Credentials: Milani Cosmetics
Position title: Product Development Consultant
Major: Life Sciences Communication
Certificate: Digital Studies
Graduation Date: May 2013
How did you end up at Milani Cosmetics?
After graduation I went back to my hometown, LA. I worked in real estate for a few years but realized it wasn’t quite right for me. I wanted to work in an industry that really excited me. I had always been interested in the beauty industry and felt the “if not now, when” moment. I went to beauty school and got my cosmetology license. I worked freelance on set and for private events as a hair and makeup artist as well as in a few salons. This is when I really honed my eye for color and product. I knew that I loved the beauty industry but I wanted to explore the business side of it as well and see how the product was actually being made. I have always been a mix of left and right brain – creative and methodical. Cosmetic product development ended up being the perfect blend of both for me.
What does a typical day in the office look like for you?
I work closely with our partnering vendors and labs to develop and customize cosmetic formulas. I test product submissions and give feedback on how the formulations should be tweaked until we reach our final approved product. I create color lineups for products, choose scents, and ensure the formula is meeting our safety and efficacy standards. Working with our packaging engineer and creative design team, I help to ensure the product will have the correct packaging and accurate labeling. After formulas are approved, it is important that I follow up with the vendors throughout the manufacturing process to ensure an on time delivery to our retailers. There are a lot of moving parts, but it is both a creative and technical process that I really enjoy.
How has Digital Studies influenced your career path?
I have had experiences in a few different career fields now and I can honestly say that digital studies played an important role in all of them. I think you’ll find it very difficult to name an industry that is not enhanced by, or evolving to include, a digital component. Social media is the new portfolio for hair and makeup artists. Clients will turn to your social channels to see if they like your work and social platforms can even become a means of income. Milani has an entire digital team devoted to ensuring the company is utilizing digital mediums to the best of its ability.
Do you have any advice for current students?
The resources available to students at UW are amazing. I took a science writing class with Don Stanley and one assignment he gave us was to write about a scientific subject for the everyday reader. I chose to write about the science behind ice cream making. I reached out to the head of the ice cream division at Babcock Hall and interviewed him, in person, that week. I toured the factory and tasted the ice cream. What an experience! All I had to do was walk across the street from the LSC building and I was in the middle of a professional dairy processing plant that was willing to allow me to come see the work that they do. Take advantage of your time and go explore everything that interests you. Don’t be shy – ask all of your questions!
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career thus far?
The first time I saw a product I developed on shelves at a store, I felt really proud. Products can take years to develop, so when they are finally ready for consumers to try, it’s very exciting. Knowing that I developed a high quality product that will be sold at an affordable price is rewarding as well.