Author Kate Hodges once opined that “behind every great woman is another woman.” The proof of that claim is embodied in the work of Elena Asher, the founder of Miami-based LashMakers. Asher’s goal is to help empower women to achieve what she has achieved: financial independence.

If eyelash extensions seem an unusual place to lead a discussion on women’s empowerment, one need only remember that the vast majority of front-line workers in the fashion industry are women. Elena Asher was one of them. At the age of 21 she emigrated to the United States by way of Siberia and Israel, arriving to America with little more than a few English phrases and the clothes on her back. After her first experience of eyelash extensions, she realized that she wanted to make other women feel as beautiful as she did, and began working out of her living room. Over twelve years later, she had become a giant in the field. LashMakers sells 118 products to 57 different nations around the globe. Asher is the embodiment of the American Dream.

It is because of that dream, and the financial freedom that has come from it, that Asher is trying to lead by example. LashMakers does not only sell beauty products to hundreds of thousands of customers, but it also trains women as eyelash artists. Her model, however, is game changing; rather than merely focusing on the artistic skills they need to enhance the natural beauty of women’s eyes, Asher’s students also spend half their lessons learning about how to succeed in business. Asher believes that “The goal is to show others it’s possible” to take their art and turn it into a “million dollar business.”

Asher knows how hard it is to succeed. But, she inspires the more than 400 women who train with LashMakers each year because they know that she has been in their shoes. If she can do it, they know that they can too. Asher believes in them, but also reminds them of the challenges they will face, not only as artists but as women entrepreneurs. However, her prescription for success is straightforward. She tells her students that they must “go into business with discipline and love. Discipline will keep you learning and growing, but love will make you work with purpose.”

One student at a time, and practically one eyelash at a time, Asher is trying to transform the lives of women, so that they can achieve not only outward beauty but the inner peace that comes from feeling secure financially in a world where that seems to be increasingly difficult.