12 May, 2016

The beauty of experience

There’s not much Emma doesn’t know about cosmetics. So when it comes to making people look good and feel good, she’s the woman to turn to.

“I love interacting with customers. They come to the Beauty Counter because they take pride in their appearance – and I make sure every visit is a memorable experience by offering products and advice that are right for them. We all have our favourites – for me it’s the Rodial Hangover Mask, I adore it, and our Rosie lipsticks. It’s about listening to what customers want, being patient and learning as you go.

“But I also share my knowledge with other team members. They’re a top bunch, all very different characters from a range of backgrounds, which makes for a great working atmosphere. I’ve been both an advisor and a coach. M&S is a company that puts great importance on learning. I’ve always had support from my manager when needed and now I try to support others.”

Twenty-one years in the same company is an impressive record. So what does Emma remember about her first day and why has she stayed so long?

“I was nervous on my first day, I think that’s natural, but I was made to feel welcome and quickly felt at home. I’d always worked in retail, and one of the things that attracted me was the prestige of the M&S brand – I was keen to be part of it.

“I’ve always considered myself to be the loyal sort. But I wouldn’t have stayed so long without good reason. Helping customers to look their best is enjoyable and rewarding, but I’m not going to pretend it’s not challenging at times too. Some days are better than others but my sense of humour normally sees me through. I remember once trying to remove lip liner from a customer, which actually turned out to be a tattoo – fortunately her sense of humour was similar to mine!”

M&S has added new dimensions to Emma life. The Beauty team regularly socialises and Emma has also done some charity work.

“Helping others through the charity work was so inspiring,” she enthuses. “I’ve also worked with Gingerbread and Marks & Start. It’s good to give something to others.”

And does Emma have time for anything else?

“I absolutely love salsa dancing,” she says with a smile. “And if there’s karaoke, I’m normally first up to the mic.”

Inside M&S