Big thank you from

Jenny Monroe talks to Patricia McCullough

Patricia McCullough PATRICIA McCullough, 24, from Lisburn is a Counter Manager for the cosmetic brand Benefit based in the Boots Store at Sprucefield. She was recently named regional consultant of the year and last year her team gained the highest percentage over target in the UK and Ireland and were treated to a five day all expenses paid trip to San Francisco where they met the sisters who own the company.

Patricia is currently on a year out from her business management studies at the University of Ulster.

I get up about 6.45am, shower, put my make-up on and have some breakfast. I try to be ready for 8am and leave to be in store for 8.30am.

I have a quick chat with the girls and then start into my work.

There's always lots to do at the beginning of my shift - I have to sort out the team and individual targets, organise the tea breaks and lunch rota and get all the preparation work out of the way as quickly as I can.

I phone customers to remind them that they have a make-up appointment and then I check the stock levels and see what needs to be replenished. I work out what I want to get out of the day and talk to the rest of the team.

11 am-3 or 4pm is the busiest part of my day. My key role is to encourage as many customers over to the counter to see the wonderful products we sell. I want to let people know all about Benefit and show them the 'benefits' of using the products. All Benefit staff get extensive training so I am able to give information and show the customers how to use the items on sale.

I enjoy inviting a customer browsing in store to come over and let me tell them about the cosmetics. I show them the cosmetics and how to apply them properly. Customer focus is very important - it's definitely all about showing the products and not just selling. Some people will come in to get advice about an item or how to accentuate their features and I love being able to help them out. The most common question I am asked is how to enhance eyes and what colours are best with certain skin tones. Once the customer sees the results they are very happy and if they want to buy some of the make-up, I'll sort out the transaction at the till. If somebody purchases one item I'll offer them a free make-up lesson. The brand is very popular as it is the only cosmetic range with an entire line of products designed to disguise, hide, correct and camouflage, even out and keep secret all of your flaws. Its like a best friend that keeps your secrets. There's something for everyone and that's why we have customers aged from 8 - 80! Most girls want instant gratification and that's exactly what you get with Benefit.

Later in the day I will be applying make-up to people who maybe have school formals to go to or brides-to-be who want to use our make-up on their big day. I do freelance make-up work in my own time.

I normally take my lunch break from 12-1pm so that I am back on the floor during the busy lunch hour. Then at 4pm I review the team sales to see how far we are on target. I always try to motivate the staff too. I finish at 6pm most evenings but I work late on a Thursday or Friday evening. During the staff change over I let the team know what is expected and then I draw up a plan of action for the next day. I sort out any paper work which has to be faxed to my area Manager Brenda Anderson who calls in store once a week for a meeting.

I head home and have dinner - I love to cook - and then chill out for a while. I spend a lot of my time with my boyfriend and friends and family.

I really love my job and can't wait to go in every day.

Ulster Star