When Ann McFerran moved from Thailand to the United States as a child, she felt like she didn’t fit in. The 26-year-old Bangkok native says she was made fun of for being and looking different from everybody else. As she got older, she found a simple fix: false eyelashes. “Lashes were the one thing that made me feel less insecure about myself,” said the founder of GlamneticTM, a collection of magnetic eyeliners and lashes that launched in the summer of 2019.
The philosophy behind the brand mirrors McFerran’s personal experience with the beauty accessory: “When you apply lashes, you feel more beautiful from the inside out,” says the Los Angeles-based entrepreneur. But she found there was always one hurdle that prevented her from truly enjoying lashes — the cumbersome and challenging glue. “All other forms of makeup were really easy to apply, like eyeshadow and blush,” she recalls. After researching the lash space a bit more, McFerran went on a quest and ordered lash samples from hundreds of factories, determined to find an easier way to apply and wear falsies. She soon found the solution: magnets. A magnetic liquid liner paired with false lash strips that have magnets on the band delivered the voluptuous results McFerran had been craving.
That quest turned into a business opportunity, and now, Glamnetic is a thriving beauty brand. McFerran’s company brings in $1 million in sales a month, and boasts a team of nine employees, over 150,000 Instagram® followers, and a range of over 20 false lash styles, lash kits, and more. Might we remind you that this was all accomplished well before the entrepreneur’s 30th birthday?
With all this success, you might assume that she is an entrepreneur by trade, but her career didn’t start in the beauty space — and neither did her research skills, nor her creative mindset. In fact, McFerran credits her talent for analysis to her UCLA® education, where she majored in psychobiology, pursuing pre-med. And, after graduating in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree, she began a successful stint as a mural painter. “I've had such a weird, unpredictable path that does not make sense, but that's the beauty of life,” shares McFerran. Read on to learn more about how this founder changed her career trajectory, what motivates her most, and the products she uses on a daily basis (besides magnetic lashes, of course).
Spotlyte: What convinced you to step away from a potential career in medicine?
Ann McFerran: When I graduated, I was at a fork in the road. Everybody was going to med school. In my heart, I didn't want to work in a hospital. I was always an artist. When I was growing up, my mom was a muralist. Because she was an immigrant from Thailand, she didn't really have a real degree and couldn't secure a real job. In college, I dabbled in it a bit and got really good at it.
Spotlyte: Really good — tell us about your commissioned work.
AM: When I graduated, on my first commissioned painting, I secured $5,000. I was like, "I made it. I'm going to be an artist." I was super excited for it and felt brave enough to go full force into it. Within two years, I had shown my art internationally, sold pieces worldwide, and had grown a pretty big following on Instagram. I was painting for big YouTubers, like David Dobrik with the Vlog SquadTM. They were asking me to paint murals for them. Other YouTubers, too, were just asking me to be in their videos and paint murals for their houses.
Spotlyte: What made you decide to leave painting behind?
AM: I was very lonely when I was doing it. When you're an artist, it's a very, very solitary confinement-type job — you just stay in all day, painting. That's the only way you get work done. You can't outsource that at all. It wasn't scalable, and I felt like I was breaking my back every single day to make a painting. Even though I loved doing it, I wanted to work with a team.
Spotlyte: How did you transition from painting to cosmetics?
AM: I had always been obsessed with beauty, naturally, being an artist. I gravitated towards cosmetics. Research for my company started in 2018.
Spotlyte: What's the biggest piece of career advice that you've received, and who gave it to you?
AM: It was a quote from my ex-boyfriend, and I took it as advice: "When I lost my excuses, I found my results." That really hit home for me. I was happy with what I was doing, but I wasn't quite there. I was making excuses for why I shouldn't try something new, rather than, "I feel like this is it for me."
Spotlyte: What advice do you have for people who are looking to break into the beauty industry?
AM: Intern at a company that you want to get into, so that you can gain insight into what it is that it takes to actually work there and be a good employee there. If it's something that's the right fit for you, your lifestyle and your future career goals, you'll know.
Also, network. Find people who are doing what you would like to be doing and talk to them, ask them a bunch of questions. It's a great opportunity for you to figure out, "Are their lifestyle and the sacrifices that they have to make to do that particular career, does that align with what I want to do and what I'm willing to do?" There were a million steps to get to where I am, and there's going to continue to be a million steps to get to where I want to be, but it takes one step at a time. You've got to execute one thing at a time — people lose sight of that.
Spotlyte: Who's been your biggest cheerleader?
AM: My mom, because she was an immigrant. When we moved here, it was just the two of us. Even when I made major career changes and I moved into starting my own business, she thought I was crazy and that I needed to go back to school, but she supported me.
She was like, "You know what? As long as you're happy doing that." She thought I was delusional. Then when I was like, "Mom, we're making over $100,000 a month." Now we're making over $1 million a month. She's always just been supportive no matter how well or not well I was doing. Now, I'm so happy because I can actually support her.
Spotlyte: What does a day in your shoes entail?
AM: I get up at around 8:30 a.m. In the mornings, the first thing I do is yoga. I try not to look at my phone. I'll make breakfast and eat for half an hour. After that, I'll look at my phone, and then I'll get into emails. Our work hours start at 10 a.m. I have meetings throughout the day and weekly touch bases with everybody: either it's the social media team or customer service team. When I'm not in those meetings, I'll be working on that checklist of things I need to be doing.
Especially now, since we're in a high-growth phase, I'm trying to build infrastructure around everything for my teams, and train everybody to be super efficient at what they're doing, so that I'm taking more things off my plate. I'm spending most of my time making sure that everything flows smoothly between the teams as well. I will also check my email towards the end of the day. The team will finish their days at 7 p.m. After 7 or 8 p.m, I'll start speaking to the international factories. They consistently ship us product. I'll go to bed at around 1 a.m.
Spotlyte: What is your exercise regimen?
AM: I like to do yoga three times a week to stretch out my body and loosen things up. I like to do a 10-minute butt workout. Then, I do the Alexis Ren℠ 10-Minute Ab Workout as well. I do that three or four times a week. I feel I'm getting the maximum results out of that workout when I do it. I value efficiency in everything I do.
Spotlyte: What is your morning skincare routine?
AM: I like to keep my skincare pretty basic. In the past, over-complicating it has made my skin feel heavier. I'm on the drier side, so I always moisturize. In the morning, I wash my face with Vanicream® Gentle Facial Cleanser. Right after, I'll use Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream on my face.
Spotlyte: What is your evening skincare routine?
AM: I'll use a FOREO® with Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser, and then I'll go in with Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream after that on my face as well. If my skin is feeling a little bit more tired, I'll use the OLE HENRIKSEN® Truth Serum® on my face, because it makes everything feel brighter. I don't really go outside of that, and my skin has just been pimple-less for years. It's been working for me.
What’s in your makeup bag?
AM: I love product development. Every single day, I make it a point to always try a new product. I don't like to stick to one thing, because it limits me from exploring other formulas. I have a huge vanity kit, and I get gifted by makeup brands as well. I've tried a lot of other companies’ lashes in different styles, because it gives me more ideas of what styles I should launch next.
For foundation, I've been using Fenty Beauty by Rihanna® Pro Filt'rTM Hydrating Longwear Foundation. My favorite lipsticks are from KKW®. KKW Nude Creme Lipstick Number 4 is what I always use. I also use the Kylie® Jenner x Balmain® collab lip liner. The staple for a setting powder would be Laura Mercier® Shine Control Pressed Setting Powder. Those are the things that I use the most. All the other things, I switch around quite often.
Spotlyte: What treatments do you love?
AM: I do various at-home FaceTory® face masks for hydration and brightening. I have dry skin, so anything that hydrates my skin is great.
Spotlyte: Have you tried injectables?
AM: I tried injectable wrinkle reducers in my forehead one time.
Editor’s note Injectable wrinkle reducers are used to temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face such as the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet. They should not be used more frequently than every three months. Like any medical treatment, they have potential risks and side effects. Be sure to talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you.
Spotlyte: What do you like to do for fun when you aren’t working?
AM: I haven't really had a lot of not-working time since this business started, to be honest. I like to hang out with my friends. Ideally, in the future, I would like to dabble in painting again — and just watch a little bit more Netflix®.
Spotlyte: Do you have a mantra?
AM: "No excuses." I always tell my employees that, too, because everybody has excuses. I want you to level up. Always think about what you can do better.
More interviews with inspiring entrepreneurs:
- How This Dancer & Fitness Influencer Created a Cardio Empire In Under 3 Years
- Beautyblender Founder Rea Ann Silva on the Importance of Saying No
- How This Café Owner Went From a Boring 9-to-5 Job to Baking Oprah’s Favorite Cookies
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