Beauty Career: A Day in the Life of Dior’s Regional Sales Director
My series highlighting careers in the beauty industry continues this week with one of the most passionate and enthusiastic executives that I know. Lisa Fehr is Regional Sales Director for Dior Beauty in Canada and she proves that you can work your way up from receptionist to executive with hard work, passion and creative ideas. Here is an exclusive peek at what it is like to work for one of the world’s top beauty brands.
Dior’s Regional Sales Director Lisa Fehr
Dave: To start, Lisa, tell us about your job at Dior? What is your job title and what do you do?
Lisa Fehr: I am the Regional Director of Sales for Central Canada. My role can be defined into two main responsibilities – managing a team of sales and education executives, and partnering with two national retailers to develop and implement exciting marketing programs.
D.L.: Describe a typical day in your life.
L.F.: I am so fortunate that no two days are alike. If I was to describe what fills my day, almost every day, I would say sales review, program/product negotiation via conference calls and e-mails. My favourite part of any day is being in-store with the team, and watching and listening to the customer’s interaction with our stylists. This is where the magic happens – the inspiration, the creativity, the trust – the relationship.
D.L.: Tell us about your career path. How did you get to this position?
L.F.: My path is not the typical one, however I wouldn’t change a day of it. I started as the receptionist at Calvin Klein Cosmetics during a transition period between universities. I was quickly exposed to sales, marketing, customer service and shipping/receiving due to the relatively small size of the company. I was hungry to learn and tried everything, and soon realized that sales was my calling. During my first 6 months, I had already received a promotion to Sales Administration Coordinator however I already had my sights on a different path – Sales. I made an appointment with the Regional Sales Director and confided in him my intentions. He told me “everyone thinks they want to be an Account Executive and it is a great job, but you are on the road a lot, in hotels, and it can be lonely.” Anyone who knows me understands that when I decide on a path, whether it is career, a program or an event, I am totally committed to it. I asked what I had to do to be the next Account Executive and he told me this “work hard, learn everything I can about marketing, sales administration, and when the time is right, I would earn my chance.” Three years later I did, and I am so thankful. The journey didn’t stop there…I kept pushing for more. I was fearless, and adventurous. I lived all over southwestern Ontario, and moved to Vancouver for 4 years where I managed all different retailers on the island and the lower mainland. I moved back to Ontario in 2001 and decided I needed and wanted more than just fragrances so I left for Parfums Christian Dior that fall. I became a Regional Sales Director under the tutelage of Sue Connelly-King in 2005 who I work for today.
D.L.: What is it like going to the annual Dior sales meetings? Tell us a little about the destinations and what you see.
L.F.: Our sales meetings are very inspirational. Set in different locations in the United States, each more beautiful and special than the last. Our President brings together our entire North American sales force to celebrate our success, and preview the upcoming season. We are treated to luxury destination resorts like The Montage in Southern California, The Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas and Miami. Besides being absolutely gorgeous destinations, these resorts offer the best in customer service and the most delicious food and wine pairings. The presentations by our Senior Executives are so insightful and enlightening that I always want more. They share global trends, market and product results, and insights into the luxury customer. If that wasn’t enough to inspire us – then our marketing team unveils the new ad campaigns, our latest product innovations and state of the art installations. Everyone is excited to return to their home market and start sharing and implementing the strategies learned during this time together.
Dior’s Lisa Fehr with our Twitter friend Adele Wright at a Dior beauty event
D.L.: Tell us about visiting Dior’s head office in New York City.
L.F.: I love to travel and New York is one of my favourite cities. The experience starts on E57th and the Dior fashion boutique – when the car drops you off you are at the door step of not only the Dior office, but our New York flagship store. You have a glimpse of the latest fashion and accessories before heading into the tower. Being in the NY office is thrilling. There are floors of smart, creative people collaborating, building programs and working with our Parisian head office staff to bring to market great new products. Working with these people in the NY tower is truly inspiring.
D.L: What advice would you give someone starting out and wanting a career in beauty?
L.F.: Beauty is an exciting career with so many opportunities. The business is just not about knowing the products and applying them expertly, it is about service, luxury, and savoir faire. My advice to anyone wanting to be a part of this industry is to work for a retailer or a brand in-store. Understand what facets you love, the brands you admire, and then go for the position you seek. Once you are there – learn everything you can….collaborate, ask questions, stretch yourself and don’t be afraid of taking chances.
D.L.: What has been the most exciting moment in your career so far?
L.F.: There have been so many, but the most exciting moment was presenting at the Cosmetic Outstanding Service Awards. Yes presenting – not winning. This annual ceremony celebrates and recognizes the industry’s very best beauty and fragrance specialists and their outstanding service. This particular year I was asked to present the COSA to the Outstanding Selling Specialist/Demonstrator. This is the beauty industry’s Oscar’s, complete with ball gowns, dinner, entertainment and of course – awards. The COSA is a coveted award and to be recognized is truly special. It was my honour to represent Dior in front of the industry’s executives of our national retailers and suppliers at these awards.
D.L.: What do you look for when you are hiring employees for Dior?
L.F.: I look for individuals who are passionate, smart, entrepreneurial, and believe in teamwork and dedication. I love resumes from incumbents who started small with great ambition and have a sold work ethic in the industry, however I also value the incumbent who wants to join the industry after experiencing different career paths to realize fashion and beauty is where their future and their passion lies.
D.L.: How far in advance do you work?
L.F.: We build programs with our retailers in 6 month increments, spring and fall, and typically 3-4 months before the season starts. It seems in the last year we are starting to plan a year out to some degree. We had our first 2016 holiday conversation with Hudson’s Bay in January of 2016….while holiday 2015 was fresh in our minds. I have to say, I love the planning process. It is exciting to review the results, collaborate within our own sales and marketing team, and then review with our buyers for their insight.
D.L.: What are your three all-time favourite Dior beauty products?
L.F.: Only three? I cannot live without my Cleansing water, Diorshow mascara, and Capture Totale cream. I truly believe my makeup looks good only when my skin looks good.
Dior Capture Totale
Dior Cleansing water
D.L.: What education would be good for someone wanting to pursue a career like yours?
L.F.: So many people come to this industry with varied backgrounds, however I believe a background in fine art, marketing, or finance are all solid foundations for this role.
D.L.: How is beauty retail changing these days?
L.F.: I see a few things changing. The first is many new brands, products and companies have entered the beauty market place and this offers the customer a plethora of choices and innovation like never before. I’ve also noticed that trends are now global with little lag time between countries or cultures . And finally social media is a catalyst to buying decisions and the beauty blogger whom you may have never met, is earning your trust and influencing how you spend your money.
D.L.: Where do you go to vacation and recharge after working so hard?
L.F.: My family loves the water, so our vacations are usually to cottage country, or a beach in the south – anywhere we can swim, boat, play outdoors.