We get personal with Elleebana’s CEO & Managing Director – Otto Mitter
Renowned for his dedication and innovation to the world of lashes and brows, Otto Mitter’s legacy, Elleebana, is THE most trusted name in the professional beauty industry. Australian born and globally loved, Elleebana distributes to over 60 countries worldwide.
Born into the beauty industry with his renowned family history, Otto Mitter naturally went to create his own empire. His passion and drive to push the lash and brow treatment evolution continues to influence the industry. Working with beauty professionals and educators to develop training programs and strengthen the education sector across the beauty landscape.
We are honoured to have teamed up with Otto Mitter for our latest beauty Elleebana Q&A.
With such a phenomenal history in beauty and your own life journey, what has been the leading driver in your own self-motivation, growth and development?
I have a few driving factors that contribute to my self-motivation. I guess firstly, I consider myself a student of life. I have an inquisitive mind, one that has a thirst for answers and so, I dive deep into topics to gain my knowledge and expertise. I spend hundreds of hours trialling and testing my theories and my products and the results I achieve often push me even further.
I also love to be involved in as much as I can in the lash and brow industry. I am certain that I am not alone in the feeling you get when you are around like-minded people you gain your inspiration.
I have had questions come my way at conferences and events that have pushed me to develop and grow our brand to help salons be even more successful when using our products. We expand our product line and training, based on some of these experiences I have firsthand AND what salons are sharing with me from their experiences, so I am truly motivated by the market and pushed to do more for them.
I also have always wanted to make my mark and leave a legacy, be it for my two sons or for the beauty industry’s improvement. I have always enjoyed making a difference in people’s lives and what we do at Elleebana is really about helping salons love the results that they get using our product and making a difference to the success of their businesses.
The innovative formulas and product lines you create are truly redefining the professional beauty world. What inspires you to continue the exploration to uncover the next innovation?
As a result of my Cosmetic Chemistry degree, I keep my finger on the pulse of raw material suppliers and the new improvements or adaptations that they are making. When I was able to, I travelled to global ingredient tradeshows where you can see all the new trends happening. New methods of manufacturing and results driven ingredients really get my creative juices flowing.
The world of lash and brow services is adapting from the standard run of the mill services to be so much more, its truly exciting to see. With this evolution of services comes the need for salons to offer more to their clients by way of ingredient improvements, or treatment adaptations. Whether it’s fast services that give wow results in a short period of time or hydration boosting and repair needed for damaged or chemically treated hair, the salon treatments services are levelling up. Brands need to also level up to help support the salon’s needs.
I feel we are truly leaning into a new generation of lash and brow treatments which came about prior to the need to wear masks on the daily but has honestly been dialled up as a result of the Covid pandemic and the facial focal point being the eye area.
The gap in the market for improved services, improved formulas or innovative treatment methods often present themselves to me either while I am trialling a new service or product on my clients or in discussions with my team. The pile of unsuccessful ideas far outweighs those of successful ones, but this is where the real innovation lies. My team and I have so many experiences to draw from, so much knowledge on the ins and outs of ingredients that when we are ready to push forward with something new it’s because we all are able to trust the results and the process.
Many business owners tend to take a step back when they can get to the international level you are now at. Yet you continue to be front and centre when it comes to education, training, and the beauty stage. How do you find balance when it comes to keeping the pace and maintaining your amazing creative flair?
Great question. Balance is not something that comes easily to me. I have grown my business beyond my wildest dreams, but it hasn’t come without sacrifices. My health, my sleep, my time with my family all have suffered. I have had immense challenges, but I have also experienced vast rewards. I gain such a sense of satisfaction from giving 110% to a project and when I set it free, I witness firsthand how our products or training programs have changed lives and businesses.
At one of our international trainer symposiums held in the USA I had a trainer come to Zoe (my wife) and I to tell us her story. She was a single mother whose business was on the brink of bankruptcy; she was needing to close her store by the end of the month if she didn’t catch a break. She decided to take an Elleebana lash lift class in a last attempt to reignite her business and the interest in her offering this service started to gain her some serious traction with clients again. So much so that she decided to become a trainer for the brand and was able to turn her entire financial position around. To me, stories like this are worth my efforts. They keep me pushing and striving and I still have more in me to give.
I have had the comment so often that you “Don’t see other brand owners offering technical support to salons or technicians in forums”. It has gained me some serious respect from salon owners over the years that I am happy to share my expertise and my time with them and while I am grateful for the respect, I am more grateful that they are investing in their businesses, their treatments and their clients and I am happy to help. I also have a global network of trainers who are available to offer the same services to clients in forums or at events and I like to lead by example to them.
I am certain I couldn’t do what I do without the support I receive from my team – both at home and at work. They help me find the balance that I need, they are all equally driven by the same motivations I am. We keep our humour and our heads in what is a fast-paced industry and I always give them thanks for coming on this wild journey with me.
Education is an important focus for Elleebana, and your comprehensive curriculum is renowned for its effective results. When it comes to approaching the curriculum for someone looking to master lash & brow treatment collectively, what is your suggestion on what to start with?
Education is a tremendous part of what we do. Elleebana isn’t just a brand, it really is a platform for growth, both in business and in knowledge. I would encourage any student that is seeking to learn any of the treatments we offer to do their research into the program being offered. Will the course be comprehensive enough to find your feet with this service and is the support from the educator offered post your learning hours?
The brand Elleebana is not new to the industry and the courses we offer are supportive courses to the products that we sell. We teach the true and correct methods to use our products for optimal results, but we also unveil so much more about the products, their formulations and how they work so that as a student – when faced with troubleshooting a result know the product and how or why it might behave in an undesired manner.
We price our courses not to make a profit from our courses but instead because we know the education is so thorough, advanced and results driven that we trust the student will be a return client of the brands.
Our curriculums often require case study and assessment phases after the class times, and I feel this is also a key component when researching available courses. How much time a brand commits to their students is a true showing of the brands support of its clients as assessments and case study reviews can be part of where a student learns so much more about themselves and their progress and improvements.
The Elleebana Educators are all award winning, qualified, progressive, caring and nurturing educators. You can read any of our reviews and see how students have thoroughly enjoyed their training experience, how much they learned and how supported they feel from their educator and from the brand. I strongly suggest seeking a brand that offers testimonials of students experiences as well as reaching out to the trainer in your area. An educator that builds rapport with their student is one that is truly going to care about your success.
Let’s talk treatments. What is your personal all-time favourite lash treatment and brow treatment?
In both lash and brow treatments there isn’t much I haven’t had a good go at. With lashes I have performed lash extensions (classic, hybrid and volume), Semi permanent mascara, Lash lifts, lash perms, lash lamination, lash relaxations, I have had lashes under the SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) machine to study them, lash tinting, lash bleaching, maybe the only thing I haven’t done is a lash transplant. On the internal phone system at the office the team have named my phone line “The Lash Lord”, so lash services are honestly what I live and breathe. Lash Lifting is what I am most well known for. I am selected so often to judge lash competitions and more often than not that’s in the lash lifting categories and I still stand back and admire in awe the amazing results that can be achieved from an excellent lash lift. The enhancement of what your client naturally has already to offer just speaks to me. I feel there is something so special in telling a client that you have only emphasised what they came with, you immediately see and feel that you have filled their cup at that moment. A lash lift service combined with a tint and finished with Elleeplex Aftercare Serum or Elleevate Lash lift mascara is such a show stopping service that’s fast to perform and gives long lasting result while providing lash care from all the vital nutrients that lashes need for prolonged health it’s no wonder this service is so popular with clients, salons and myself living for the results.
For brow services I have also dabbled with most brow services on offer, brow waxing, tinting, brow bleaching, henna, brow extensions, semi-permanent make up, permanent make up and of course now brow lamination. For me a brow shape and colour are such a staple high demand salon service that always delivers with results, but when you add in Elleeplex ReGEN to the tint portion of the service your clients reap the rewards of this gorgeous cream hair protection system. The soy amino acids, peptides and plant extracts offer continued conditioned healthy hair with optimised conditions for hair growth makes the service a luxury treatment packed with benefits.
Any Otto Mitter insider pointers you can share with our audience? We are sure they are hanging on for a bit of Otto inspiration when it comes to the ultimate lash and brow treatment!
Perhaps one of the main questions that frequent my DM’s of a technical nature often relates to lash wraps or the use of lash lift adhesives. I often see technicians who question why they have clients whose lashes are not the direction they were when they were first glued to the rods. The key to their answer here is the use of the word “FIRST”. A lash wrap can be perfect at the beginning of the treatment but the lotions being applied to those lashes throughout each of the steps in the service can influence the placement of the lashes during the treatment. Meaning while firstly your lash placement initially was perfect, how is your lash placement during the service because this is where it really counts.
I recommend to technicians spend your time mastering your lash wrap for certain but don’t disadvantage your results by failing to re-adhere any lashes that come away during the service and ensure they are in the right place for each of the processing steps. The water content found in the lifting and setting lotion formulations will have an effect on the adhesive. The lash lift adhesives need to be water soluble so that they can be broken down at the end of the service for the removal step. Since the lifting and setting lotions are oil in water emulsions the percentage of water found in these lotions can be enough to soften the hold the adhesive has on the lashes and if you are setting lashes into place while they aren’t adhered strongly to the rods or shields in the direction that you want them to be, that will be where they will stay.
This also means if the hold of the lashes to the rod is slightly dropping away or peeling away after you remove the lifting lotions, you may get a kink or a dip in the lift result and it may not be as dramatic as you would have hoped.
Stretching out the lashes and re-adhering them to the rod before applying the setting lotions is as important as the initial lash wrap process if not more important so pay attention here, it will change your lift results dramatically.
The beauty world is developing much faster than in the past. New fads, fashion, influencers, technology among other influences are changing the beauty landscape daily. Where do you see the industry going in the foreseeable future?
I think that conferences are about to change. Conferences that I have attended around the globe have always been inspirational and motivational to those physically attending. Covid saw the closure of these events and the cancellations meant event coordinators had to pivot to online conferences. Unfortunately, the experience of an online event doesn’t capture the audience in the same way, but I feel the internet is recognising that our audience needs connectivity and has witnessed the audiences desire to be more a part of experiencing something live. We thrive when we feel unity and so from all that the online world is indicating the online landscape is about to change. I feel with virtual conferences giving a more “in the room” feel and the technology allowing audiences to feel as though they are actually there will absolutely see the student, learner and trainer experience change as well as give events a real boost. Something many attendees will most likely want to experience for themselves.
With so many lash & brow training courses out and about, can you sum up how valuable the Elleebana workshops are for those who are weighing up their options?
The comprehensive training packages that we offer at Elleebana have evolved over nearly three decades in the industry doing what we do best. That long doing what we do means we aren’t an overnight company, we aren’t a business that won’t be there for salons when they need the support, we have been and will continue to be here to share our expertise to students and salons with their client’s best interest in the forefront of our minds.
We consider the entire picture when we craft our courses, we know that our students want more than just how to do the service, they want to know the idiosyncrasies of each product being used, they want to know the slight nuances that can change a result from being good to being outstanding and they want to know how to market these services to reach a wider client base to help them build their businesses. Students want to do that with the assistance of their educator guiding them all the way.
We piece together educational content that has the learners experience consistently reviewed and examined for knowledge retention so that even after they have finished in the classroom, their experience and knowledge that stays with them all the way through their first solo applications.
We offer that in our courses to thousands of salons every year around the globe with rave reviews and results to back our education. If you are weighing up your options, we also have a team of trainers available to speak with together with an education coordinator on hand to assist with any specifics about a course that you may wish to know. Sometimes it’s just as important to interview the company and brand to see if we are a good fit because when you click with your education team, you are guaranteed a great learning experience and we aim to meet the students’ requirements.
If you are keen to explore the world of Elleebana, join Barneys as we host the upcoming Elleebana Lash Lifting Course Monday February 21. Elleebana are a resident brand in the Barneys workshop calendar, so explore an Elleebana training course that suits you. CLICK HERE TO EXPLORE ELLEEBANA WORKSHOPS.