How to make it in the beauty industry, according to Kate Squires

From the shop floor to New York Fashion Week.

Sometimes, the best way to further your own career is by learning about someone else’s.

We sat down with Vice President of Creative for Napoleon Perdis, Kate Squires, to learn a little about her journey.

From starting out in retail to working in product and strategy development, she’s proof that hard work pays off.

Tell us a bit about your journey to Vice President of Creative for Napoleon Perdis?

I started as a student, then a retail makeup expert, and have worked as hard as I can to get to where I am today. While based from our concept stores, I spent time as a trainer, educating our other retail artists about product and technique. I was also teaching courses and workshops to aspiring artists through the Napoleon Perdis Makeup Academy. Then I moved into our Artistry Team. My role within the Artistry Team still saw me teaching and in retail, but I also got to spend more time in the industry. I’m now lucky enough to be involved in product and strategy development, and social content. I also spend time on the business side of things, which gives days a really well-rounded balance.

What have been the pivotal moments in your career?

Moving states was a huge one. I grew up in a small country town, so I already had to move to have access to the industry. When I was offered a position on the Artistry Team at head office, I couldn’t say no. I’ve been really lucky that I’ve always been approached about new roles. However, I would never have been approached if I hadn’t put in the hard work. You can’t take shortcuts or give less than 100 per cent, it gets noticed and can be detrimental to your reputation.

How important has education been in your career development?

Crucial. I’m a strong believer in self-development, however, there is some science to makeup technique, so it’s important you learn the basics. Having an experienced artist share their knowledge is a much faster path to success than trying to figure it out on your own, especially when it comes to the world of runway and editorial.

Why is education so important to the Napoleon Perdis brand?

Why have all this knowledge at our fingertips and not share it? Makeup is more than just little pots and tubes of foundation and lipstick. It’s important to Napoleon that he empowers customers with knowledge, to hopefully make a difference in their lives.

Any advice for others wanting to pursue a career in the beauty industry?

Realise it’s not always so beautiful! Most of the time it is a really fun life but, when you’re on a shoot, in the freezing cold and ankle deep in mud (circa 2005 ANTM), you can find yourself questioning your love for it all. Be prepared to work hard and unless it’s against your moral code, don’t say no to anything, especially when you’re first starting out.


This feature was originally published in Fashion Journal 168. You can read it here.

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