The Retail hook… and what you need to know!


I spent the first 10 years of my career in retail and boy did I learn lots… especially around getting YOU to spend your money.

We have all been there (and even me today) that moment when you walk into a big department store, and right there – you are seduced into the smells that over stimulate your senses.

All the staff dressed in sharp black suits, looking flawless, but trust me – most are hangover, starving, all because someone is late to start their shift.

They are over worked and stressed about making targets… but the game-face is always on!

The unwritten rule is “Never show the clients the truth”

Do you ever notice when you walk to SOME counters, they flock to you?

This in turns makes you panic and scream “I’M JUST LOOKING” whilst looking from a safe distance from the counters in this perfectly lit store you feel all eyes on you.

At this stage you play safe … no time to think outside the box, there is a sense of comfort and security in a product/brand you know.

Mascara because you’ve been wearing it usually since the age of 13. It’s simple enough, it’s not scary and you can’t go wrong with this product.

Trust me when I tell you no make-up artist will spend any more than £9 on mascara; there is no real point to spend more. It’s the marketing which makes you believe that your lashes will turn from short and thin to long and thick (well, I worked on the lady one the advert) hmmm sadly it’s not true.

In the trade we call this a “treat product” they know you will buy a mascara as you feel safe… and those clever marketing people have now made you spend more because “you are worth it” its a little treated for yourself.

Well – I’m here to tell you take A  D E E P  B R E A T H – and ask the sales person “what do you love“ “can you help me as I’m sick of not buying the right thing” you will be greeted by pure joy!

There is a myth that working in retail is easy! It so is not! The amount of training that is invested into that person is top end! use their knowledge, trust me on this.

The second product is lipstick

In my one-to-ones or masterclasses, I can tell you most women have 6 lipsticks and they are all the same colour but different packaging “treat purchase”

You will never ever use them all, buying the new one that is the same, looks no different. How about speaking to this trained person and ask, “what suits me best?”

Now that’s a rule to work too…

One red, one pink, one deeper tone, one neutral tone. You wouldn’t wear the same outfit daily so why wear the same make up?

This is why I set up masterclasses- so I can show you how easy it is to feel and look better… taking you out the well lite, lovely smelling PRESSURE COOKER to find the right products with me! Just knowledge and hopefully a lightbulb moment.

I cannot tell you how rewarding this is for me, to help someone see their own beauty has brought tears so many times. We all can lose ourselves with the pressure of life and that’s ok but there is a time you need to say “me first”

Now, let’s touch on the GIFT WITH A PURCHASE… OH, WOW!!!

A gift with purchase, this is when their average transaction value is, let’s say at £30, but what a gift with purchase will make you do – most of the products in the gift of purchase are rubbish, you will never use them you’ll just carry them around for five years – if you spend £50 you will get this gift, so there is a 40% increase with a bag of stuff you won’t use.

I know – you know this but think “do I need it”

Also, just because it’s in a blog doesn’t mean you should buy it, speak to the person in front of you – they will let you know. I have messages all the time “Sue I’ve just seen this shall I buy it?”

I moved away from these big stores to a little well-known store called Space NK – at the time, we had less pressure and some freedom, allowing everyone to fall in love with different items from different brands, having a chance to get excited, showing everything with passion and honesty

Let me tell you – NO BRAND does everything well! Even if they say they can.

You wouldn’t go and get shoes, underwear, dresses, socks and coats from Dorothy Perkins or Reiss, well don’t let your make up bag look the same, cherry pick from each brand.

The standard thing I see in lessons are


Bb / cc creams- what’s the point?

Two treat products brands being Charlotte Tilbury and Chanel

and a contour palette after you watched someone on YouTube with a glitter backdrop and most likely their dad sitting in his pants while they spend 20mins re-shaping their face with a ring light!

A ring light knocks 10 years off of me as it flushes out lines and hides the fact that it’s so packed on.

And once we are finished there is a real understanding of how to shop well for yourself.

Things to look at:

Stop saying “I’m just looking “let the person help you.

Stop before you say the word mascara or lipstick- I really need another nude, no pink, matt but a little glossy lipstick that you might as well lick your lips to get the same effect. Go on! Do it reach for something new! It takes you 5 times to wear something new for it not to be shocking to yourself!

Every woman should have a red lipstick like she should have a good fitted bra!

Bring cash with you so you can’t get pulled into stuff that sits in your “other make up bag” until you see me, and I say “let’s move this on to make up heaven “

Things you need:





5 lipsticks all different


And maybe just maybe a bronzer!

Try and buy no more than one-three new products at a time as you can get overwhelmed by too much change at the same time. Before you know it, you’re back to your old habits.

Remember make up should be creative not a uniform of brown/ yellow foundation even though you’re a pink undertone. Super dark brows, soft gold eyes, brown bronzer that starts as mars bars at the side of your face – that does nothing-

Silver noses, upper lip and under the eye

Brown lips

If nothing else, help the staff out, they are sick of serving the same colours! Yawn!

I hope this helps! Feel free to email me to book your lesson



3 thoughts on “The Retail hook… and what you need to know!”

  1. love this sue so very true re retail i get this most days in work and lived to be asked questions about the perfumes i sell i must admit i do tend to stick with tried and trusted brands for make up but will take your advice and use diff shades of lipsticks x

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