What is store approval? How do you pass this second stage of interviewing for a make-up artist job in a department store?
So you’ve got your dream make-up job, been taken on by an outstanding beauty company, and placed in a department store. The next step is securing store approval.
Why Do Department Stores Have Approval Procedures?
Stand-alone locations, department stores need to have a strong identity to persuade enough customers to travel there to shop. Department stores were once vast emporiums with a monopoly on many types of goods, high-fashion make-up included. Now that we can buy most items elsewhere, there needs to be a reason to visit a department store. That reason often includes atmosphere and service. To help achieve this, everyone who works in the store must have easily recognizable and unifying attributes.
While beauty brands have high grooming standards, they all work hard to preserve their own brand identity. Yet in the department store, the overall experience usually has to come first so that customers make an effort to visit again. All the brands within this umbrella benefit from having a future business, which might otherwise not be guaranteed to walk through the door
High-end department stores offer prestigious resume credits for beauty consultants. Some stores bring an eclectic mix of high-quality brands and exquisite merchandise together, creating a fun and high fashion boutique atmosphere. These stores can be a little more laid back with an image if they have exemplary customer service. Stores such as these include Liberty and Fenwicks, both in London. Other stores, such as Harrods in London, trade on a name that guarantees a specific type of experience, which they need to uphold at all times. All these department stores usually require store approval to make sure that you fit the image and the team you will be working with.
How to Pass Department Store Approval
Store approvals should be prepared for a regular job interview by finding out information about the store beforehand. Knowing a department store’s history is usually part of working life as this is tied in with the customer experience. For example, part of the façade of Liberty’s grade II listed building comes from two British ships. The stores know that you want to work for your make-up brand and maybe seeing the approval procedure as an additional chore. So showing some interest in the department store itself will go a long way.
Beauty companies usually put you in a store they think will suit you: It wastes their time to send people to store approvals they don’t get. It means that if you follow the rules, a store approval should go smoothly.
In terms of image, smart is safest. Unless a store is particularly fashion-focused, aim for the slightly more conservative end of the scale with clothes and make-up:
- Wear class company uniform if appropriate, or a brilliant costume if not.
- Ideally, make sure that the jacket and bottoms are of matching fabric.
- Clothes should not be too short; knee-length is regularly the best.
- Bright, clean, enclosed shoes are essential, ideally, shoes with a proper sole rather than ballet pumps.
- Wear retainers in any piercings and try only to wear one central set of earrings.
- Pay attention to detail. Clean nails, tidy hair, and fresh breath are essential.
In all but the strictest stores, the dress code after a store approval is relatively fluid as long as the appearance is well-groomed.
A very few stores now have daylight, but an intense, ambient light is typical for others. This type of lighting flattens the face and blasts out features. Therefore a little more make-up is required to look representative of a cosmetics company. It might be partially responsible for the legend of the orange-faced, freakishly made-up beauty consultant. In truth, that is mostly just a myth these days, and most beauty consultants are not encouraged to apply make-up like a mask. However, a natural look that might be perfect at home often does not appear in a department store.
- Ensure that features are well defined, obviously but gently made up and that products are extremely well applied.
- The safest look is flawless neutrals with one feature, such as a bright lipstick or liquid liner.
- Mascara and eyeliner should be crisp and fresh.
- Avoid elaborate or theatrical colors, even if working for a make-up brand that champions them. You might be unlucky enough to be interviewed by a store manager that hates lime eye shadow or purple lipstick. There will be sufficient time for personal favorites after you have secured the position.
Some people love working in department stores, settling into the hierarchy well, and enjoying the luxury environment. For others, it is just a necessity to work for a particular make-up brand. Promotion to national and regional artist positions often comes from time spent in department stores. Many consultants work hard to achieve this by making a success of their job in store.
Beauty companies are loyal to their excellent salespeople, so failing a store approval does likely mean losing a job. If a position came up elsewhere, you might still be put forward by the brand. However, passing relevant department store approvals can lead to regular work and a faster promotion in beauty retail.