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Anyone work on a beauty counter?

(30 Posts)
MooMinCow Thu 10-Jan-13 18:43:18

What's it like, do you love your job? I'm thinking of a bit of a job change (currently work in retail, but being made redundant sad have a beauty diploma too), love make up etc. is it very hard sell (commission, targets etc)?

I have applied (twice) to the Estée Lauder companies (who seem to have the monopoly on counters in my area) but with no success. I can't seem to find any career websites for Lancôme, Chanel, Dior, YSL etc - do I need to apply to the Boots/Dept store directly for them?

Any help advice or experience would be most appreciated!

emsyj Thu 10-Jan-13 19:18:01

I would looooooooooooooooooooooooove to, but got rejected from Clinique in March and then got another job (not beauty counter sad) so haven't reapplied.

There is a careers section with online application system on the Clarins website - they are apparently a brill company to work for, I have a friend who worked for them for years and loved it. She has a bit of inside knowledge from having done beauty counter stuff and said it is almost impossible to get into Chanel as nobody ever quits and it's a bit of a closed shop.

You can apply to Benefit online too, but they are VERY sales pushy and sound like a horrible company to work for in that respect - you are expected to approach people to push stuff, rather than wait for them to come to you.

I think Bare Minerals have job vacancies on their website too, worth a look.

You may find more info searching on as there are folk on there who have worked on beauty counters - I found info about recruitment, product allowances etc from posters on there.

Also there is a company who do temping work on beauty counters but I can't remember their name... That's how my friend initially got into Clarins.

MooMinCow Thu 10-Jan-13 21:13:19

Thanks emsyj. Estée Lauder frustrates me. You can only apply for one brand at a time, and you can't re apply for 4 months or something (and they never got back to me last time grr) - kinda puts me off working for them!

I've had a look at the Benefit site and tbh the site and products put me off, and you're right about their pushy sales technique (I always do a detour in my local Boots to avoid the Benefit lady!)

Come to think of it that could be why I always see ahem 'mature' ladies on Chanel counters...

I have looked at Bare Minerals and Clarins but unfortunately nothing local at the moment. Will check out salongeek for more info thanks.

keepmoving Thu 10-Jan-13 21:20:40

Try sending your cv directly to the brands you are interested in and speak to department managers in stores you would like to work in. You need to be outgoing an enjoy talking to people. it is essentially a sales role not necessarily a pushy one though. Good luck!

Fairylea Thu 10-Jan-13 21:27:16

I worked for clinique for 6 years and chanel for a year. I hated chanel so much I ended up walking out! I had just had enough. They are really really difficult to work for in that their targets are absolutely ridiculous.

Basically you don't need any beauty experience - I didn't. But they are more interested in good sales experience, and luxury retail. It's sell sell sell.

You are expected to sell at least two items per customer, that is what they are interested in "items per transaction". They will give you a daily sales target and you are expected to meet it. If the counter reaches its monthly target then you get double commission. Or that's how it worked about 4 years ago.

They send you on courses at the head offices in London whenever new products come out and you get given these free. With both brands I also got 65% discount.WIth clinique this includes all estee lauder brands - there's lots. With chanel we got some discount on non make up goods.

I enjoyed some aspects of the job but there is a lot of bitchyness. People get very competitive. And you don't really get a lot of artistic freedom as with both we had to follow strict guidelines as to how they wanted make up applied (they will teach you) and how you must wear your own make up - even listing the many items!

I just got fed up with it in the end. A lot of customers talk to you like shit. They think youre stupid because you work on a shop counter selling beauty stuff. You do get some customers who think you work miracles though which is nice smile

I did very well with both jobs (until I walked out) and was made area consultant with clinique.

I think the funniest thing though was hardly anyone actually wore or used much of the stuff after a while... we all had beauty counter worker faves like max factor mascara, rimmel foundation and powder and boujouis eyeshadow.. we also found out that ysl make no 7 concealer in the same factory for example. And loreal makes lancome.

I went on to work in marketing and I never even go to the counters now. smile

MooMinCow Fri 11-Jan-13 06:58:00

Thanks all. Would say I'm fairly outgoing and chatty, and do genuinely like talking and helping customers out.

Will go and stalk some people at the counters and pick their brains then grin

Eliza22 Fri 11-Jan-13 08:32:00

When you go on the Clarins site, they advertise vacancies in FULL TIME NATIONAL MOBILE. What is this? The brief job description doesn't really say. It sounds like you're "on the road" rather than in a store/chemist/salon setting.

Anyone know? smile

Fairylea Fri 11-Jan-13 09:09:07

A mobile is a consultant who covers for sickness and holidays. All companies have them - estee lauder call them "bureau".

You go to whatever store they need you in. Its like being agency staff.

HorraceTheOtter Fri 11-Jan-13 11:00:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Fairylea Fri 11-Jan-13 11:32:18

Yes the heels is true to a point.. they do like a "court shoe". And absolutely no sitting down. If you aren't serving a customer you're expected to be cleaning round the lids of pots or wiping everything like you have ocd smile

JumpHerWho Fri 11-Jan-13 12:26:10

I find it really interesting about YSL making No7 concealer. I bet the relationship runs deeper, they probably make all their products, at least the make-up. Also Loreal making Lancôme.

I thought beauty counter ladies all wore EL Double Wear? Never heard Rimmel's foundation being much rated.

Fairylea Fri 11-Jan-13 12:37:56

Maybe it was just in the stores I worked but everyone loved rimmel stay matte and the pressed powder. Even over ordering with our discounts. Double wear was also popular.

To be honest as we were all friends we used to order things through each other's allowances ... naughty but oh well.

Yep no 7 definitely related to ysl or vice versa. My ex was a manager for boots so I saw and heard about it from all angles.

JumpHerWho Fri 11-Jan-13 12:41:48

The Boots scanner thing is apparently licensed exclusively to Boots for a year then will be used at beauty counters. That's what it said in their blurb anyway - I thought it was shit and doubt it'll be used beyond boots unless the technology improves. Anyway perhaps YSL will be first in line, using No7 as a testing ground?

Fairylea Fri 11-Jan-13 12:47:06

Quite possible, yes.

There is a lot of overlapping between the brands.

Estee own mac, Bobbi brown, origins, aveda, estee obviously, clinique, and a few others, I can't remember them all.

Lancome own creme de la Mer, loreal and a few others.

Chanel and bourjois are linked. Their eyeshadows are virtually identical. When I worked on chanel we would often wear them as they were dirt cheap and if a customer asked we sold them the chanel equivalent.

Benefit is the black sheep really. It's very trendy but no one rated it much and even the benefit consultants brought stuff from us at clinique.

Clarins I don't know much about at all!

Pinot Fri 11-Jan-13 13:02:28

Beneshit <nods>

Tell us more goss, Fairylea! brew <sits down with cuppa>

MooMinCow Fri 11-Jan-13 14:10:07

Well, I'm used to standing for 4 hour stretches, but not in heels (that only happens when I'm drunk), so would need to get used to that, but no problems on the lid wiping as am slightly OCD about things like that anyhow. Would you say the majority of counters work on a commission basis then Fairylea?

Fairylea Fri 11-Jan-13 14:13:34

As far as I know every counter works on commission. But you get a good ish wage too. I was on £7.50 an hour with chanel in 2005 plus commission. With clinique the hourly rate was less but we sold more so lots of commission. I was on about £17-20k as an area teen consultant. (I drove business development for clinique teen business) plus commission.

There isn't much more to tell! I will have atthink and see what I can remember ! smile

Fairylea Fri 11-Jan-13 14:15:07

With clinique we would regularly sell up to 2-4k of product each per day (in London).

With chanel I was often lucky to sell 3 things! It's one of the reasons I hated it.

emsyj Fri 11-Jan-13 14:22:50

Ooooh I'm loving all this inside info!

I am not put off by the standing up (have worked in retail before). I am surprised at what you say about Chanel though Fairylea, I buy Chanel quite often and have never felt they were trying to 'sell' to me... Although I possibly don't need encouragement to buy 3 things at a time blush.

Agree that Benefit is crapola.

Fairylea Fri 11-Jan-13 14:35:40

I don't think chanel is anymore hard sell than clinique ... maybe I said that wrong smile

I just found the whole thing more intense... you were tested regularly on products (someone would actually come round and test you on counter) and you had to know the company phrases for products off by heart word for word. I found it all a bit tedious. I enjoyed clinique more. I just fancied chanel as I liked their skincare more smile

The one thing that I always struggled with though was obviously we were taught to match foundation exactly to skin tone butso many women don't want this
... lots want a tan look, lots of Asian women want to be whiter than white (!) And they want you to agree with them that it's the right foundation when it actually isn't! Really difficult smile

And some nice stories too.... I helped a woman who had a terrible scar from domestic violence and hadn't worn make up as she didn't want to look in the mirrorbut wanted to conceal it. So I sat her down and did it for her and then showed her. She came in a month later tosAy thank you as she had felt so much better about herself she had been able to look in the mirror again smile

And then there's the men shopping for their women .... "bottle of channel number 5 please love.... HOW MUCH ??!!!!"

MooMinCow Fri 11-Jan-13 14:55:31

Interesting point about the foundation Fairylea, as I'm Asian myself and know there is a hang up about being 'fairer', but I get annoyed when I see Asian girls with lovely honey skin tones wearing Caspar like masks! I think a lot of the younger generation are happier with their colour and love brands like MAC/Bobbi Brown who do a good range for darker skin. If I were to get a job at a counter that doesn't have a broad range they wouldn't honestly expect me to wear their foundations if they didn't suit?

valiumredhead Fri 11-Jan-13 14:56:01

Do they HAVE to wear so much make up? I know it's a bit of a joke calling them 'orange ladies' - but why the bad foundation?

The best counter person I have ever met was a really young chap with Estee Lauder ( he wasn't orange btw!) and he totally got me into make up again after a long break. He redid my eye make up and I could have kissed him grin

MooMinCow Fri 11-Jan-13 15:12:19

Aw Vallium I had a male MAC artist do my wedding makeup trial - I could have snogged him too, except I was obviously not his 'type' IYKWIM wink

Fairylea Fri 11-Jan-13 18:13:37

smile you don't HAVE to wear anything from the range you work for if you don't want to... they won't come round and check when you get dressed smile .. hence me saying we all wore rimmel foundation etc!

However yes you are expected to wear certain things - with clinique and chanel they wanted you to wear foundation, concealer, powder, blusher, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, lip liner, lipstick and lip gloss. Basically they want you to sell "the look" and whatever you're wearing. People will ask what you have on so if you don't wear your brand you need to know what the equivalent would be in order to sell it.

I have no idea why some of the women look like oompa loompas. It's not essential smile .. I guess it's like anything else , some people are better at make up than others!

I hope I didn't look orange ! smile

I think there is a lot of competition between the girls... who looks the most groomed, who has the best sales, who has the best designer handbag (! Oddly enough everyone was into designer handbags as we all had to wear uniforms and they become a bit of a status symbol, people seem to use their commission to buy them.. I never did but others were really into obviously real Louis v or whatever else ... oh and chanel earrings and sunglasses!... again not my thing but seemed usual!)

AmazingDisgrace Fri 11-Jan-13 21:21:08

Fairylea, Estee Lauder own Creme de la mer as well

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