Working On Beauty Counters (Dior & Burberry) Q&A

beauty counter q&a

Over the past few months, I’ve received quite a few emails surrounding beauty counter work from some lovely girls who were either entering or thinking of entering this part of the beauty industry. Aside from the countless videos and blog posts on working for Benefit and MAC, I think that information and documented personal experiences concerning other designer brands are few and far between. I asked on my social media if you had any questions and below are the questions that I compiled from emails, Twitter and Instagram so thanks for your q’s! For those new to my blog or maybe didn’t know, I worked for an agency and spent my time as a beauty consultant on Burberry, Dior and Philosophy counters, alternating between Boots, HOF and Debenhams and am currently on a flexible work basis. That, in a nutshell, means that I choose when and if I want to work shifts and for what brand’s counters I want to work on. Hope you find this interesting/helpful and please don’t hesitate to email me with any questions you have – I will always get back to you!

‘What made you interested in working behind a cosmetics counter? And is it something you would recommend for starting MUA’s or as a career choice? <3’ – Littlebeautybug via Instagram

I had just started my 2nd year at University and I was completely lost. I had no idea what I wanted in terms of a career (still don’t, haha!) and my student loan was dwindling away at an alarming rate…we’re all friends here. As a confessed beauty lover, I thought it would be the most fantastic job for me. In a nutshell, they’re all the reasons why I got into it! I 100% believe that working on a beauty counter or as a beauty consultant, does NOT make you a makeup artist. I think if you’re looking to work on a personal, freelance basis, a makeup counter job is probably a good way of building a client base and forming relationships with potential clients. For me personally, I 150% would not want this to form into a career and I would only recommend it to somebody who wanted a career in the sales side of the industry. If someone has a fully flourished interest and passion for the makeup industry and makeup itself (application etc), I would not recommend it as a career.

‘What’s an average day like working on a counter?’ – Maddie via email

The day will typically begin with your eyeballs nearly popping out of your head when you see your sales target for the day and then the stock/backups/samples will all be checked and topped up, where applicable. Now to the hard truth of working on a makeup counter that most people don’t really want to hear – applying makeup to a customer’s lovely face probably makes up about 5% of your day, if that. Every day on a counter completely revolves around sales and hitting targets.

‘What were the best and worst parts about working on a beauty counter?’ – Lucieleannexo via Instagram

Best – the satisfaction of making a good sale and learning a lot about the process of how the products are made and the ins and outs of companies.

Worst – the pressure. The pressure to make sales, the pressure of very (unrealistic) individual targets and accepting that it’s not really about the makeup for you, it’s about profit and sales.

‘What was your most memorable experience from working on counters?’ – Krystal-Marie via Twitter

A very nice lady spending over Β£600 on 3 skincare products from Dior, in the space of around 15 minutes.

Do you have to be an expert in makeup? – Arianne via Twitter

Long answer short – no. Well rehearsed knowledge of the brand’s products you are working for is an essential but this information is all gained ‘on the job’, as it were. A basic knowledge is also a requirement but as I’ve mentioned before, this is a sales job through and through and is not so much about the makeup. I have had professional training myself and I would consider myself as having an extensive knowledge of application, formulas, colour correction etc but there is usually a trained MUA for the brand available for booked in full makeovers. So for most beauty consultants, demonstrations of products are typically what you’ll do in terms of makeup application e.g. if a customer were to show interested in a particular foundation, a beauty consultant would apply the product to the customer’s face to demonstrate how the product looks/works/feels on the skin. Full face makeovers are in my experience nearly always booked in advance and a trained MUA will provide them for clients.

Experience needed? Do you need a certain ‘look’? Tips for an interview? – bubblybex3 via Twitter

Experience – I know this varies a lot with different brands/companies but for me, experience was not essential. I was however tested (through application and questions) on my knowledge of beauty products and application/methods. I also worked through an agency Β for Dior and Burberry who I know are not as strict with previous experience as the brands themselves would be if you were to work directly for them.

Do you need a certain look – I think you’ll find my answer to this question quite interesting…let me know haha! When I was interviewed, the agency were able to choose which brands I would work for and the (lovely, hilarious) lady who interviewed me said she would love for me to go with Burberry because I have a ‘very Burberry look’. I asked her what she meant and she said that my unstyled (ish) dirty blonde hair and pretty eyes and eyebrows fit the Burberry girl image. Hopefully that sort of answers your question!

Tips for an interview – keep calm, keep your head up (confidence) and speak as well as you can. This job isn’t brain science, it’s really all about how you come across because these brands want you to draw custom and make a positive, lasting impression. Which is exactly what you want to do in your interview! Also, avoid boring answers that 90% of other applicants are going to end up using!

‘Did you find it hard to hit your sales targets?’ – Megan via email

Extremely, Megan. Extremely. It was a rare and precious moment when any consultant ever actually hit their astronomical individual targets. It’s all fun!

And remember, if you ever have any burning questions about this, I’m just an email away! Jess x



4 thoughts on “Working On Beauty Counters (Dior & Burberry) Q&A

  1. I worked at a counter for just about 4 years. It was misery compared to my freelance life before that. I’m back to freelancing for the brand again, and I’m happier. There are sales goals, but you are not as pressured. I take my time with customers and usually end up doing full face makeovers because it is more enjoyable. This is probably why I made a terrible counter person! I’ve worked pretty much consistently with one brand (visit my blog to figure it out), but I had a brief stint with one of the brands you mentioned. They had a particular look in mind, and maybe it was the store management at the time, but the look seemed to be strictly White which I find appalling. Things have since changed but I won’t forget that.
    Sorry for the long reply. You hit a nerve! Great post.

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