PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Starting up a business in the pandemic was rough for many, but one Portland woman kept growing hers and put a stimulus check to good use.

Eyes are one of the first things people notice and eyelash extensions can make a huge difference.

Amantha Hood started her lash business out of her living room in 2019 after graduating from Linfield University with a marketing degree and then getting an esthetician license. She used a stimulus check during the pandemic to grow her business and that led to her opening up Lash Lab PDX, a 1500-square foot salon in North Portland.

“A lot of people were on camera doing Zoom calls or what not they wanted to look good as far as those virtual meetings,” said Hood.

But what’s really helped Hood’s business take off is the wholesale component — and training sessions.

In the past year, she’s trained 70 future lash artists and used her marketing degree to help them with the business side. She said she is the first black-owned lash salon in Portland.

Amantha Hood expanded her business by training future lash artists (KOIN).

“When you are black there are other elements that I’ve experienced, too,” said Hood. “From being able to find a space, to getting loans, to start up your business to be able to get to that point to expand. There are a lot of elements that go into it that make it a little harder as a black business owner and entrepreneur, but we get through it.”

Those interested in lash extensions or a career in the lash industry can visit Lash Lab PDX here.