How to be a professional nail polish namer: an interview with Niva from Face of Australia

I think most girls who are into makeup have, at one stage or another, wondered who comes up with the cute, kitschy or edgy names for the makeup products we use every day. A name like Orgasm, Ruby Woo or Lincoln Park After Dark can help a product reach cult status, and SOMEONE has to come up with these names, right?

Well, as it happens, I know one such person. Niva is a good friend of mine who just so happens to be the “Nail Polish Namer” (among other things) at Face of Australia. I’ve interviewed her today, so read on to find out all the insider information on getting this dream job.

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Photo from the Face of Australia Instagram account.

What is your job title?

Brand Manager

So, I know you come up with creative nail polish names and spend a lot of time on twitter, but I also know that’s not all you do. Tell me a bit about your job responsibilities. What does a typical work day look like for you?

I know this sounds cliché but there is no such thing as a typical day! Some typical tasks might include working on the brand plans for the next 2 years which involves trend forecasting, deciding what products to launch, testing them out (so much fun!), what packaging and designs we’ll use for them and then liaising with retailers to make sure they’re happy to have these in store. I also monitor sales, deal with customer and store enquiries, look after social media, organise press send outs, make updates to our stands, speak with Beauty editors, bloggers and celebrities about our products so that they have all the information they need to feature them on their pages/website. Product development, Point of Sale design, copy writing and more! I don’t do these all by myself though, we have an incredible team here who are always happy to help!

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Photo from Niva’s Instagram account.

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

I would have to say launching new products and physically seeing them in stores or on social media. It’s such a great feeling when you see the product that you’ve been working on for so long finally come to fruition. It’s surreal seeing people post about something you created and gushing about it, I often have to pinch myself! This part is both exciting but also terrifying! Terrifying in the way that I get scared that people might not like the product! I always have my fingers crossed that people do like the product and it’s a successful product launch. We always do extensive research and use the highest quality ingredients so most people end up loving our products, but you can’t please everyone so I’m also learning how to not take negative comments about the products personally if someone has a complaint.

What’s the worst bit of your job (if you’re allowed to tell me)?

Hmmm… that’s a tough one. Probably when a customer has something bad to say about a product or our brand and they post it on social media for all to see! I try to explain that although our products are of the highest quality and have been rigorously tested before launching to the public, that not every formula will suit everyone. Most people understand and are happy with a refund and an apology but some customers can get quite irate. That’s when I need to tell myself to remain calm and try and offer them an alternative solution. Most of the time they will come around and realise that you really are trying to help them but some just won’t let up and you need to just let it go. This is the worst case scenario of course, I always try to solve the problem and will do almost anything to keep our customers happy.

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Photo from the Face of Australia Instagram account.

I know that part of your role includes product development. Which product are most proud of having worked on?

It sure does! Oh gosh there are so many! We always make sure that everything is affordable so it’s accessible to everyone. I love all our nail polishes because who doesn’t like nail polish? And it’s always so much fun coming up with the names of the shades. To this day, I would have to say that the product I’m most proud of is our Limited Edition Glamazon Kit in Leopardess. It nearly completely sold out in the first two weeks of sale! It’s a powder duo with a matte contour and shimmery highlight. I was taught that contouring should look like a shadow and not a distinct line. I noticed that there weren’t many brands that offered a matte contour powder – there were a lot of shimmery bronzers and I’ll admit that even I used to use bronzer as my contour! – so I wanted to create one and educate people about the right way to contour and highlight. This has been such a successful launch so we are in talks of bringing it back into our core range, hooray! It also has a super cute leopard print design!

What qualifications and experience did you need to get into your position? I studied business in university and graduated with a degree, majoring in Marketing. I started out as a Sales & Marketing Assistant, I got really lucky as I had no prior experience in sales or marketing apart from my degree but the business noticed my passion and willingness to learn and decided to take a chance on me. I’m so grateful they did! Not long after I started, the current Brand Manager left to pursue a career overseas and I helped out with her responsibilities. I was thrown in the deep end but luckily my managers were very supportive and taught me everything that I know now.

What advice would you give someone who wants your job?

I would say to study marketing either at University or TAFE, I did a lot of business subjects in high school too so that might help. Marketing is a really competitive industry to get into, you need to be really ruthless in the job application process! I applied for a lot of places before I landed the job at Face of Australia. Lots of companies say that they want someone with experience but just try. What’s the worst that can happen? Just be honest in your application and interview and have examples ready from your previous jobs that might relate to the criteria listed on the job description. (I used to work at McDonald’s and in retail and I can tell you now, customer service is always a key focus in any industry!) Once you get the job, work hard and don’t be afraid to ask for help, people are there to help you. Good luck!

Thank you Niva for giving us a BTS look at the life of a Cosmetics Brand Manager! You can follow Face of Australia on Instagram for more behind the scenes images, and follow Niva on her blog, VogueFit.

I want to know: if you could develop any cosmetic product, what would it be, and what would you name it? Let me know in the comments.

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