VG Careers: Beyond The Makeup Counter 1

Have you wandered through a cosmetic dept. and wondered how it all happens? The opportunities are unbelievably varied and your passion for beauty can lead to an amazing career in an extremely dynamic environment.
By Aparna Allam

Beauty and Personality What’s Right For You?

Science Savvy? If you have a knack for experimenting and inventing, consider a career in cosmetic research – help develop the next skin care or cosmetic breakthrough.
Business Guru?
Look into brand management or public relations. Use your communication and people skills to put the latest brands on the map.
Creative Entrepreneur? Check out a career as a graphic designer. Get into theatrical make-up and special effects or funnel your talent into your own cosmetic line, like Cargo.

Vervegirl recently spoke to Hana Zalzal, founder of Cargo:

What is the most important attribute that has gotten you where you are today?

HZ: Tenacity! Attitude is pretty important too. You know that saying – “You think you can or you think you cannot. Either way, you’re right.” When I started, everyone said what do you know about makeup? My answer was “Nothing.” You don’t always have to know exactly what you’re doing or how you’re going to do it – the most important thing is ACTION.   

What advice do you have for young women about making it in the beauty industry?

HZ: One of my favorite quotes is “If you do what you love, you’ll never work another day in your life.” Trust your instincts. Do the thing you love even if it’s not what you think of as a [traditional] career – stay in touch with yourself and what makes you happy. Having a solid educational background is very important. It lets you see what you like and dislike. My degree in engineering was like mental gymnastics. It’s solution-based thinking, and this is important in any job. Everything has value.

I didn’t have much experience in chemistry, but I knew what I wanted my products to do. I found manufacturing labs and discussed my ideas with the scientists. There are a lot of resources out there that you can harness. Have a consumer focus and appreciate what the consumers want next and where trends are going. Intuition and a marketing brain are very important, as well as an eye for design and an appreciation for packaging.

What major trends do you see developing in cosmetics for 2010?

HZ: I think there will continue to be a blurring of lines between makeup and skin care – more active ingredients and green will also continue to be huge, along with a lot of 2-in-1 convenience products.