I have worked for a couple of different beauty companies at a few different stores over the last few years, and whether you work at one and can relate or are considering working for a beauty company, this is what my experiences has taught me.

What working at a beauty counter taught me

  1. Customers make or break your day

Customers are pretty much split into two groups - the ones that are lovely and will put a smile on your face, and the ones that are miserable. The job is most rewarding when you have lovely customers, ones that have a genuine conversation with you, realise that you are actually a person and not a sales robot and ones that are genuinely grateful for the service you’ve given them - whether that’s advice about products or a makeover. The flip side of that however is having to deal with customers that are rude, and ungrateful. Most days are filled with lovely customers but it’s something to keep in mind.

2. Confidence

I used to be quite shy, and I still am more of an introvert than an extrovert, but working at a beauty counter has given me confidence. I need to be able to chat with customers when they sit down for a  makeover, I need to be able to ask them open questions to ensure I recommend the best products for them and I need the confidence to approach them or ‘traffic stop’ if needed. Although slightly terrifying at first this has increased my confidence greatly, not just in my work environment but in my life overall. I have had to go to industry events where I need to socialise and network with people I’ve never met before, and thanks to the training and experience I’ve received working at a beauty counter I can now do this. It really is invaluable.

3. Why the products cost what they do

Have you wondered why some moisturisers cost £60+? Why you can buy a drugstore mascara for a few quid but a makeup counter costs £20-30? It’s for the service, and the training.  The main reason is they have to pay staff to be there and give advice, so you pay the extra money as you should be walking away with the correct product for you (if we've done our job right). Other brands in the beauty hall such as Loreal, Maxfactor, Maybelline etc are known to us as 'self selection' brands, the products are at a cheaper price point as you don't get the advice on the products, you have to select it yourself and hope you made the right choice.

4. ‘But is it not really bitchy?’

Ah, the first thing people ask when I tell them I work at a beauty counter - and I can honestly say my experience of  the beauty counters I’ve worked for has been really positive. Yes, in a work environment that is mainly women there is the occasional bit of bitching but I’ve always worked with girls that have been supportive of each other - regardless of what counter we work on. If a customer is looking for a product from a different brand I will recommend the beauty advisors to them and in return they do the same for me. If it’s a slow sales day we rally round and support each other and we have a really good laugh together.

5. It becomes difficult to pay full price for something

When you’ve worked for one company, and you get used to the allocation (discount you get off products or a certain amount of money you get allocated to spend on products) it’s hard to pay full price. I’ve left companies before and not repurchased products because after getting it at such a discounted price it’s a hard pill to swallow when you suddenly have to pay full price. But as I said above, when you’re friendly and support the other beauty advisors around you they’ll tell you when discounts are coming on or gift with purchase, so you get the best deal.

6. Targets are hard, but also really rewarding

Working in sales is a great experience. I spend every day working towards targets which really sets you up for life. When I graduate and I apply for jobs I will most likely have a career where they will expect to meet targets - every company does. So the fact I have spent a few years working towards and reaching targets is great practice. It’s not easy - you have to work hard to attain your target, but if you’re on commission it gives you that extra incentive to work hard.

All in all I've really enjoyed my experience working at beauty counters, it's a tough job at times but it can also be a lot of fun. I hope this was helpful if you are considering a job at a beauty counter, or gave you points to agree with if you have worked for one! Feel free to comment if you have any questions, or would like to share your own experience. You can also read more posts like this on my blog https://clarenablog.wordpress.com