A Professional's Guide To Working In The Beauty Industry
The prospect of working in the beauty industry has always been fascinating. Whether it's hanging out at high profile events, brushing shoulders with famous names or reviewing the latest beauty products, it certainly has its perks. However, the profession also comes with its fair share of challenges such as dealing with clients' demands and a very fast-paced work environment.
By Joshua Joseph
The prospect of working in the beauty industry has always been fascinating. Whether it's hanging out at high profile events, brushing shoulders with famous names or reviewing the latest beauty products, it certainly has its perks. However, the profession also comes with its fair share of challenges such as dealing with clients' demands and a very fast-paced work environment. We speak to SIM-RMIT alumna, Anting Deng, who works as an Area Manager at L'Oréal in Hong Kong. She sheds light on the joys and challenges of this dynamic industry.
What made you choose to work in the beauty marketing industry?
I've always been fascinated with retail in general. Having worked in the fashion industry, beauty is close but is dynamically a very different segment of the market that I wanted to get into. The marketing execution is a lot more vibrant and it attracts my attention as a consumer. So I thought to myself, “Rather than being a consumer, why not just dive into the business?”
How did you get into the industry?
Frankly, I joined the industry because the role that was offered to me was of my interest. It gave me great exposure to work in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region and the areas that I would be involved in excited me. Also, the company culture and values were a perfect match!
Tell us more about you do?
I manage key accounts from the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region where our brands and products are distributed. My key objective is Profit & Loss (P&L) management, hence I do a lot of client negotiations, business optimisation and P&L rationalisation.
What do you enjoy most about your job and what you do you find most challenging?
I love working in a dynamic and international work environment! My clients are based in different parts of APAC. I have fun honing my skillsets with a global business mindset and enjoy having a good time working with passionate and talented individuals. Having to multi task and starting from scratch to understand a new industry was challenging for me but I was able to learn more with time.
Anting (in second row, third from right) with the L'Oréal regional team on an overseas trip in Shanghai where she was one of the presenters.
How has the SIM-RMIT Marketing programme helped in your career?
As a fresh grad, I was surprised at how quickly I was able to assimilate myself into real business contexts and situations when I started working! I believe the SIM-RMIT programme helped me to build a strong foundation with both theoretical and practical aspects such as project works and case studies.
What are three interesting lessons that you have learned about working in this industry?
The first thing I learned is that beauty is in the eye of beholder and there is no right or wrong. Beauty means different things to different cultures. To some, it may mean self-empowerment, to others it could mean strength from within or identifying with a brand because of shared personal values. What I love most about beauty brands and working in the APAC market is that we also get to learn with consumers about how beauty is defined by different cultures.
As our global society involves, we see how consumer products may have an impact on Mother Earth. It's really great to see how both brands and our consumers want to make a change. Just a fun fact: One of my key performance indicators is to ensure that I conduct business in a sustainable manner.
Lastly, beauty connects us. As cliché as it sounds, I really think it's true. Just sharing a new skincare, makeup or haircare styling technique does that to those that are of the same interest group. Despite language barriers, people are still able to connect and have fun and I've been able to witness how beauty transcends boundaries.
What is one common misconception about the beauty industry?
I often get asked if it is stressful having to wear full makeup every day to work. Here's a mythbuster: Thankfully, this isn't necessary at all times and we are encouraged to do what makes us feel beautiful. But of course, you have to keep a professional image at all times.
What has been your most memorable experience to date?
It has to be my first day of work when I had to work at an event in Cannes, France. It was a whirlwind experience as I was new and had to meet APAC clients from the get go. Everyone tells me how lucky I was but I remember being more concerned with trying to remember the names of my new colleagues and clients all at once! We still have a good laugh about it now.
Would you have any advice to dish out to students who hope to work in marketing?
Be open-minded, creative, and dare to challenge the norms. As the world and consumer behaviours change constantly, what has worked before, or what was taught theoretically before, may not fully apply to business contexts after some time, so keep learning.
Find a job that matches your career aspirations and join organisations which connect with your personal values - only then, will you enjoy your work, find true meaning in it and bring value to your organisation.
Find out more about SIM-RMIT Bachelor of Marketing programme that Anting graduated from here.