Snag that dream job: I wanna...be a makeup artist
I spoke with Ellen Lamar, a former Sephora makeup artist, about how awesome it is to be able to help girls feel confident and beautiful in their own skin. Here’s what she had to say about her career and how to get started!
Girls’ Life: So, tell me about your job.
Ellen Lamar: “At Sephora, I worked mostly in the "Color" section of the store, meaning make-up. I helped clients pick products, shades and looks that worked for them. I did many "consultations," some quick and some full makeovers. A consultation is basically listening to what the customer needs and wants and helping them from there by suggesting what would work for them. Closing the sale is very important--getting the client to purchase what was suggested. Building a relationship with the client is [also] very important.”
GL: Why did you decide to work in beauty?
EL: “I majored in marketing and spent the first 10 years of my career at a department store. I started as an assistant buyer, then department manager and then I was a buyer for 7 years. My last buying job was in cosmetics, which I absolutely loved! I became an account executive for a fragrance company and then landed a job with Lancome. As an account executive, I was responsible for 30 to 40 stores. This was when my love for the makeup world really grew. I worked more closely with the women behind the counters and learned a lot about the product. As my children got older, I decided to work part-time, and then I began freelancing as a makeup artist. I did work for Chanel and also Lancome, and then Sephora. I had training from both companies but it's a very "hands on" kind of job, and you learn and become more confident as you do it.”
GL: What did you enjoy most about your job?
EL: “What I love most about makeup artistry is helping girls/women to feel better about themselves and more confident. Teaching them the techniques and tricks that I know to bring out their inner beauty was always really fulfilling for me. I also loved the continual training provided by the companies.”
GL: How did you learn to apply makeup?
EL: “I was always good at doing my own makeup, but when I sat my first client down to do her makeup, it was very intimidating. I just started doing it and acting like I had done it many times before! We did have lots of training but it's mostly learning by doing. I had not been working for a couple of years when I started at Sephora, but in my first hour on my first day there, I did a trial run with a mother of a bride-to-be. She bought everything I applied on her and I was back in the game!”
GL: Do you have one moment that stands out to you as your favorite moment during your career?
EL: “Oh yes! On a busy Saturday, I noticed a younger woman and her mom, looking at a line of makeup that is for covering up major imperfections. This young woman had a very bad complexion, and she had a hat pulled way down and you could tell that she was very uncomfortable to even be looked at. I talked very quietly to her and her mom and I told her that I'd take her into the very back of the store, where no one would see what we were doing. She let me talk to her about skincare and also show her how she could conceal and cover her imperfections. I finally got a relieved smile out of her at the end and she was thrilled with how she looked. I was so proud of that connection and the sale that followed.”
GL: What is a piece of advice you would give to young girls who are pursuing their dream career?
EL: “Do your research and start where you have to…which is usually the bottom of the ladder! When I became an assistant buyer, it was NOT glamorous, nor did it pay well, but three years later, when I became a buyer, it was all worth it. Also, try to get summer jobs that will translate well on your resume for what you want to do in the long run. It doesn't have to be in the exact field, but something that will give you experience that you can talk about in interviews.”