11 Things To Know If You Want To Work In Beauty
When you think of the beauty industry, you may cast your mind to immaculately made-up counter ladies who are all toothy smiles and commission induced chatter, or even a beauty blogger showing us the tricks of the trade but secretly getting paid thousands to tell us what we think are genuine thoughts. But what about the back-end, the people underneath the beauty face mask, the ones slugging away behind the scenes to make those guys look good. I have worked in beauty now for 7 months, and in this short time I can tell you it is unlike any other industry.
Despite what many people may assume, it’s not all meeting skincare gurus, boxes of free treats and endless, glamorous events with makeovers and champagne. Sure, there are some perks, but in the long run you’ve got to be pretty committed to get there.
I’ve only ever worked in retail before this, fashion mainly: womenswear and accessories, so I thought it would be a nice, easy transition into beauty because they’re so similar, right? Women wear dresses and shoes but they also wear foundation and moisturizer, how difficult could that be? Oh, how naïve I was.
Here are 11 things that could come in handy to know (and definitely what I wish I’d been told) before you start to work in beauty.
1. It’s huge.
I mean big. According to The Economist, the global beauty industry—consisting of skin care worth $24 billion; make-up, $18 billion; $38 billion of hair-care products; and $15 billion of perfumes—is growing at up to 7% a year, more than twice the rate of the developed world’s GDP. Which, to put it bluntly, is insane. The amount of brands that I work with is overwhelming and there are new ones cropping up every day, with new-fangled tricks and treatments to wonder and amaze us.
2. It’s an unending world of stress.
The lead times for products are much quicker, which means product launches don’t happen twice a year like the fashion industry, its constant. The gifts with purchases, the events, the offers, there’s so much going on all the time that you can sometimes feel like you’re running on a treadmill and once you’re glad that one mile is done, you have to do another straight away.
3. The brands are a bit, urm, precious.
I can’t tell you exactly who, but the most luxury brands are the real nitpickers, which makes my job just so much easier. But because they’re our brand partners we have to keep up good relationships. In other words, if they want us to do something, we have to bow down and do it for them. Each brand has their own way of working, their own rules, their visions and values to uphold – it pulses through everything they do, and they don’t mess making sure we know all about it.
4. There’s a lot to learn.
Before I started, I didn’t know my Trichotherapy from my Tri-Enzyme (and I’m not sure if I still do), it was like going back to science lessons all over again. There are thousands of obscure products with wonderfully weird ingredients, and each brand has their own patented formulas all claiming to do magical things to your skin, hair and body. New trends and discoveries mean that not only will you have to pretty much revise the history of all of these. but learn all about the new ones too. After a while, you start to feel a bit like a pharmaceutical master.
5. It’s multi-cultural.
What’s great about beauty is that it is seen differently in every culture. Each country has their own tricks for looking younger, having better skin, and different ideals of what it is to be beautiful. When working in beauty you will have the knowledge of each culture at your fingertips to immerse yourself in and learn from.
6. Much of a beauty brand’s popularity is based on word of mouth alone.
I am a copywriter for a beauty company and what makes my job quite difficult is convincing first time consumers to buy products that they may not have bought before. But think about it, when you buy a new product, what is one of the major factors in your decision-making? Your best mate’s sister swears by it right? So you thought you’d try it too? Thought so, hence the rise in beauty bloggers. Real girls telling other real girls how real these products really are. It’s like a sisterhood.
7. There are occasionally free things.
This is definitely a perk. Of course, it does depend on which position you’re working in, but usually when I used to go to brand meetings to talk through launches etc, or if a brand was particularly impressed with our services, a goodie bag would be handed out. This was to ensure we could try out the new products and then could market them to the best of our ability as well as to keep us sweet. But don’t be fooled, it comes at a price – the bigger the bag, the harder you’ll be worked.
8. We’re not all beauty queens.
Despite what you might think, hardly anyone I work with comes into the office with a face caked in makeup and dripping in perfume. Just because we work in beauty, doesn’t mean we’re obsessed with it.
9. We are not all beauty experts.
If we’re not beauty queens then we must at least know all the ins and outs and the secrets of the industry then, right? Wrong. Although I do come across hundreds of experts in my job, I am definitely not one of them. I may sit and write about the perfect moisturizer for your skin type, or the best new lipstick on the market that will blow your socks off, but truthfully I barely have a beauty regime myself and have no clue what I’m writing half the time.
Which needs me nicely to my next point….
10. A lot of it is made up.
Have you ever listened to the weird sounding scientific facts in those beauty adverts and thought I’ll give that a Google? Well, if you were to, you’d find that a lot of the names in the beauty industry are pretty much hoo-haa.
Yes, the industry is worth billions, so there must be some truth in it, but unfortunately the market is now so saturated that the brands need to start pushing the boat out on the science front to a) make it believable and b) keep the customers interested and wanting more. All I’m saying is, if you’re gonna buy that £200 face cream, read the ingredients, read up about them and get your head stuck into some reviews – those are where the real loyalties lie.
11. Despite its flaws, it’s a fun industry to work in.
There’s plenty of different and varied characters, the product descriptions are an absolute hoot (Just check out Urban Decay’s Perversion mascara – safe word anyone?), and no two days are ever the same.
Have you ever worked in the beauty industry? What differences to other industries stood out to you?