Built by a single mother in her mid-twenties, Larger Than Lice™ has a truly rich history. Eliana Ortega, founder and CEO, immigrated to the United States from Ecuador with her eight-year-old daughter in the summer of 2014. Bringing with them only their essential belongings, simplicity, and a basic level of English, Eliana dreamed for a better life for her and her daughter in New York City. She set two long- term goals upon arriving in the Big Apple: to one day be her own boss and to have a flexible schedule so that she could dedicate more time to her daughter. While juggling English classes, several entry-level jobs, and raising a daughter all by herself, lice were the last thing on her mind.
Desperately searching for opportunities to earn more money for her family, she serendipitously found work with a lice-removal service. This job not only allowed her to pay her bills, but, surprisingly, she enjoyed helping families deal with this very embarrassing and stressful crisis...Eliana’s bubbly and gentle personality was almost as infectious as the lice themselves! Eliana fell in love with meeting and treating so many diverse families across the city; however, she still found herself yearning for more independence and free time to spend with her daughter. Determined to grab life by the horns – or antennae! – She traveled to the Shepherd Institute in Florida to be trained and certified in order to launch her own business.
Although college-educated and with 10 years of experience in the insurance industry in Ecuador, becoming a small business owner was the toughest endeavor she had ever pursued. With accumulating debt and not a single client for the first couple of months, she “crawled” her way into the field by offering free lice checks in schools all around New York City in hopes of getting her foot in the door. With strong competition across the city, Eliana believed in providing customers with an alternative option for lice removal. She introduced a flat rate – based on hair length and severity of infestation rather than time – so that clients could relax without having to “watch the clock” like with other services. Her business started receiving recommendations from her highly satisfied clients (just read her glowing Yelp! Reviews) and has quickly grown since. The name Larger than Lice™ grew from Eliana’s can-do attitude, her resiliency, and her ability to give families the perspective that there are larger things to worry about in life than lice!
Since the launch of her business in 2015 (previously the Lice Treatment Group, LLC), Larger Than Lice™ has treated over a thousand families. It provides the highest quality of care by following a standardized lice removal system: "The Shepherd Method™ of Strand-by-Strand Nit Removal." With its unique approach clients are happily lice-free faster and safer than with any other method available. Larger Than Lice™ experts are well-trained and love their work because they see clients as family.
When Eliana is not working as the “Lice Lady,” as she is often called by children, she enjoys meeting other strong ambitious women. She is a member of WE NYC, a program that helps women entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.