Cosmetics Shop Owners and Managers


Employment Prospects


Cosmetics shop owners may own their own small businesses or become franchise owners. Cosmetics store managers work for large department stores such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Macy's; stand-alone cosmetics store chains such as Sephora, Aveda, LUSH, ULTA, and MAC Cosmetics; and for small business owners. Other managers may work for Internet-based cosmetics stores. 

Starting Out

Few people start their career as an owner. Many start as a manager or in some other position within a retail business. While developing managerial skills or pursuing a college degree or other relevant training, you should decide what type of business you would like to own. Many people decide to buy an existing business because it already has a proven track record and because banks and other lending institutions often are more likely to loan money to an existing facility. An aspiring retail business owner should anticipate having at least 50 percent of the money needed to start or buy a business. Some people find it helpful to have one or more partners in a business venture.

Owning a franchise is another way of starting a business without a large capital investment, as franchise agreements often involve some assistance in planning and start-up costs. Franchise operations, however, are not necessarily less expensive to run than a totally independent business.

Many new college graduates are able to find managerial positions through their school's career services office. Some of the large retail chains recruit on college campuses.

Not all cosmetics store managers, however, are college graduates. Many store managers are promoted to their positions from jobs of less responsibility within their organization. Some may be in the retail industry for more than a dozen years before being promoted. Those with more education often receive promotions faster.

Regardless of educational background, people who are interested in the retail cosmetics industry should consider working in a retail store at least part time or during the summer. Although there may not be an opening when the application is made, there often is a high turnover of employees in retail management, and vacancies occur from time to time.

Advancement Prospects

Because an owner is by definition the boss, there are limited opportunities for advancement. Advancement often takes the form of expansion of an existing business, leading to increased earnings and prestige. Expanding a business also can entail added risk, as it involves increasing operational costs. A successful franchise owner may be offered an additional franchise location or an executive position at the corporate headquarters. A small number of successful independent business owners choose to franchise their business operations in different areas. Some owners become part-time consultants, while others teach a course at a college or university or in an adult education program. This teaching often is done not only for the financial rewards but also as a way of helping others investigate the option of retail ownership.

Advancement opportunities for cosmetics store managers vary according to the size and location of the store, and the individual's work experience and educational background. A store manager who works for a large cosmetics store chain, for example, may be given responsibility for a number of stores in a given area or region or transferred to a larger store in another city. Willingness to relocate may increase an employee's promotional opportunities.

Some managers decide to open their own stores after they have acquired enough experience in the cosmetics industry. After working as a retail manager for the cosmetics department at Nordstrom, for example, a person may decide to open a small store in an up-and-coming neighborhood near their home.

Tips for Entry

As a student, gain sales experience by working in a retail store.

A strong background in accounting, business, and marketing is helpful in this field; take classes in these areas.

Sign up for a complimentary consultation at your local department store with a professional makeup artist.

Keep up with the latest cosmetics and skin care products and techniques by subscribing to beauty and fashion magazines.