One of the most popular features on my site is my ‘careers in beauty’ series. I’m exploring the many different job opportunities in the beauty and fragrance industry. Most of these jobs aren’t readily promoted so it isn’t easy to research them. I wish I had know these jobs existed when I first started out.
Burberry Fall Look 2016
This week, I speak with Patricia Bensimon, Burberry Beauty’s National Training Director and Makeup Artist in Canada. She’s very well respected in this country for her expertise and passion for the industry. Here’s a sneak peek into her fascinating career along with some advice on how to follow in her footsteps.
Patricia Bensimon, National Training Director & Makeup Artist, Burberry Beauty Canada
Dave: To start, tell us about your job as a national training director for Burberry Beauty? What does that entail?
Patricia Bensimon: In terms of my responsibilities as a National Training Director, I have to make sure that the regional trainers are properly educated to transmit all the information concerning the brand. First and foremost, I get to know the product I represent and I try every single one. (That is a dream for every beauty enthusiast.) Since Burberry Beauty is based in London, I make sure all the training communications from the brand are adapted to our market in both languages. I need to make sure that I can clearly explain all the benefits and technology behind every single product.
Passion is the essence of a National Training Director! You have to truly love the topic and brands you represent. I’ve also learned that flexibility as well as openness is crucial to succeeding. Retail and cosmetics are changing so rapidly these days that you have to be flexible. What I love most is the opportunity to meet the most interesting people in Canada as well as in Europe and to share that passion with them.
Dave: Tell us about your career path. How did you get to this position?
Patricia: I started working behind the counter and I believe that my strength was communication. Very early on I was coached by a fabulous mentor who saw in me the capacity to transmit my passion and my communications skills. I’ve never stopped communicating ever since! I do think it is very important to get some experience working at a beauty counter, even if it is part-time work. You get first-hand experience on how clients react to products. And do try to find a mentor in the industry. Find someone you admire and who might share advice with you.
Dave: What do you look for when you are hiring trainers today? What skills and approach are you looking for?
Patricia: Passion, Passion, Passion! I look for good communication skills and flexibility.
Being able to transmit that passion, the brand’s values as well as transparency to every person you speak to is key.
Dave: What kind of education or background do you need to become a beauty trainer?
Patricia: First, it is important to have a background in communications. This is a good area of study at college or university. I recommend learning esthetics, makeup artistry and perfumery.
Dave: Describe a typical work day.
Patricia: Each day is very unique and full of surprises when you are a National Training Director! It usually starts very early, responding to emails and preparing the training agenda (booking hotels and catering for the training guests), developing training modules and participating in marketing and public relations initiatives. I’ll also hop on a plane for major store openings or participating in national training seminars. I’ve learned it is also very important to work in the stores and participate in major events. It is essential I meet our customers. I never forget that they are the essence of what we do!
Dave: Tell us what it is like traveling to New York or London for meetings.
Patricia: This is very, very exciting as well as exhausting but so rewarding. It gives us the opportunity to share our experiences and to discover that we all have the same challenges. I get to attend meetings to see new collections and products up to a year in advance. It’s beyond exciting to see all the wonderful new products before anyone else. It’s also wonderful to hear the creators behind the products, campaigns and design tell the stories behind the launches.
Dave: what advice would you give anyone wanting to pursue a career in beauty? There are so many young beauty enthusiasts who would love to work in the industry.
Patricia: Don’t give up! You can have a wonderful career in beauty. Knowledge and communication are the key to your success. Get as much experience as you can in different areas of the beauty industry and be persistent! You can even volunteer to get some experience. Never give up on your dreams!