Our Careers in Beauty Series continues! Last week we had the pleasure to speak to Raphaella Moock who currently works in Digital Marketing at Clarins. We touched on the origins of her passion for Beauty, how she networked herself into successfully landing internships at Shiseido and Clarins, and general career advice that she has for those interested in getting their foot in the door of Big Beauty for internships and entry-level positions. We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did!
What did you study in college? What led you to become interested in beauty?
During my undergrad at McGill University (19′), where I studied Marketing as a major, I had the opportunity to participate in a marketing case competition that concerned L’Oreal’s digital retail strategy. With this project, I was for the first time exposed to the business side of the Beauty Industry, and it didn’t take long for me to start developing a passion for the industry. Through this case, I learned a lot about how the industry innovates and adapts to the constantly evolving market and changing consumer wants and needs.
In my last semester before graduating, as I was applying for different positions, I was contacted by L’Oreal for an internship position. I went through the interview process and unfortunately didn’t get the role in the end, but I was definitely not deterred in trying to find ways to get into the industry somehow.
How did you look for opportunities to be involved in? Did you network during your time in university?
Unlike some, I was always a little uncomfortable about the concept of networking. Friends of mine in the business faculty would advise me to cold-message individuals working in the industry via LinkedIn, but it somehow never sat well with me. It felt strange to message complete strangers and ask them for career advice and referrals to job opportunities. However, I quickly realized that a lot of students doing this strategy at my university were successful in connecting with Alumni, and I finally decided to give it a try.
I quickly realized how amazing of a platform LinkedIn is, and how easy it was to expand your network. I contacted about 30-40 people that I had some connection with (either McGill Alumni or common connection), and many of them were very generous with their time and wisdom.
I ended up applying to several internship positions at beauty and fashion retail companies all over the world. After my first interview experience, I started appreciating that even for internship opportunities the interviewers are asking a lot about your knowledge and experience. A friend of mine helped me prepare for interviews and improve my resume. I focused in particular on honing down answers to the most likely behavioral questions, and have well-rehearsed stories to tell why I am passionate about the industry and the company I was applying for.
What was an ideal candidate for the companies that you applied to?
A lot of companies were obviously focused on previous experience in similar roles. I didn’t have any experience, but I had a strong passion for the beauty and fashion industry, and a desire to learn and contribute, and I felt as though this showed through during the interviews. I also prepared well, reading a lot of articles and reports about the industry, including publications such as WWD (Women’s Wear Daily), Beauty Independent and Business of Fashion, etc., to expand my knowledge base and be able to comment on the industry trends and innovation drivers. Ultimately, what I lacked in experience, I tried to make up with a show of commitment to the industry through this effort.
The one other thing that made me stand out was the fact that I lived and studied in different countries. That was an asset in showing how flexible and adaptable I am to new environments, and that is something that most companies seemed to appreciate.
What was the first job that you landed?
My first job was with Shiseido in Paris. I started as Project Manager Assistant for their e-commerce team, where I helped with a bunch of projects for their website content including the homepage, new offers, new product launch updates, etc. I also worked on their new payment method, virtual try-ons, and various other projects. I was super interested in analyzing customer data. Nowadays it has become essential for companies operating online to understand what their customers like and don’t like, and make business decisions accordingly.
This internship lasted for 5 months, which was short but very intense. Time flew by, and I definitely enjoyed myself and learned a lot through the process!
Why did you mainly focus on multinational companies vs indie beauty companies?
Multinational companies tend to have more complex operations, with several brands, many retail partners, and be more hierarchical in general.
I wanted to work for a larger company because I was particularly interested in helping the digital side of the business. I was incredibly driven in being part of the team that helps established brands deal with their digital transition, as large Beauty companies have to establish their digital marketing and e-commerce strategy to build a sustainable future for themselves. E-commerce is a bigger challenge for these bigger companies as it involves a lot of internal transformation, whereas newer indie brands just kick-it off correctly from the get-go. I was particularly curious about the challenges and opportunities associated with that transition.
Another thing that is special about multinational companies is the fact that their internship programs are very structured. I benefited a lot from the mentorship and guidance provided during my internship, which ultimately helped me learn and grow. Everything was well set up in a way for the intern to gain valuable experience.
What technical skills were crucial to have before starting these jobs?
University really prepared me for these jobs, but you definitely learn a lot more when you start working. For my position in CRM (Customer Relationship Management) where data is important, having familiarity with Excel is definitely a must.
Another thing that I find particularly valuable is presentation skills and public speaking. I had to do a lot of that during my time at McGill University, especially given my Marketing major, and although and although I did not excel at it, I practiced a lot and became better over time. It definitely is a skill that came in handy for me at my current and past roles.
What is your biggest advice for someone looking at joining the beauty industry?
Have passion and lots of it! I believe that this is a big factor in this industry in determining future success in your career. If you are extremely passionate about beauty, you will embark on the steps required, network with folks in the industry, read articles and reports about the big trends, etc..
Eventually, all these steps will come into play in helping you get their foot in the door. My advice is be passionate and be persistent!
Where do you see yourself next?
The plan is to continue to work in this industry. It is a very healthy growing industry, and more importantly, it makes me love going to work every day.
I want to evolve more on the technical side, looking at the architecture and governance of data; how we keep this data secure and make our database grow.
I will be doing a Master’s degree next year alongside my job in France, with a focus on Informations Systems. I want to perfect my technical knowledge of data analysis.
What do you recommend to someone who is about to start applying for their first beauty internship?
First, don’t be scared. Everyone has to start somewhere, and at first it can be daunting but it is certainly doable if you are passionate enough and don’t give up. Reach out to people in your network who might help you, and don’t hesitate to cold message people in your extended network of school alumni to ask for advice and references.
Always keep trying; if something doesn’t work out the first time, try and try again with determination.
You can connect with Raphaella Via Instagram or LinkedIn