In The Business Of Beauty: How To Start A Career In The Cosmetics Industry
All eyes are on the beauty industry these days, with more x more brands hitting the shelves. One question you may have asked yourself is, “How does someone even get behind the curtain + start a career in the fabrication of cosmetics?” We tapped our resident beauty expert, April Martin, for the inside track. With over a decade’s worth of experience in the industry, she’s our trusted, go-to source when it comes to trends + products to keep our eyes on. She’s shared her personal experiences with us before, but this time, we wanted to take an inside look at her career path from the best-of-the-best cosmetic programs, to professional development advice. Today, she’s taking a deep dive into helpful tips for anyone [from every stage of the game] looking to start a career in the world of beauty.
“While I didn’t plan to have a career in the beauty industry, somehow my path led me down the road to work in the field. I was working in category management for a brand selling in Walmart, and I was recruited for a similar position at Revlon. From there, I ended up moving to New York City to work at the Revlon headquarters + rotated through a series of positions x promotions. After some time there, I knew my next step was going into product development. At the time, I didn’t have any PD experience, so I turned my focus toward expanding my skillsets + network to find any openings. One of my friends connected me to her former boss at a cosmetic manufacturer for what was my actual dream job! Turns out, it was desirable for the manufacturer to have someone that had been at a brand beforehand [usually you start at a manufacturer + then a brand]. I spent seven years at that company, and I learned more than I could have ever imagined regarding products, brands, strategy, trends, and so much more. Currently, I am working as a consultant for cosmetic brands, which is also expanding my skillset x exposing me to different sides of the business. My hope is to share my resources + tips with anyone who is looking to work in the beauty industry.
If you’re passionate about working in beauty, here are 5 ways to break into the industry for every stage of your professional path:
An overall step to build connections with people working in the beauty industry is to use your network. Linkedin still remains an important tool in gaining access to beauty insiders that can help you with internships or jobs. Here’s three easy steps to optimize Linkedin when networking:
 Try searching for your favourite companies x seeing what connections you may have to them.
 It never hurts to send a message to someone that you don’t personally know, in hopes of making an introduction to a company. Just make sure in your message to be detailed + clear about what you are seeking, and what your background or experiences can offer.
 If you don’t feel like you have strong work experience, you can also tell them that you would like to gain these credentials. Overall, in these messages, I think flattery always helps, giving you an opportunity to explain how much you love the brand or certain products, and why you’re passionate about the company.
If you are a student x looking for collegiate options in the beauty industry, FIT remains one of the best schools in the country to be exposed to the right curriculum. They have program options for undergraduate, graduate, and even continuing education + non-credit certificate programs. If moving to NYC isn’t in your budget, they also have online programs as well. These industry specific courses allow you to also meet a vast array of people in the business of beauty.
For those already working x wanting to make a switch, there are professional membership organizations, like CEW, that you can join to network + gain insight. They offer career resources as well as a job posting board. Remember that outside of marketing or product development positions, the beauty industry also has the same functions as other industries in finance, accounting, legal, operations, graphic design, and even project management.
For anyone wanting to take a leap x start their own brand, there’s also a program that outlines the fundamentals of the beauty business. Typically, you would work with cosmetic manufacturers to help find formulas + source packaging. One of the largest trade shows for the beauty sector is Cosmoprof Worldwide. They host a range of exhibitors for formulation, ingredients, and packaging. If you prefer to make your own cosmetics, there are also online options to teach you how to formulate.
Once I made the switch to the beauty industry, I knew I would never leave. I’ve found that the culture of the industry is very supportive of one another. I also like that everyone uses some form of beauty product – from personal care items like lotion or shampoo to skincare x cosmetics. It’s an industry whose products touch a lot of people. Wishing you all success in following your own path of beauty!”