Bats For Lashes

Introducing The Exciting and Vaguely Scary Art of Eyelash Jewelry

With eyelashes as her canvas, a Seattle deli worker grew an Etsy empire.

Natalie Russo

Outlandish false eyelashes have long been favored amongst the avant garde, but what about wearing a fluttering set of garden salads? Or a batty bubble bath? Enter 21-year-old Vermont native Natalie Russo, whose line of eyelash jewelry is setting the Etsy world on fire. Comprised of beads, wire, feathers, and tiny clay charms, each pair Russo’s handmade lashes expresses an irreverent theme—most of them suitable to a raver aesthetic (she even makes glow-in-the-dark ones). “I’ve always kind of been into out-there makeup and really liked false eyelashes,” Russo told The Daily Beast. “They were always expensive and would fall apart after a while; they weren’t a worthy investment, so I started making my own.”

Now employed full-time at a deli in Seattle—where she moved over a year ago for “a change of scenery”—Russo has sold more than 600 pairs of extravagant lashes in three years by hawking her merchandise on DIY crafting magnate Etsy and at various crafting conventions. Many of her styles, which retail between $7 and $60, are favored by “burlesque dancers, people who go to festivals like Burning Man … It’s pretty similar to just wearing any makeup.”

Russo’s work has taken off in the past week after receiving a lot of press, and she recently received a $400 order’s worth of lashes. “I’ve gotten orders for like 15 pairs … I had to take a couple days off from the deli, and I’m just going to spend it making eyelashes,” she says of her newfound popularity. Good news for her fans: Russo doesn’t see it as a fad. “I don’t see any reason to stop … there’s no real limit to what [my designs] can do.”