I got a job at a department store, I’m on FIRE!

You got a job at a counter? Great! But… I know, I know, me with these buts. Here’s the thing. If you work at a makeup counter, you’re technically not a makeup artist. You might have a certification, be licensed and all but working at a counter makes you a beauty advisor, not a makeup artist. In fact ANYONE can get hired to work at a counter, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

I recently saw one large makeup store chain looking for a regional “makeup artist” and guess what the main requirement was? NOPE! Not your application skills or even your education. The main criteria was to be able to sell at least $120 worth of product PER HOUR. Yep, the main requirement for this “makeup artist” job is how much stuff you can push on people in an hour. Another job advertisement said 80% sales, 20% makeup application. I’d say you are better off with some type of sales education than makeup at these jobs.

Beauty advisors are trained by the store or brand to sell their products. They honestly don’t give a hoot how well you can apply makeup. So if you’re dreaming of creating characters for living, a department store/ makeup store might be a place to start as a way of making money while you look for a real makeup job, but it will not advance your career in the film industry. It is, however, an excellent place to practice your application skills. You’ll find out later why, but first I want to share why I have a love-hate relationship with retail.

I was living in Hawaii in 2001 when 9.11 happened. I had been happily working on production after production, and when the twin towers came down the film industry in Hawaii died. Nobody wanted to fly.

So to make ends meet, I had to take on a job at a makeup counter at Neiman Marcus. Very fancy store, very fancy brands, very fancy pay. Fancy pay when I was able to sell something! You see, many of these department stores hire their salespeople at commission. Which is a great arrangement for everyone involved eventually but when you’re starting out, don’t have clientele, and the seasoned salespeople are ready to fist fight you for the clients, you’re more likely to be panic ridden than excited to go to work. At least I was.

After only about 3 months of being a sales associate I got offered a counter manager position with an hourly pay. I thought I was saved. Turns out I was even more screwed… Yeah, sure I was making an hourly salary but it was contingent on me making sure my counter sales stayed at a minimum of $10,000/ month. That’s a lot of eyeshadows to sell per hour! And even though my hourly minimum sales quota was half of what the above mentioned position requires, I was about to poop my pants at the end of each month. Quota not met = I could potentially lose my job, BUT if I went over the quota, I was even more nervous because quota exceeded = larger quota for next month. I had to sell even more eyeshadow!

Not to mention this was THE most boring job for a super creative person like myself. The only time I got to be creative was during very few hours of appointments for Halloween. Most of the time people would show up and want their “natural” look with nothing too loud. YAWN!

I found out very quickly that retail is not for the faint of heart. I might be tough but I’m not retail tough!

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