Aspiring artists and clients always ask about my experience working for MAC Cosmetics. Over the years I've heard tons of varying opinions about products, the level of artistry, hiring issues and customer service. What I will say may surprise you but this is strictly my opinion based on my experience. I have worked for MAC for several years in various locations so I have seen it all.
If you are a person who does not like change, then working in fashion/beauty/entertainment business is not for you. Professions in this industry require a great amount of flexibility and innovation.
Working for MAC Cosmetics has been one of the best experiences in my career as a makeup artist. Yes, I said it and lemme repeat: Working for MAC Cosmetics has been one of the best experiences in my career as a makeup artist.
I was employed there from October/November 2008 until early 2012. I worked at various counters part time permanently and as a freelancer. I learned a plethora of skills from customer service, sales, teamwork, fine tuning my artistry and exuding confidence to my clients.
Mac has a strong brand reputation. The corporate culture is amazing. You are immersed into a culture that encourages you to be unique. You can be pierced, tattooed, have blue hair down to your ankles. Everyone at counter always looks different.
Yes, there is a huge emphasis on sales but ask yourself what business isn't sales driven? It's how business is gauged. I was never a big sales person. I enjoy helping clients with select the correct products for their lifestyle. I know makeup is and will never be a one size fits all solution. This turned into a natural sale. As a freelancer, I sold more because I felt less pressure but more responsibility to help the team of artists achieve their goals.
The schedule can be killer but working permanently is not best for everyone. Sometimes I got off late and picked up my kids late. Everyone has to close the counter/store. Schedules are grueling to manage especially during the holidays.
MAC takes care of their artists by offering generous product discounts, gratis, holiday/anniversary gifts and awesome training.
For me, working at MAC was closest thing I can relate to being in a sorority/fraternity. You create an unspoken camaraderie with other artists. You learn how to ask for help from your team. Despite the normal bickering that occur on any job, you learn to work around it and get things done. My MAC family are some of the first artists that I refer my clients to.
Once you work there, you can handle any client. You understand how to work in a fast paced environment. You whiz around the store, spitting product knowledge, working with several customers simultaneously. Stepping away from the client is an art of its own.
Everyone develops and changes their personal style while working there. Your makeup application gets stronger. You are encouraged to step outside your comfort zone by experimenting with various shades and looks. You really don't have a choice because your job is to help people change their look so you have to work on yours. Your uniform is all black which makes clothing options infinite. You understand how to represent your brand from your lingo, dress, makeup. People will know where you work.
Some artists are career MAC; they transition to positions in management or corporate. For some, leaving MAC is awesome for their career. They flourish.
Getting paid to paint and powder, be fly and meet clients is always more enticing than sitting in an office, in front of a computer all day. Trust me, I've been there done that. I was one who made the transition from counter life work for me.
The bad is that working there on permanently doesn't always give you time to work with your normal clients. You build clientele at your counter but its a different feel working one-on-one with clients.
I loved working for MAC it was a great experience. I've met tons of interesting people (artists and clients). You definitely have to put your heart into working there but that's with anything. I've gotten phone calls for people asking if they should work there. I always tell them, you have to get in first. Its definitely not for everybody. That's my two cents.