ruthThis week the team spoke to the Area Sales Manager for the Beauty Industry Ireland, Ruth O’Connell. We asked her a number of questions regarding her career in the beauty industry, and found out what Ruth’s typical day and the demands of her job are like.  The interview proved very interesting and we believe our subscribers will think so too.  Read on for the full interview…

When did your career in beauty begin?

My Career began in 2002 when I decided to embark on a new course.  I had previously been studying business management and was a trainee hotel manager, but i always had an interest in beauty.  I decided to take a leap of fate. I quit my course and took up a full time job to raise the money I needed to pay for any course fees, to pay rent and other bills etc whilst I got settled into my new course the following September.

I loved it from day one.  I threw myself totally into it, only wanting to achieve top results.  I worked full time in the evenings and went to college by day and on my one day off I did work experience in a salon.

As soon as I finished college, due to the experience I had gained from my work experience and after sending out 25 CVs while taking my exams, I walked straight into my first job as a therapist a week after finishing college. This would not have happened if I had not of gained experience in my one day a week placement and if it wasn’t for my determination in handing out CVs everywhere and following up each one. I actually got offered two more positions in the month to come, the moral here being it’s best to get get as much work experience as possible.  This has stood by me from day one.

What has been your most interesting job?

I have to say working for the IIAA (The International Institute for Anti Aging).   Here I stepped into a very different side of the beauty industry, one which I had not seen before.  On the road as a business development consultant promoting to Area Manager for half of Ireland within 5 months. Here I receive outstanding training and really pushed myself, winning many monthly awards for my hard work.  I got to promote three amazing brands into salons and learned many skills to help salons retail treatments and products to clients.  Everyday was different and it took me to many different destinations all over the UK and Ireland.  My knowledge of skin and nutrition from this position is now second to none.

What is your typical day like?

My typical day in my current company ‘French Cosmetics’ can vary day to day.  Some days I  could see between 1 and 8 accounts, depending on what I have planned for the day. As an area manager I am responsible for managing salon accounts, sales, training, marketing, and promotions. It varies day to day, appointment to appointment. I could be visiting existing accounts with new products or training on existing accounts, cold calling new businesses, or presenting to possibile new accounts.  No day is the same.  I cover a large area so I could be anywhere, either in Leinster, Northern Ireland, or Donegal.  Luckily I enjoy driving.

What are the benefits of working within a sales development role?

It is a very interesting role.  No day is the same.  You get to see businesses and your brands grow with your help.  You get to teach and see the rewards when salons thrive with the brands you have recommended them.  You get to see your area grow and know it is down to the work you do.  You get to see your brands become more widespread and more talked about.  You are always learning and everyday is a school day, learning from the company, salon owners, therapists, and trainers.  You get to travel a lot, seeing many beautiful places.  The freedom of the road is amazing.

And the challenges?

You need to be self confident both in yourself and your brands. There are many knock backs in business and some difficult clients but that comes with the territory.  Personally, I love a difficult client and to me a knock back is only a not now not a no.  It can be a juggle with family life and work commitments, but I have mastered great time management and now have the job I love and  am also able to balance this with my family commitments.

For those who wish to pursue a career in your area but don’t have field sales experience, what advice would you give them?

I had no experience entering the field. None. What I had was determination, confidence, drive and ambition.  I had a willingness to learn and to do whatever it took.  So I  applied for the position in the confidence that I had excellent beauty knowledge.  I tailored my CV with my best sales attributes and I did intense research on the company and brands.   I believe it was my knowledge, passion and enthusiasm that landed me my first role on the road.  I also took a step back in salary to take a step forward.  I knew I needed to start somewhere, so took a small pay cut and promised myself I’d work my way back to a higher salary with commission and promotion.  Within five months I gained my first promotion and pay rise.

Where will you be in 5 years time?

In 5 Years time I will be in one of these places, possibly both,  who knows: I want to either progress into a director’s or CEO role of a large company and/or have my own successful aesthetic clinic.

My motto is : Go after your Dreams, Set your Goals and Always aim high, even if it’s scary.