Meet the Retail Consultants at Escentual.com and House of Fraser

Karen Lawrence and Elaine Linney on working in beauty retail and what it means to be a Copra Retail Consultant of the Year Awards winner

Pure Beauty talks to Karen Lawrence, Beauty Consultant at Central Pharmacy/Escentual, and Elaine Linney, Beauty Senior Sales Manager at House of Fraser Metro Centre Store, about working in beauty retail and what it means to be a Copra Retail Consultant of the Year Awards winner.

Q: What do you love most about your job?


KL: The customers. Many have become good friends during my years at Central Pharmacy, and they make my job what it is. I love being able to guide someone towards their perfect beauty match – I always get a thrill when they come back to the store and tell me they loved it. EL: The people and the teams I work with. We all work together to achieve great results.

Q: What are the biggest challenges you face on the shop floor?

KL: The biggest challenge is being able to supply the demand for an entire product selection when there’s only a limited amount of space on the shop floor. Luckily we’re able to direct customers over to our website (Escentual.com) so they can access a wider range of products.
EL: Ensuring everyone in the team is feeling confident and ready for the challenge of achieving our targets and KPI's. It is our mission to ensure that all of our customers are happy with our service.

Karen Lawrence

Q: What have you learned from working in beauty retail?

KL: To expect the unexpected. I’m happy to have contributed to my customers’ lives in a small way, whether they’ve been buying an anniversary present for parents or a congratulations gift for a new mum. No two stories or customers are ever the same.
EL: I have been in beauty retail for 17 years and I’ve learned that it takes a lot of hard work and patience, but it is incredibly rewarding. I like to make everyone feel valued and offer a good working environment.

Q: Why do you think you were named a Copra Retail Consultant of the Year?

KL: I’ve been dedicated to my role for so many years, I’m just so happy to be in the line of work that I am. It’s lovely to be recognised for doing what I love most.
EL: I believe it’s because of my consistent results and passion for my team and store. Our MAC results were an achievement because we delivered more of a turnover in one week than any other House of Fraser store.

Q: How does it feel to win this award?

KL: It means the world to me. There’s really no feeling quite like being recognised by your peers.
EL: It means a great deal, as it is an award from the beauty industry. It was lovely to be recognised for my hard work and commitment to House of Fraser and the beauty department in Metro.

Elaine Linney

Q: What are the most exciting products to hit your shop floor?

KL: For me, the most exciting launches are always the DIOR seasonal make-up collections. The brand has done some really exciting things under new Creative Director Peter Philips – I particularly loved the Superstellar Autumn look with its on-trend metallic facets and pigment-rich eyeshadows.
EL: I feel we have had many exciting products. The Soleil Blanc limited edition collection by Tom Ford was a great success and the customers loved it. Also, the Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation had a great response.

Q: What questions do customers ask you in store and how do you answer them?

KL: We’re often asked about discontinued fragrances, so I try to source them from suppliers and post them to customers. People get attached to their favourite scent so it’s a comfort for them to be able to wear it again.
EL: We’re always asked about new products, ranges and exclusives and we can answer with confidence as we have regular meetings with beauty brands.

Q: What trends have you noticed in-store?

KL: People research extensively online before coming into store and arrive knowing exactly what they want. It’s great to chat to other beauty buffs!
EL: Contouring cream palettes and elixier oil (to mix with foundation) seem to be what our younger customers are looking for.

Central Pharmacy and House of Fraser are members of COPRA (The Cosmetics and Perfumery Retailers Association). For more information, visit copra.org.

This article was first published in Pure Beauty Magazine

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