Início Tech A Day in the Life of a MAC Cosmetics Store

A Day in the Life of a MAC Cosmetics Store

LONDON — The MAC Cosmetics store at Battersea Power Station is the brand’s newest London branch. The small space was one of the first to open last fall in the mall that has been in development for nearly a decade.

While the store’s exterior fits the building’s monochrome aesthetic and penchant for fine lines and symmetry, inside the brand comes alive. There are splashes of pink; beautifully decorated stands and virtual screens playing recent campaigns against a soundtrack of The Veronicas, Rihanna, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj.

On this day, assistant manager Emily has been at work since 6:30 a.m., despite a late night at a Nicki Minaj concert the evening before. She’s come in on her day off because one of the other staff members called in sick, and she’s been doing a stock count for a few hours. 

In the U.K., it’s the school holidays and the store is expected to be busier than usual. There are eight members of staff in total, with four working during the weekdays and six on the weekends.

The store opens its doors at 10 a.m. and the second member of staff, Amy, clocks in at 10:15 a.m. for her shift. The first customers walk in at 10:52 a.m., a middle-aged woman with her mother in search of a blusher.

A half hour later, the pace of the store picks up as Justine walks in with her young daughter. The mother and daughter help themselves to the lipsticks and lipliners — they test out nine different shades before calling on Emily for help, who edits it down to three perfect products for them, lip pencils in Cherry and Soar and a Ruby Woo lipstick, totaling 62 pounds.

“She knows her stuff,” says Justine, pointing to Emily and adding that they’re browsing before heading to London Victoria for the theater. Meanwhile, her daughter is engrossed with the virtual makeup screens in the store that allow customers to try on different makeup looks and products.

Two days ago was a public holiday in the U.K. and it was the craziest day according to Amy, who has never seen the store that busy since she started working there a month ago. She used to work at the supermarket Sainsbury’s and as a freelance makeup artist during her days off.

At 11:45 a.m., Glen Edward clocks in. He was the winner of “Glow Up Ireland,” a British reality television competition where new makeup artists take on weekly challenges. The concept of the show is similar to “America’s Next Top Model” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

He’s wearing Ruby Woo lipstick that Amy is wearing too.

Emily briefs Glen and Amy at noon, whose targets for the day are 512 pounds. Emily doesn’t get a target because she’s a manager, but Glen later says that when Emily is on the shop floor, she’s a selling machine because of her charisma and charm.

The store target for the week is 16,000 pounds, a bit higher than usual because of the school holidays.

By lunchtime, the store is hopping. At 12:12 p.m., two young girls come in asking for the MACStack Mascara. Twenty-something shopper Olivia walks in with a screenshot of the MAC Powder Blush in Coppertone that’s been trending on TikTok and immediately buys it.

“Everyone has come in for Coppertone,” says Amy, who sold two yesterday and one today. Coppertone is now sold out at the store.

Meanwhile, Glen is browsing through products as he’s thinking about the look he’ll create for the MACnificent 7 competition, an internal seven-week contest where makeup artists from the U.K. and Ireland follow a theme to create a show-stopping look.

Each week a winner is chosen and at the end of the competition, they’re given the opportunity to capture their unique look with a professional photoshoot.

At 12:35, Dilara comes in searching for the sold-out MAC Powder Blush in Coppertone, but she’s quickly converted to the Sheertone Shimmer Blush in Sunbasque. Rebecca walks in at 1 p.m., also searching for Coppertone. Emily helps her find an alternative by showing her three different blushers and Rebecca buys Sheertone Blush in Gingerly and an eyebrow styler.

Saskia comes into the store at 2:30 p.m. looking for help as she wants to try a wing liner. Glen comes to her rescue by showing her how to do one using the Brushstroke 24-Hour Liner.

All MAC stores offer makeup appointments with an in-store artist. Today the store is expecting three appointments and they usually last 90 minutes. One has been booked by Hannah, an American living in London, for a 90-minute bridal trial appointment with Glen.

“I have really oily skin, so I get worried about a cakey face,” Hannah tells Glen, pulling a Nars concealer out of her makeup bag. “I don’t wear makeup at all and I don’t even know how to do it. I want a simple look.”

Glen takes a black basket and fills it up with multiple shades of products and skin care. In the end he has six eye shadows, three blushes, three concealers, a few lip pencils and lipsticks.

“I don’t keep count,” he says as he lays out the products with his brush kit, heavily sanitizing each brush before use.

He begins by applying concealer to the corner of Hannah’s eyes and nose. By 4 p.m., he’s nearly finished, with a beautiful subtle look that infuses her face with a bit of color and accentuates her blue eyes.

Hannah loves it and buys everything. Her total comes to 430 pounds. “She bought everything I tried on for her and that rarely happens. She even bought stuff she already had in her makeup bag,” says Glen.

The family of five come to the counter to pay. The mother, Aysen, buys five items, a selection of lipsticks and lipliners that totals 102 pounds. She’s the first customer to pay in cash today.

“I’ve been using this MAC powder for ages, but I don’t know which one it is,” says Samantha, showing Amy a photo of her powder on her iPhone where all of the information has worn out.

Amy asks if she has a MAC account so that way she can take a look at her purchase history.

“No, I don’t have one, I’ve had this powder for more than two years,” says Samantha.

Amy takes an intelligent guess and picks the MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation for her to try on. The customer loves it and wants to buy it.

Amy makes Samantha an account while she pays.

The store gets a high influx of customers who come in because they’ve seen an item trending online. 

Umayy, a student, comes in with her university friend Bronwyn to buy a small powder blush. Bronwyn buys the Fix+ Rose Setting Spray after using Umayy’s at a recent Olivia Rodrigo concert. 

“We were literally spraying ourselves throughout the gig,” says Umayy.

They both use their student discount to buy their individual products.

At 3:44 p.m., Louise, a middle-aged woman, comes searching for lipstick.

Amy gives her a mini consultation on what type of lipstick she’s looking for and gives her a few light and dark shades to try on.

Louise takes a liking to Brick-O-La, a salmon pink shade that compliments her fair skin.

“It’s my first lipstick in several years. It’s a nice place to buy it,” says Louise, who refuses an email receipt.

A south Asian woman walks in at 3:46 p.m. with a phone in her hand, showing Amy her WhatsApp chat with her daughter who has requested the Studio Fix Powder in shade NC43. The woman buys two of them, totaling 70 pounds.

Over the rest of the day, business ebbs and flows, but by 5:33 p.m., Amy and Glen have reached their daily targets. Amy has made 584 pounds so far, meanwhile Glen has made 707 pounds.

The last customer of the day is a mother with her teenage daughter who’s finishing her school exams next month and preparing for prom. She’s looking for lip options to match her red dress. Glen pulls out a few different combinations of lip liners and lipsticks. She tries on several different combinations before choosing Auburn lip liner and Viva Heart lipstick, the new iteration of the original Viva Glam 1. Now almost 30 years old, the shade is as popular as ever.

MEET THE MANAGER: Emily Simoncini

London-born Emily Simoncini has been working with MAC Cosmetics for seven years. She started out on the shop floor as a makeup artist at the MAC counter in Harrods for four years, then worked at Kevyn Aucoin Beauty for a year before returning to MAC in 2021.

How would you describe your responsibilities in the store? 

I have a few responsibilities, such as the shop floor and back of house, which is more operational. Front of house is more people managing and making sure that the team is supported and they know what their days are like — they’re briefed every day and set up for success. I also help with artistry support, so if a member of the team needs help doing a wing liner on a customer or learning how to get the best lipstick shade, that’s where I come in and support. I’m always going to be a makeup artist at heart.

What products can you not live without?

For me it’s the Hyper Real SkinCanvas Balm Moisturizing Cream and Hyper Real Serumizer Skin Balancing Hydration Serum. They are my holy grail. I’m a complexion girl, I love anything dewy.

What beauty hack do you live by?

The higher the blush the better, because it makes you look happy. If you put the blush low, it’s just going to bring your face down. 

What’s a product you’d love to have invented?

It would be lipliner because it’s everything right now, whether it’s making your lips plump or giving you that perfect lip. I feel like when you’re talking to people they’re always staring at your lips a lot and wearing lipstick can fade as the day goes on, but your lip liner will always stay on. It’s what I get most compliments on.

What do you enjoy most about working at MAC? 

Getting to play with makeup all day. I love makeup and MAC is still the authority in the space.

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