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Beauty consultants advise their customers on the best beauty products to buy to suit their needs and enhance their personal appearance.
Their job involves:
- spending time with customers, helping them to choose products
- understanding and recommending products which will suit the customer's lifestyle, skin type, face shape, colouring and age
- giving a high priority to selling the products they represent
- keeping up to date with new ranges of products, fragrances and colour ranges
- giving customers a makeover
- monitoring stock levels and sales and handling transactions.
Beauty consultants work between 37 and 40 hours a week including weekend and evening work. Store-based beauty consultants work in large stores, which are busy, clean and well lit. They usually work behind a small cosmetics counter and spend most of their time standing up to serve customers. Self-employed consultants travel to customers' homes and need a driving licence.
Salaries range from around £12,000 when starting out, up to £30,000 a year or more for area managers.
A beauty consultant should:
- have a smart appearance and be well groomed
- have confidence and excellent interpersonal skills
- be good at selling
- be interested in health and beauty, especially skincare and make-up.
Most beauty consultants work for cosmetic companies in department stores. Some work from home as self-employed beauty consultants and sell directly to customers. There are opportunities to work as a beauty consultant all over the UK. Beauty consultants may also work in airports, spas, salons and hotels and on cruise liners.
There are no set entry requirements to become a beauty consultant, but some GCSEs (A*-C) including English and maths may be useful. Employers look for applicants with good communication, literacy, numeracy, and sales skills. Previous experience in retail, sales or customer service would be an advantage.
The Diploma in retail business (available from September 2010) may be relevant. Apprenticeships in retail may also be available.
Beauty consultants combine on-the-job training with training courses from cosmetics companies. They may have the opportunity to work towards the Level 2 Award, Certificate or Diploma in retail skills.
There may be opportunities to progress to management, for example as a beauty account manager or an area manager.
What is the work like?
Beauty consultants advise their customers on the best beauty products to buy to suit their needs and enhance their personal appearance. They give advice on skin and nail care, make-up and fragrances.
Most beauty consultants work on cosmetic counters within department stores. They help customers visiting the counter to appreciate the full range of products, by describing and demonstrating how the products work and by giving makeovers. They are often employed directly by a cosmetics company and sell only that company's products.
Some work from home as self-employed beauty consultants and sell directly to customers, usually by demonstrating and selling products on a party plan basis.
Self-employed beauty consultants work independently. Store-based beauty consultants may work alone on the counter or as part of a team of staff members in the beauty department. Department store beauty halls have several counters, each for a different cosmetics company.
The work may involve:
- Spending time with customers, giving them individual advice to help them choose products.
- Understanding and recommending products which will suit the customer's lifestyle, skin type, face shape, colouring and age.
- Giving a high priority to selling the products they represent. Companies set a sales target linked with financial rewards added to the basic salary.
- Keeping up to date with new ranges of products, fragrances, colour ranges and product promotions.
- Giving customers a makeover. This is often a central part of the work for self-employed beauty consultants working from home.
- Monitoring stock levels and sales and re-ordering when necessary, using a computer.
- Handling transactions - taking payments, gift wrapping, enclosing trial products, and giving out gift vouchers.
Self-employed beauty consultants are also responsible for all aspects of their business, such as marketing and keeping financial records.
Store-based beauty consultants will also be:
- responsible for product displays and keeping the counter clean and tidy
- involved in promotions for the store where they work, such as loyalty cards.
Hours and environment
Full-time beauty consultants work between 37 and 40 hours a week. They work normal shop hours including weekends and evenings, with days off in the week. There are opportunities for part-time work and flexible hours. Self-employed beauty consultants often work during the evenings.
Store-based beauty consultants work in large stores, which are busy, clean and well lit. They spend most of their time standing up to serve customers. There is some lifting and bending and they may have to carry stock from the stockroom.
They wear a company uniform such as a suit or a white coat. They also wear the cosmetics they are selling.
Self-employed beauty consultants may need to drive, as they take their demonstration kit and products to customers. A driving licence and car are useful for this work.
Salary and other benefits
These figures are only a guide, as actual rates of pay may vary, depending on the employer and where people live.
- Beauty consultants may start on around £12,000 a year.
- Experienced consultants can earn up to around £23,000.
- Area managers can earn up to £30,000 a year or more.
Most cosmetics companies have commission schemes and product allowances.
Self-employed beauty consultants work on a commission and rewards scheme.
Skills and personal qualities
A beauty consultant should:
- have a smart appearance and be well groomed
- be good at selling as they often work in highly competitive environments
- be able to work under pressure to meet sales targets
- be confident and sociable
- have excellent interpersonal skills
- be helpful, friendly and polite
- be a good listener, to find out what customers really want
- be able to describe and demonstrate increasingly sophisticated products
- have keyboard skills and be able to enter information into computerised records
- have some artistic ability.
It is important to:
- have an interest in health and beauty, especially skincare and make-up
- have an interest in fashion.
There are opportunities throughout the UK for work as a retail beauty consultant, usually in department stores in towns and cities and out-of-town retail shopping centres. Self-employed beauty consultants are based at home. Beauty consultants may also work in airports, spas, salons and hotels and on cruise liners.
The UK cosmetics market is enjoying steady growth as cosmetics companies develop new products. These include pampering treatments and 'at-home' anti-ageing products for customers who want to look younger without invasive cosmetic surgery.
Vacancies may be advertised in local papers and on specialist recruitment sites such as www.hairandbeautyjobs.com It is also advisable to contact cosmetics companies direct to find out what opportunities are available.
There are no set entry requirements to become a beauty consultant, but some GCSEs (A*-C) including English and maths may be useful. Employers look for applicants with good communication, literacy, numeracy, and sales skills. Previous experience in retail, sales or customer services would be an advantage.
The Diploma in retail business (available from September 2013) may be relevant for this area of work.
Self-employed beauty consultants do not need previous experience, but they have to be at least 18 years old.
Apprenticeships in retail may be available. Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer and, from August 2009, pay at least £95 per week. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. More information is available on the Apprenticeship page on this website, from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk
Beauty consultants combine on-the-job training with company training courses.
Cosmetics companies may provide short courses covering topics such as:
- company history and culture
- product knowledge
- sales techniques
- customer service
- stock recording and ordering
- skincare and make-up techniques.
New beauty products are being introduced all the time and fashions in make-up change rapidly, so beauty consultants must constantly update their knowledge and skills.
On-the-job training usually consists of experienced staff demonstrating how to arrange the counter, restock shelves and order new goods.
Beauty consultants may have the opportunity to work towards the Level 2 Award, Certificate or Diploma in retail skills.
Companies recruiting self-employed beauty consultants give their consultants sales incentives, targets and training.
Beauty consultants may move to a larger store or busier environment to develop their skills, knowledge and experience.
There may be opportunities to progress to management, for example as a beauty account manager, responsible for ensuring the retail team in the store achieve their sales targets, or an area manager.
Skillsmart Retail Ltd, 93 Newman Street, London W1T 3EZ. 0800 093 5001 (free helpline for advice on courses and careers). Website: www.skillsmartretail.com
Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT), Third Floor, Eastleigh House, Upper Market Street, Eastleigh, Hampshire SO50 9ED. 02380 684500. Website: www.vtct.org.uk