Once I finished my 3 month training program at Macy's, I was sent to work in the Brooklyn Kings Plaza store to run their cosmetic department. It was a strange placement but perhaps because I had worked in retail before and had degree in retail/finance finance, the powers that be thought it would be a good fit.
When I went to the first meeting of the managers across the chain, I realized that I was the only non-professional manager. I had to be the youngest by 25 years and at the same time I was running the largest cosmetic department outside of Macy's NY on 34th street. Yikes.
Needless to say, it was a fantastic opportunity and a real experience. First off, I never wore cosmetics so the staff got a big kick out of that. But, I rolled up my sleeves, figured out the business and cleaned it up. Each line worked directly with a rep who would make the rounds monthly to each store. Each line had a head who worked in each inidividual store, for Macy's, that would order what they needed and I would have to sign off on that. That was a part of the monthly buy for the main buyer in the Herald Square store although I had to stick to my monthly budget because it plugged into theirs. Where I was really able to make an impact was cleaning up the huge amount of old inventory (return to vendor) and teaching the staff to rotate their inventory and how to keep a certain supply on hand (generally 3 times) based on the turn of the product, etc. This way we became a leaner department, made more profit and had a better bottom line. As much as I loved turning the profits around and getting to know the products, I loved the ladies. They were a mixture of women from all over Brooklyn who each wanted to take me under their wing from the young girls who worked at nigh to the older ladies who worked the floor during the day. It was memorable. As I grew up through Macy's (got promoted after a year in cosmetics to another job), I always came back to visit. It was a mutual love affair. They loved watching me grow through the company.
Truth is, the frenetic feel of a cosmetic floor was fun to work in but I never enjoyed going to one to make the purchases. Once a year or sometimes twice, I stop by the cosmetic floor somewhere and get a redo or get what I need but I never really enjoy it. I have attempted to buy at Sephora, mostly on line, because being in that store gives me an anxiety attack.
My Mom told me about the store Space NK. This might be my spot. There are four locations around the area - one in Soho on Greene Street which is my location. They come out of the UK where they first opened in 1993. The store is serene. Mostly high end products that are the latest and greatest. They carry everything from gels to shampoos to soaps to candles to cosmetics. Some I knew of and others I never had. One stop shopping. Also available are facials.
The minute I walked in and took a look around, I vowed to return for my seasonal make over. Experienced sales staff and not pushy in an environment that makes you feel peaceful instead of the insanity you find in most cosmetic stores. I think Space.NK might have finally got it right. Of course if you still can't deal, you can always shop their store online.