Saturday, 16 November 2013

Working At A Makeup Counter Part 1

I have worked on a makeup counter for about 8 years now and wanted to share my experience with you guys.

Many people think that working on a counter is super glamorous and there are pros and cons....i guess that's with every job right?

I have worked in some of the most prestigious stores along with some fantastic brands, and gained a lot of experience through it.

Lets start off with the cons:
  • Standing on your feet all day in heels - I honestly didn't mind working in retail but the one thing that got to me was how all of a sudden everyone in the beauty department had to wear some form of heels. I hated it, being on your feet for nearly 9 hours of the day is hard enough but when you're having to wear heels, it's tough!
  • Working with targets - Every makeup counter always as a target to reach and the counters target will be divided by the number of employees working that day. If you don't hit your target, you are normally pulled up on it.
  • Link selling - We all know link selling is the best way to get customers to purchase another product but on some of the counters i worked on, you had to sell a minimum of three products to a customer, at the value of £60 or more. Now, one thing i don't like, is selling a product that a customer really doesn't need. I genuinely felt bad, but, when your counter manager is always looking at your targets, you have no choice but to start link selling to up your target.
  • Wearing too much makeup - I have always been told by my friends that they think some women on makeup counters wear way too much makeup. The one thing you don't realise is the counter has asked you to put on more makeup. Imagine coming into work with your nice natural makeup and be told to put on bright pink lipstick and have smokey eyes. To me if that's your thing, then fine but being told what to put on your face was just sheer annoyance. I would always see the other makeup artists with full faces of makeup but counter managers could wear as much or as little as they wanted.
  • You have to wear the makeup by the brand - I have worked with some brands that don't exactly offer my foundation shades and had to resort to using other brands. Managers will pull you up on what makeup you're wearing and if they don't think it matches the brand, they will get an mua who will do the 'right' type of makeup.

And now here are the pros (trust me there are some!):
  • You get a ton of experience - Working on a counter gave me the confidence to work on any skin tone, face shape, eye shape, whatever. I got to practise on customers and did natural makeup to a super heavy makeup.
  • Freelance bookings increased - I was fortunate enough to work in very busy London stores and the more people see you doing makeup on a customer, the more interested potential clients there are. I had been asked several times about private bookings.
  • Training - With most brands you will receive basic training, as well as seasonal classes. I know a lot of brands nowadays are looking for people who are already makeup artists and then they just receive product training. Sometimes training can happen four times a year, depending on product launches and also if there's any trends for the next season and so on.
  • Free products - Whenever you go to training, normally you would get a goody bag filled with products and sometimes it is products that haven't been released yet. However, as time has gone on brands have gotten stingier. I used to get about 10 products from a training session, and then it had slowly decreased. A couple of years ago i received 2 products and a mug! How on earth is a mug going to help?! Brands now want you to spend your own money, so that you can wear the shades from the latest launches! It kinda baffles me, considering how much companies are making!
  • Great commission and bonuses - As i mentioned before, all counters have targets to hit and normally when a counter has hit its target then all employees will be given a bonus. Also, all the brands i have worked for always offered commission, so basically the more you sell, the more you make.
  • Incentives - Some counters offer incentives and it could be for hitting your target but counters nowadays have an appointments target too. What's an appointments target you ask? It's basically getting customers to book in for makeup appointment, so the more bums you can sit, the more likely you will get a good few sales at the end of the makeover. Going back to the incentives bit, sometimes the brand will give you free products or gift vouchers if you have continuously hit your target on every shift or if you have made over xxx appointments.
  • Product discounts - This is probably one of the best bits about working for a makeup brand. You can get some amazing discounts on products, however a lot of brands nowadays cap how much you can order and also the number of items as well. It's a great way of starting up your kit, as you're not paying the full price for things. The only thing is that you start to hear from long lost friends asking you to order them something!

I hope you all found this post useful and i do have a part 2 coming up soon! I just wanted to give you my thoughts on what i have experienced from working at makeup counters. This will also give you guys a heads up on what to expect from working on a makeup counter if any of you are looking to go down that route.

What are your thoughts about working on a makeup counter?

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  1. very well written and honest! thanks for sharing your experience with us:)

  2. It's strange how managers require you put more make-up on yet they don't seem to realise that it's quite off-putting to see someone caked in make-up. I am less likely to buy from a lady who is covered in make-up because I think it looks terrible.

  3. Argh, I used to always cringe whenever I saw an employee wear the whole store on their faces. Never thought it was part of the job description and I'm glad that you've listed it here! There are some girls who do a beautiful job though and they look amazing :-)

  4. Well written, I'm looking forward to part 2!

  5. wow wonderfully written love hearing what you experienced. lovely blog btw please do visit my blog sometime ^_^ x