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Brows, banter and babes: celebrating two years of The Lab

Beatrice Smith

I still remember my first visit to The Lab (formerly known as Browlab), two years ago.

I had just started interning at HerCanberra and there was a buzz in the office that a new brow space had popped up in the city. I rocked up with no appointment and met two bubbly brow artists, Tegan Daley and Sianne Fitzsimons, who not only started the process of turning my little 00’s tadpole brows into fluffy Cara Delevingne tributes, but made me realise the level of fun you could have at a beauty appointment.

Now, more than two years later, The Lab sees an average of 200 clients per week, their staff have surged to five full time employees and my brows have reached peak Brooke Shields.

“We actually had no idea how it was going to turn out,” admits Sianne. “It was all really organic and almost accidental.”

Sianne remembers that while she chased Tegan to draft her onto the team, the duo had no idea that the demand would be so immediate and their signature aesthetic so popular.

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“We just knew we wanted to create this really cool, unique concept in beauty and we knew no one else was doing anything like that,” she explains. “We weren’t sure if anyone would get behind us. At the start we just had one chair, a couple of wax pots and some tweezers.”

“Looking back we had no idea!”, laughs Tegan.

The pair started the business in their spare time in 2015 between working full-time jobs, but it didn’t stay a side project for long. As Sianne puts it, “it just blew up”.

“I think people were drawn to the fact that we were laid back and had that ‘friend’ vibe—it was just fun.”

With an ever-growing list of regular and new clients, the girls took the leap to quit their day jobs and move their little pop-up into a larger space in order to meet demand, which brought them to the bright, airy loft on Elouera Street in Braddon where they work today.

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With its on-brand pink interior, minimalist fit out and R’n’B soundtrack, on any given day you could find yourself meeting The Lab’s resident puppy Frida, sampling the latest addition to The Shop, their curated collection of beauty products, or watching in-house makeup artist Telisa Orzelek work her magic.

The pair started out offering “just brows” but their expansion into their Braddon loft wasn’t limited to bringing on new staff—they now offer a range of other services including a full suite of brow services, lash lifts, facial waxing, makeup and even braids.

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Downstairs in The Shop you’ll find a curated selection from cult brands like The Beauty Chef, Bite, BECCA, Pixi, Slip, Youngblood and Alpha H. If that wasn’t enough, the team have hosted Instagram darling The Young Mummy and Gritty Pretty’s Eleanor Pendleton in the loft, earning themselves a reputation for hosting events that are both fun and empowering.

The Lab team

The Lab team

This was how The Lab was born, with the business rebranding in November last year to better represent their full range of offerings.

“New name, same game!” explain Tegan and Sianne. “We really wanted to expand our branding to include our obsession with your entire face—brows, lashes, makeup and skin.”

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With the rebrand came a gorgeous new website created by Dream & Do which also houses an online version of The Shop, making them accessible to more people than ever.

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“We also launched our face for 2017—client, absolute sweetheart and international supermodel Zoe Barnard,” they explain. “We wanted the new website to reflect our new branding and personality—something fun, cheeky and user-friendly.”

Even though (technically) The Lab’s birthday was in January this year, the two-year anniversary of their move to Braddon falls on 1 August, and to celebrate, the team want to say a big thank you to all the clients who helped them make it happen.

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“We want to be able to ‘give it back’ to as many people as we can and say a big thank you to everyone so we’re doing a birthday week. From 1-5 August we’re going to deck out the space, we’ll have champagne and balloons and a goody bag for literally everyone who walks through our doors – and it does involve chocolate.”

The Lab's goody bags for their birthday celebrations, designed by Martina Martian.

The Lab’s goody bags for their birthday celebrations, designed by Martina Martian.

Even the goody bags themselves will be a reflection of The Lab, who teamed up with designer Martina Calvi to create their custom design.

“It’s amazing to think how far we’ve come. It’s been a weird, random ride,” laughs Sianne.

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Above all, however, the team are just grateful to their clients and each other for making the ride happen at all.

“We’re living our dream,” says Sianne. “Our space is beautiful, the fact that we get to work together is insane, we love the team we have and we’ve been able to create something from nothing.”

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“It’s been the biggest surprise,” adds Tegan. “The way Canberra supports small business is amazing.”

As for what’s next for The Lab—watch their space, literally.

“We’ve definitely outgrown [the Braddon loft], which is super exciting,” says Sianne. “Coming here was so serendipitous and everything fell into place so we’re looking for that next step that feels right.”

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The Lab’s second birthday celebrations will kick off on Tuesday 1 August in their Braddon loft. See their Instagram and website for more information.

Images: Tim Bean Photography.

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Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Editorial Coordinator involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise you’ll find her at the movies, ordering a cheese board or ordering a cheese board at the movies. More about the Author

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