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How To Maximize Every Stage Of Your Journey

How To Maximize Every Stage Of Your Journey

After arriving in Canada for my Ph.D., I quickly realized that things weren’t as cheap as they were in Finland and that the program wasn’t tuition-free. I had to pay tuition, rent, and upkeep from the monthly stipend that I was receiving from my supervisor. So, I concluded that I needed to find a job to augment my stipend. I applied to become a salesgirl at Sephora. I watched YouTube videos of how to apply your make-up flawlessly, and I aced the interview.

Per my student visa requirement, I could work for a maximum of 20 hours per week outside of the university. Therefore, I wasn’t breaking any law and accepted the offer to work as a color girl (sales girl who sells make-up) at Sephora Saskatoon. Below are lessons from my 3 years as a color girl at Sephora that followed me into my professional career:

 

#1 Strategic Marketing: 

I learned to sell from a place of need and to understand individual needs fully. For example, individuals may come in for one product and end up leaving with 10 items that they never knew they needed, didn’t know about until the moment I engaged them and share explanations on the efficiency of the products and why they are suitable for them.

#2 Interpersonal skills: 

I got to touch people’s faces and shared their insecurities about their skin and how they feel about beauty. For anyone to open up, you need to gain their trust through your interpersonal skills and helping them gain confidence that you are on their side and their team. I learned to create a safe space where people could confide in me and get vulnerable as needed. It helped sales but most importantly, it was the beginning of some good relationships.

 

#3 Effective teamwork: 

We had to work with the skin girls who conducted skin care examinations and made product recommendations. After you buy makeup to cover up blemishes, I introduce you to skincare experts to help you find products to clear the blemishes. For the conversation to go smoothly, effective teamwork was critical. So, you end up buying even more products. 

 

#4: Taking initiative: 

Sephora taught me to do the right things without being asked as this was ingrained in their business. When you see a full garbage bin, you empty it. When you see a struggling colleague, you step in. My ability to provide the programs I run without you even asking was learned from Sephora. My creation of STEMHub Foundation when I saw the need was as a result of what I learned from Sephora. 

 

#5 Self-care and Self-confidence:

Sephora doesn’t just sell products; they teach you how to sell their products by making sure you use them and share your experiences with your clients. The different workshops offered helped to build confidence in the person that I am. The beauty wasn’t just in the face full of make-up.  I learned to see beauty from within while working on my inside as I worked on my outside. On self-care, they gave free products (some could be pretty expensive) regularly to the employees. These products became my self-care haven. I learned to relax and pamper my skin and live in the moment when I could. Before then, I lived every day without taking a pause. But with the introduction of the different spa-like treatments, even my heart was better for it.  

#6 Presentation skills: 

It was important to leave an impression and stand out when presenting products to customers. This first impression is the only way they will come looking for you any time they visit the store. So, I learned about several chemicals that are commonly found in the products and their importance. I am a biomedical engineer and will not promote products that have adverse long-term effects. I also happen to know a lot of science words and a lot about biocompatibility. So, some clients would not buy until they see me because they want the science. I mixed my Ph.D. with this work, and my customers felt relaxed knowing that I knew what I was talking about each time. 

Our journeys may not be the same; some will secure their first jobs or make their first million at a very young age or as soon as they land in Canada, while some will have to go step by step. Regardless of starting small or going big, I want to admonish you to please pick lessons and transferable skills from every stage in your journeys and all you did this year. Pick friends, Principles, skills, valuable habits, and do hold up your head high while passing through that stage of your life. Lastly, instead of begging or doing nothing, please start small if you must, and keep working on your big and wild dreams.

If I could change any of my experiences, it would not be the painful 8-hour shifts at Sephora as it was well worth it. These things make me believe that you, too, have a chance no matter where you are starting.

All of my love,

Dr. Addy.

#1 Strategic Marketing: 

I learned to be able to sell from a place of need and to fully understand Individual needs. For example, individuals may come in for one product and end up leaving with 10 items that they never knew they needed, didn’t know about until the moment I engaged them and share explanations on the efficiency of the products and why they are right for them.

 

#2 Interpersonal skills: 

I got to touch people’s faces and shared in their insecurities about their skin and how they feel about beauty. For anyone to open up, you need to gain their trust through your interpersonal skills and helping them gain confidence that you are on their side and on their team. I learned to create a safe space where people could confide in me and get vulnerable as needed. It helped sales but most importantly, it was the beginning of some good relationships.

 

#3 Effective team work: 

We had to work with the skin girls who conducted skin care examinations and made product recommendations. After you buy make-up to cover up blemishes, I would introduce you to skincare experts to help you find products to clear the blemishes. For the conversation to go smoothly, effective teamwork was critical. So, you end up buying even more products. 

 

#4: Taking initiative: 

Sephora taught me to do the right things without being asked as this was ingrained in their business. When you see a full garbage bin, you empty it. When you see a struggling colleague, you step in. My ability to provide the programs I run without you even asking was learned from Sephora. My creation of STEMHub Foundation when I saw the need was as a result of what I learned from Sephora. 

 

#5 Self care and self confidence: 

Sephora doesn’t just sell products, they teach you how to sell their products by making sure you use these products and can then share your experiences to your clients. The different workshops offered helped to build confidence in the person that I am. The beauty wasn’t just in the face full of make-up, I was taught to see beauty from within and to work on my inside as I worked on my outside. On self-care, they gave free products (some could be pretty expensive), on a regular basis to the employees. These products became my self-care haven. I learned to relax and pamper my skin and really live in the moment when I could. Before then, I lived everyday without taking a pause. But with the introduction of the different spa-like treatments, even my heart was better for it.  

#6 Presentation skills: 

It was important to leave an impression and stand out when presenting products to customers. This is the only way they will come looking for you any time they visit the store. So, I learned about several chemicals that are commonly found in the products and theiR importance. I am first a biomedical engineer and will not promote products that have adverse long term effects. I also happen to know a lot of science words and a lot about biocompatibility. So, some clients would not buy until they see me because they want the science. Well, I mixed my Ph.D. with this work and my customers felt very relaxed knowing that I knew what I was talking about each time. 

Our journeys may not be the same, some will secure their first jobs or make their first million at a very young age or as soon as they land in Canada. Some will have to go step by step. Whether you are starting small or going big, I want to admonish you to please pick lessons and transferable skills from every stage in your journeys and all you did this year. Do pick friends, pick principles, skills, useful habits and do hold up your head high while passing through that stage of your life. Lastly, instead of begging or doing nothing, please start small if you must and keep working on your big and wild dreams.

If I could change any of my experiences, it would not be the painful 8 hour shifts at Sephora as it was well worth it. These things make me believe that you too have a chance no matter where you are starting from.

All of my love,

Dr. Addy.

Comments (1)

  • Reply Heidi Isaac - August 10, 2021

    Dear Dr Addy,

    After watching numerous youtube vieos and doing some research on how to immigrate to Canada, I stumbled upon your youtube channel a few days ago specifically on the interview you did with Tunde Omotoye on “What you need to know to secure a job offer from outside or within Canada”. Must I say I was blown away, at first I felt you were very over powering and would not let him finish speaking, or you would interject from time to time. Then, my curiosity grew mainly because you embody that little girl I have always dreamt and still dream of becoming, POWERFUL, OUTSPOKEN, INTELLIGENT, BRILLIANT, FORWARD-THINKING, A BOSS, AN ACHIEVER, TRAILBLAZER AND THE LIST GOES ON.

    I then went on and continued watching more of your videos and I still continue to do so. What touched me most was your story on your upbringing and how similiar it is to mine, the only difference is that I pitied myself alot back in school and varsity causing me to self-sabotage pretty much from then on up to date. From the beginning I had no vision for my life, no one to look upto and basically just flew with the wind. To date, I hold a Bachelor of Business Administration with grades I am not proud of, a Postgraduate diploma in Project Management just because I had someone fund it for me, as well as an MBA which is pretty much just collecting dust. I am currently an Administrative Officer in the Government of Namibia, I have jumped from one organisation to another with no fulfillment, no passion and no vision.

    You may ask why did I write to you? Well because you have ignited a fire in me that I thought died along time ago. Through your videos you have made me feel alive again, you have enabled me to take charge and ownership of my life once again. I have not even booked a session with you yet I feel I have gained so much knowledge through the few videos I have watched.

    As I write this, I am in debt and still saving up for my immigration. One thing I know for sure is that I will rewrite my story and reroute my life all because of you. I will meet you one day and remind you of this letter. I will commend you for igniting the fire in me and enabling me to once again take charge of my life. I can only thank God for allowing me to be in the circumstances that I am currently in which has led me to your discovery. Although I feel that being 31 is too late, you have made me feel 21 and alive again.

    Even though I know you will never get to read this, I still want to thank you for all the amazing work that you do to empower Africans and continue traiblazing because you are defnitely touching lives just as you did mine.

    With all this said, see you soon MY MENTOR.

    With Love,

    HEIDI

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