a single mother when she had her son in 2008. The year after Jordan was born, she began working as a correctional officer at Lowell Correctional Institute, a job she held for seven years. “There were women from all walks of life there, and it made me realize your next door neighbor could be living a Lifetime movie, and you’d never know it,” says Eugina.

Working at the prison from 2009 to 2016, she recalls that one of the highlights was being a bright light in a dark place. “The women told me, ‘You may be tough on us, but you treat us like people.’ Basically, I was fair, firm, and consistent. I was blessed to do those seven years, so I can do what I do today,” says Eugina, who described prison as “mandatory adult day care.” 
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Leap of Faith

It was while working at the prison that Eugina found the inspiration for the career she’s made her own. “Late one night in 2014, I was scrolling Instagram and saw something about a girl doing celebrity eyelashes,” she recalls. “I put this in the back of my mind to do as a side business with my online clothing boutique I’d started a year earlier.”

After obtaining her esthetician’s license in Ocala, Eugina flew to Colorado to get her lash education at Lash Blvd.

She started Luxuriant, her lash business, in 2015. The first of its kind in Ocala, it quickly grew from working in rented space. “In 2021, I took the biggest leap of my career and got a 2200-square foot building on 17th Street. We’re now a lash studio and lash academy,” says Eugina, who began teaching “lashing” in 2019. With 700 five-star reviews, Luxuriant by Eugina is the #1 Stylesheet-rated lash business in Ocala.

“We do semi-permanent eyelash extensions. We take a synthetic lash and apply it to each natural lash a person has, which allows the lashes to continue to shed and grow naturally. The lashes aren’t glued to the skin. It’s very tedious, meticulous work,” explains Eugina. “To me, it’s art. We’re enhancing what the client has naturally.

“We service a very diverse clientele with women from every walk of life. Most are established professional women who don’t want to worry about eye liner or mascara,” says Eugina, whose youngest client is 16 and oldest is 93.

In addition to being a lash artist herself, Eugina has another artist working under her. The lash academy offers several training options, from basic online training to three-day intense training at her location and a four-hour refresher course. She has a lash product line, as well, which she launched at the beginning of 2022.

An Inspiration

In Eugina’s line of work, “lashing” is both a noun and a verb. “Being a lash artist changed my life dramatically. It’s also challenged me. I’ve become more humble and a better version of myself, because I’m totally pouring into other people,” she notes, adding that she’s now more mentally, physically, and spiritually aware of who she is.

“I love lashing, but the biggest thing is just being an inspiration to women. My clients are also an inspiration to me. No client sits in your chair by coincidence.”

Now earning six figures, Eugina has the freedom and flexibility she only dreamed of while working at the prison. She has more time to spend with her son, and she continues to have the unconditional support of her beloved aunts.

“Aunt Ethel passed three years ago, but Aunt Ida and Aunt Candice are both so proud of me,” she says.

Eugina proved that with enough vision, hard work and commitment, anything is possible. “Even though I’ve accomplished so much, I feel like there’s so much more in store for me in the future. I think lashes were just the steppingstone!”

“Follow us on Instagram @LuxuriantByEugina to follow our podcast, ‘The Legacy Table,’ launching in January 2023,” she adds.
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