There were 12.9 million cosmetic stores across the United States as of 2005, with £2 billion in sales, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Cosmetics sales representatives promote and advertise products at retail locations. Then there are sales representatives working independently in home-based businesses for cosmetics companies who offer the opportunity via network marketing.
The cosmetics sales representative sells high-end beauty products for the face, body, hair and nails, becoming expert on the company's product line. The representative will determine a customer's needs and provide education and cultivate a good relationship for the immediate sale while laying the groundwork for future sales.
The rep conducts beauty demonstrations and provides product samples to induce sales. She also handles various cosmetics supplies, unpacks or ships inventory and ensures fresh samples are always available on the counter or readily available for distribution.
When hiring for the position, some companies may require a proven record of successful sales. Companies like Avon, Mary Kay or other independent beauty wholesalers may even require purchase of products or beauty start-up kits. At minimum, for retail stores, product training is a necessity to become knowledgeable on the product line. No formal education is normally necessary for a cosmetics sales representative, just previous sales training. However, it is not uncommon for someone pursuing this career to have a cosmetology license, which will only bolster a resume.
An applicant for this position should be self-motivated, people-oriented and have previous experience as a sales representative. Many entry-level positions exist; however, these positions may start at a low salary or 100 per cent commission-based.
Environment and Salary
The cosmetics sales representative work is repetitive, including standing for long durations. Professional dress is expected; if she is working independently, out of her home, she perhaps will dress more casually. Cosmetics sales representatives work all shifts, depending on each situation, including even weekends, and remain busy throughout holiday seasons. Most work part-time, and many are paid on commission or both salary and commission, including extra bonuses for some. Their average annual salary is £13,880 to £26,227, as of July, 2010, according to PayScale.