After graduating from college in Eastern China, Xian Li took an office job in Shanghai with an international shipping company.
“I didn’t like it,” she recalled.
It wasn’t until many years later, after living in her small hometown and eventually traveling to New York City, that she discovered a job she enjoyed: eyelash extensions.
Just six years later, on Saturday, Li opened her own eyelash extension salon in Manhasset.
Bedecked with pink curtains and arranged with six beds against a long back wall, the salon offers eyelash extension and waxing services that range from $80 to $120 per visit, depending on whether they involve real mink or synethic mink lashes.
The salon’s hours will run 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m, though the last time for an appointment is 6:30 p.m. because each appointment lasts one hour. It will be closed on Sundays.
Her space on the second floor at 278 Plandome Road was vacated by a doctor’s office. It stands next door to Bliss Spa and directly above Jiffy Cleaners, which has been in the building for 22 years, Li said.
Before doing eyelashes, Li worked in pedicure and manicure at a few salons in Manhattan.
She said she quickly discovered that she preferred eyelash extensions and began taking eight or nine appointments each day for a total of 10 hours.
“I worked at four different places,” she said. “Different shops have different styles, use different glue and eyelash extensions, and put in the extensions differently.”
“For this place,” she added. “I chose the best of all of them.”
Li’s parents moved from Korea to China before she was born, so she speaks Korean and Chinese as well as English.
She said she discovered the property that would become the salon’s location through a website that lists Korean brokers and property owners.
Her husband used to work in a nail salon but now drives for Uber, which allows him to work flexible hours and spend time with the couple’s 3-year-old son at their home in Flushing, she said.
Li has returned to China twice since coming to the United States, most recently last February, when she took her son to meet his grandparents. They flew by way of Korea on a series of flights that lasted 15 hours. “My son ran around on the planes talking to everybody,’’ she said. “He has a lot of energy and I don’t know where he gets it from.”