Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Vintage Beauty . . .

My first foray into the cosmetic world was in 1974 working for Revlon at the Carson Pirie Scott Department Store. The only experience I had with makeup was garnered from working as a free-lance model. I had no sales skills but I impressed those who hired me. With two other sales ladies, we worked the counter. Selling came easy to me and the cosmetic training we received was immeasurable. The only job I wasn’t fond of was taking inventory. This stock-taking task was an undertaking. I imagine it is quicker with computerization today, but back then there were no computers. You had to count hundreds of tubes of lipstick, bottles of nail polish, and everything else that Revlon sold and it was vast. And cosmetics consultants had to sell other lines as well as their own, which meant you had to have a considerable amount of knowledge of the other products. And it was difficult not to want to sell your own line because of commission and if you were caught convincing the customer to purchase your line instead of the one they came for, you could get fired.

Fragrances were a challenge to sell. You had to know the top note from the bottom note and the different strengths. If there was any one thing that was the most positive of all I learned, was how to take care of my skin. Makeup can do wonders for enhancing ones’ appearance, but it is more important to start with clean skin in order for makeup to do what you want it to do.   

During this time, I met the Revlon Rep, Naomi. She had a glamorous job, or at least I imagined she did, traveling from store to store making sure the Revlon lines were well represented and presented. She was from New York City and of course extremely fashionable. I thought what a great job that would be, but being married and with one child, traveling was not for me. Alas, I stayed behind the counter, however, one fortunate day while I was flying to New York, I met Naomi on the plane. She was really sweet and invited me to the Revlon Headquarters on Fifth Ave in the city. What opulence! I was gob smacked. Naomi gave me a tour of the offices, even Charles Revson, Chairman of the Board, office. When we ended our tour, she autographed this book she co-wrote, writing, “Here’s to being #1.”      
Then in 1980, my family moved to St. Petersburg, Florida. I worked as a cosmetic consultant for Clinique, a subsidiary of the Estée Lauder Companies at Maas Brother’s Department Store. After completing an intense Clinique training seminar, I received my trademark white lab coat and “C” pin which I proudly pinned on my coat. I was now an official consultant for Clinique!   After a year or so, I decided I had enough of cosmetic sales and turned in my lab coat but kept the pin.

So what does all this have to do with a Family Museum? Everything! The purpose of having the museum is to have a place where you can preserve and display your family heirlooms as well as your personal memorabilia. Each and every object you save as a story to tell about your life, and these few things I was able to hang onto played important roles in my life.
Here are the rest of my vintage beauty products and other souvenirs from past days of beauty:
Iconic Halston Pink/Maroon Eye Shadow 

Polly Bergen’s Lucite Box with “Turtle” Insignia (this was one of the earlier gift-with-purchase offerings, the drawers had lipsticks & eye shadows. And this little 1965 Edition of a “Dell Purse Book” of 75 hair styles, none of which was right for me!

There was probably hundreds of other cosmetic bottles & containers, some very artistic & expensive, that I should of, could of saved but didn’t. I do not wear much makeup these days, but the memories of when I used powders, eyeshadows, lipsticks, and blushes, etc., I could fill up several makeup counters.

And makeup always made me feel good about myself. So keep your memories alive and . . . .

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