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Park City — It’s a rare woman who finds cars or automotive stores exciting, but for the last few years Robert and Dottie Small of Park City have been working to change that. In June 2010, the couple started selling CarLashes as a way to get women a little more excited about driving. The lashes, which come in a variety of colors from black to pink and finishes from chrome to metallic, are attached to a car’s headlights to give it—and its female owner—a little extra personality on the road.
The Smalls co-own Turbo Style Products, LLC, the company that produces CarLashes, as well as crystal car “eyeliner” for cars, license plate frames and key chains.
“What we’ve discovered is people who purchase the lashes tell us they love being able to personalize their car,” Robert said. “We see it as an opportunity to provide a car product to women. Whenever you go to a car show, it’s entirely male-oriented. Nobody does anything for women. The auto business is a $100 billion business, but it’s all male-oriented. We discovered that women really are our customer, so we are basically building a company around female automotive after-market products.”
Robert said it’s a little challenging to market the CarLashes specifically to women in automotive stores, but the company has found monumental success in other places, such as beauty salons and SkyMall magazine. Robert also hopes to get the CarLashes into some big-box retailers in the future.
The Smalls didn’t just come up with CarLashes while “walking down the street one day,” Dottie said. “Robert has been a renaissance man, artist, designer and engineer—his mind never stops. He is always asking me, since we met 30 years ago, ‘What do you think of this idea or this product?’ It just unfolded after a while.”
It turned out that Robert’s idea was a good one—good enough that the Smalls have sold $3.5 million worth of product in about 95 countries.
“We haven’t had a lot of time to go out and promote our product, but people who see it and love it come to us,” Dottie said. “We’ve had distributors start distributing it in their countries, like Greece, the Netherlands and South Africa.”
The couple spent years researching and developing the lashes before they began to sell them in order to make sure they could produce lashes that could fit nearly every type of vehicle in the world, including motorcycles and golf carts.
Besides the lashes, Robert said the company has several other products “in the works.”
“We have quite a few products in development now, but we can’t say what they are right now because we want to make sure we’re not revealing anything too early,” he said.
Dottie said CarLashes are mostly sold in heavily populated areas like New York, Florida, Texas and California—but they’ve been spotted frequently along Utah’s highways too.
“You’ll see them in places where we find people with personalities who really like to have fun,” she said.