Our new beauty department is now available inÂ three of our London stores (Stratford, Marble Arch and High Street Kensington), and is being rolled out across the country over the next few months. You canÂ shop the brand new ranges online or, if you shop in store, one of our beauty advisors will be on-hand to offer expert advice for any queries you might have.
We went to meet Natalie, a beauty advisor at the High StreetÂ Kensington M&S Store, to find out more about her role and get an insight into some frequently asked customer questions and her own beauty favourites.
Stories: Tell us about your role at M&S
Natalie: I am a beauty consultant with a background in the industry.Â My role is to help customers with any queries and provide information about the products to help them understand what M&S has to offer. On joining the team, we had intensive beauty training where we learned about all the new brands. I teach customers make-up tricks and we do makeovers and skin consultations too, so if people want to try out different products they can sit down with a beauty advisor at the mirror and weâ€™ll spend some time with them toÂ talk through whatÂ they want to achieve. The environment here is very comfortable and welcoming. The customer doesnâ€™t feel pressured into buying anything they donâ€™t want to buy. Weâ€™re just here to offer expert, impartial advice.
Stories: Whatâ€™s the response from customers been like to the new-look beauty area?
Natalie: So far, itâ€™s been really, really positive feedback. Theyâ€™re quite surprised that M&S have all of these new brands available. There are a lot of products and brands that people might not have heard of, but other customers are aware that these are brands that are already available in places like France and Italy, and know a lot about them. For many of the brands this is the first time they’ve been sold in the UK so it’s really exciting for us.
Stories: What do you like most about the job?
Natalie: I love the fact that we spend most of our time with the customers. Our main role is to give the best customer service that we can and to make sure that customers have a really fun and information-filled experience, and to make sure they leave with more knowledge about beauty and our products. We have cards that we can give the customer where weâ€™ll write down the products that weâ€™ve shown them as well as instructions on how to use them, so if they want to come back another time or buy online theyâ€™ve got the information they need.
Stories: What are the most common questions you are asked by customers?
Natalie: Most women are looking for anti-ageing products and Filorga from Paris is a favourite with customers – theÂ OPTIM-EYESÂ® Eye contour3 is especially popular and targets dark circles, puffiness and wrinkles. We also we get asked a lot about the idea behind the new beauty ranges – â€˜the best of nature and scienceâ€™. Weâ€™ve selectedÂ lots of scientific, technical brands andÂ products but weâ€™ve also got natural and organic ranges without preservatives and parabens.
Stories: What are most people looking for? Is it a quick fix for a special occasion or everyday essentials?
Natalie: We get so many different customers that have different needs. Lots of people who visit the department want to be able to pop in for a quick-fix and be able to quickly try something out. We also have regular customers who really want to spend time with the consultant and gain as much knowledge from us as possible, and get handy tips to take away.Â Yesterday I approached a lady who was looking at make-up and I offered her some help. It was her birthday and sheâ€™d never really worn make-up before but wanted to look a bit different. So I sat her down and gave her a quick makeover and it made a real difference.Â Despite not feeling confident when she came in, she left really pleased, having bought all the products and taking away the tips she needed to recreate the look at home.
Stories: What are the most popular make-up colours for lips and eyes at the moment?
Natalie: What Iâ€™m wearing! I think current colours for lips would be a coral pink or raspberry, so a really fresh pop of colour. For eyes, the smokey eye is always popular. More so with a younger woman, but it can easily be adapted so that it suits any age. For older women I avoid using a shimmer shadow or a very dark eye shadow, and instead go for a matt brown blended with neutral colours. For the 55+ woman, Iâ€™m often showing them ways to define the eye and demonstrating where eye-liner should start and finish to make the eyes look more open.
There are lots and lots of new fragrances available now. Have you tried them all and do you have a personal favourite?
Natalie: Yes! Iâ€™ve tried them all. My personal favourite would be Fragonard’s FleurÂ dâ€™oranger . That has been one of our top ten best sellers in store too. Also, more generally, the citrus fragrances are very on-trend at the moment. Theyâ€™re great for summer as people are oftenÂ looking for something fresh and light.
Do letÂ us know if you’ve visited one of our new beauty departments. What did you think? What beauty questions and make-up tips would you like us to cover on M&S Stories?