Steve Kassajikian started his beauty career at the age of 19 working with Benefit Cosmetics. He quickly realized he was doing what he loved, and he was really good at it—within six months he was promoted to Counter Manager. He had a mentor, who he is still in touch with today, that taught him the ropes about the sales side of the business. While he loved Benefit Cosmetics and it launched his career, when Urban Decay “spoke to his soul” he moved across the aisle, so to speak, and it’s been a love affair ever since.
Steve joined Urban Decay as they were opening their second Macy’s counter in Southern California. He worked at that counter for two years and “made himself known” to the leadership at the Urban Decay Mothership. Today Steve is currently the Global Makeup Artist for Urban Decay.
Many beauty industry executives start their careers on the retail floor, and one thing they all share in common is that they “made themselves known.” What does that mean exactly? Well, it might not be what you think.
How to Make Yourself Known:
Make your numbers and then some. You don’t have to have the biggest personality on the floor to make yourself known—let your sales do the speaking for you. If you are killing it with your sales per hour [SPH], it won’t take long for you to be on the radar of leadership.
Be big on customer service. Let customers do the speaking for you. As retail talent, you are the face of a brand at retail, and providing impeccable customer service is an integral part of the job. Take the time, be sincere, and really help your clients with their needs. Word of mouth travels fast and far.
Know your business. Beauty is fun but working for a brand on the retail floor is more than doing artistry and makeup all day. Beauty is a serious business, so be prepared to speak about the specifics of yours at a moment’s notice.
Know who you are talking to. Visits from corporate are a regular occurrence when you’re working on the retail floor. Use those visits as an opportunity to share your insight and ideas. Know who you’re talking to and give them information that is meaningful to their role and area of responsibility.
Keep your mind open. When you make yourself known, opportunities will present themselves. Be open to exploring everything that comes your way even if it doesn’t appear to be a fit. Building a career is about taking chances and seizing opportunities.
Find a mentor. Creating relationships with people who can share their experience, insight, and advice and provide context to opportunities or challenges is invaluable. Mentors often come in the way of supervisors or managers—often they also become powerful advocates.
Originally written for Counter Intelligence Issue 02
Photo: via Urban Decay