Looking good


BY PHILIP AUGUSTINE

FIRST impressions count and could be the key to getting ahead in your career, clinching that crucial contact or making someone smile at you.  

Remember playing dress-up as a kid and going through your mother’s make-up? Well, that’s how it all began for The Body Shop’s learning and development manager, Audrey Ang. However, it was not until she completed her SPM that she entered the world of beauty. 

“I got a job as a beauty consultant. Even though my parents wanted me to work in a bank, I knew what I wanted,” says Ang, who has been in the business for the last 15 years.  

As a skin and body care adviser as well, she conducts workshops and seminars for The Body Shop’s in-house staff and the public on grooming. This includes lessons on how to apply products, achieving the right office look, dressing for an interview, and hair and make-up styling. Image is everything in the service industry. Companies in a wide range of industries are investing in training their staff to maintain and project a winning image for themselves and the business.  

FIRST IMPRESSION: Ang conducts workshops on how to project the right impression and attain the right look.

“The biggest problem is that many people do not know how to use products. Many buy really good skin care products but have had no proper one-to-one consultation with a product adviser,” explains Ang.  

Her job is to enhance the natural beauty of a person. “Enhancing and not modifying is the key because we don’t alter the way people look. I use make-up to enhance a person’s face, skin, hair and body. We place a lot of emphasis on educating and training our product advisers and shop managers on the need to access each and every customer and recommend the right product.”  

What does a skin and body care adviser do? 

I have to design and conduct workshops for the public as well as in-house training for our product advisers and shop managers on products: how to use them properly. I have had to do a lot of research, especially on make-up, because some colours just don’t suit Asian skin. In general, pastel colours suit Caucasians and darker shades look better on Asians.  

I once had a client who had a huge birthmark on her cheek. She wanted to go for an interview and told me that no amount of make-up could conceal it. So I mixed and matched a few shades of foundation and after I was done she was crying tears of joy because the birthmark was completely concealed. 

What qualifications do you need? 

I started out as a product adviser for Estee Lauder – that’s were I learned a lot by observing my seniors and meeting a lot of people. I also love playing with colours. After eight years, I landed a job in Lancome and was sent for a month-long intensive training in Paris. 

What’s the best part of your job? 

Educating people and helping them look good at all times. I believe that if you look good, you feel good and the confidence you gain is reflected in your personality. It does not take a lot of effort to look your best. 

What’s the worst part? 

Everyday is a challenge. It always depends on the individual because it is hard to teach someone who is not interested. 

What advice do you have for aspiring skin and body care advisers? 

You must have the passion for learning. I always tell myself that if I want to be what I want to be, I have to know everything. Absorb all kinds of information about what you do. Learn from your mistakes. It took me two years to master shaping eyebrows. Mistakes wake you up while practice makes perfect. Never be afraid to mix and match colours because you never know what you’ll end up with. 

What are the career prospects? 

Many will start as product advisers in shops and malls. This is where you learn a lot and pick up tips from seniors and professionals. There are make-up or cosmetic schools in KL where you can study to become a professional make-up artist. There’s actually a lot of room for you to branch out because we are talking about the human body and you can specialise in specific areas. You can open your own business or get into the training field.  

What salary range can you expect? 

For a start, product advisers can earn RM1,500 to RM1,800 a month. Remember, you can’t just depend on the products. You have to draw from your experience to handle different situations and problems. This is where the exposure you get as a product adviser comes in handy. 

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