December 16, 2015 - Posted by Mickey Tortorelli

With the ever evolving front of the cosmetics industry and fast changing trends, it can be a daunting task for beauty advisors to remain current and relatable to their customers.

The good news is that the core values and characteristics to providing outstanding service still remain the same. We've interviewed cosmetic industry experts on advice and tips for beauty advisors in the retail environment. Whether you're just starting out in the industry or are looking to improve your skills, we hope that these words of wisdom will be an aid to your career!

This month we interviewed Shawnah Polley, a Cosmetic Manager at Hogan Pharmacy-Guardian.

1. Can you share any tips on approaching new clients and gaining their trust for you to help them?
My approach to customers has always been a really friendly approach. Customers never want to feel that you view them as a sale. They want to feel you are meeting their needs. I always try to compliment every customer, everyone likes to feel they are in a positive atmosphere. We always discuss their expectations and needs. Even if our conversation does not lead to a sale, I always give them a tip on using what they were looking at, to leave on a positive note.

2. What advice do you have for other beauty advisors on staying motivated every day?
Motivation can be tricky day after day. I have always been an artistic person and I am lucky to have my job as an outlet for my need to create. Every morning I go through a book of makeup looks I have made and choose one that I would like to create on a customer that day. I find great inspiration on the internet, so when I have picked a look I study it, think of what I have on hand at work to recreate it, then set it up at the makeup desk. I think when you use little motivating tricks like this, you will go out of your way to find customers to sit down. I find that customers who know me well love my "get the look" challenges and love to help me complete my daily goal.

3. What are your sources of beauty inspiration and how do you put your own twist on them?
My source of beauty sources will surprise you. I always look at the pictures of stars in tabloid magazines. I have been doing this since I first started in the industry. If you look at all the pictures of their hair, nails, clothing and makeup colours you will always be 6 months ahead of the trend.

4.What are the biggest challenges you face at work and how do you overcome them?
My biggest challenge at work has always been getting a customer to sit down. I am at a store tucked away in a farming community. It's a older clientele who have been working farms all their lives. They can be very shy about sitting down, especially since everyone knows everyone, and most have never wore makeup. They are easily embarrassed about their lack of knowledge of makeup. When I cannot get them to sit, and they have a question about makeup, I have set up a mirror on a counter and I will demonstrate a technique on my own face. Just telling them how to do it is not enough. People are very visual and demonstrating on myself shows them how I hold my hands, how I use a brush, apply a product, but mostly self application. They will watch intently. You have just shared a makeup lesson. Sometimes my makeup can change 5x on a shift!

5. What has been the most rewarding part of your career?
When a customer comes back and asks for me specifically I know I have gained their trust and that my advice has met their needs. I am lucky to be in a work environment that makes people feel good. What more can you ask for?

Shawnah's background:

My beauty career started at a Shoppers Drugmart Beauty Boutique with just my knowledge of makeup from years of loving it. I learned quick the fast pace of a larger store, and the overwhelming amount of skincare/makeup lines that we carried. I fell in love with the job.

After a year and a half, I knew I wanted to manage the cosmetics department. I got a job managing a big box Shoppers at the store I am currently in. It was a very different style of store from what I was use to. Not nearly the high end and selection I was use too, all my go-to products were gone. It was almost a few steps back but it was a great way of leaving my comfort zone and learning the business from the ground up. The knowledge I gained would help me in the next transition.

My store was one of the unfortunate stores caught in the divesture of certain stores after Loblaws had purchased Shoppers. My store had to be sold to a competitor. Hogan Pharmacy stepped in and purchased my store. Once again everything I knew was gone. But I had the chance to rebuild a business from the very beginning. I had to find all my own vendors and products. It's been an amazing journey and a year later, I have differentiated my department and feel a great sense of accomplishment.

If you would like to participate in the “Beauty Expert Feature", please contact us!

We would love to share your tips and advice for those working in the industry. Just leave your contact information below to let us know you would like to participate.

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“After taking the course I felt much more comfortable promoting CHANEL products to my customers. I was excited to share the knowledge I gained and felt more confident answering when my customers has questions.”
Beauty Advisor
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