This past Tuesday, I was fortunate enough to attend a beauty training for my part-time job hosted by Stila and St. Tropez at the ARC Hotel in downtown Ottawa. I rushed to the venue after a late-afternoon lecture - hair styled and makeup already done. As soon as I entered the door, backpack on and Starbucks in hand, I quickly realized that this wasn’t a “run-of-the-mill” beauty training. Instead of the typical quiet atmosphere, catered hotel buffet, and large conference room where my co-workers and I would sit at perfectly set tables, the night called for a trendy “VIP Experience” (at least, that’s what the flashy itinerary led us to believe).
After my co-workers and I signed in and received our “VIP Passes”, we were escorted up a flight of stairs. While upbeat, popular music blared in the background, we were encouraged to “mingle” in the extremely chic upper portion of the lobby (which was reserved for the event). Hotel staff served mocktails (two varieties) and tasty hors d’oeuvres (mini poutine, chicken skewers, bruschetta, and spring rolls). Brand posters were everywhere and products from various brands (I’m assuming all from the same parent company) where displayed throughout the lobby, just waiting to be tampered with. The brand representatives and makeup artists were wandering through the crowd, handing out handbags and chatting up the beauty experts. The atmosphere really did make it seem as if I was attending an event instead of a training.
Eventually, the actual training did take place. It was very brief and to-the-point; just the vital information we needed to know. Slideshows and videos were displayed and members from the audience were used in demonstrations. The trainers did a good job of keeping the attendants involved and excited. After the trainings for the two brands, we were encouraged to visit “the library” - a room full of products that we had just had training on. Makeup artists bronzed my forearms and and I swiped on wine-hued lipstick. Professional photographers were scattered around the lobby and “library” to catch all the action taking place. It is, after all, pretty exciting stuff (at least for a self-confessed beauty addict).
I was quite surprised by this approach to the training. When compared to other brand trainings, it was clear that Stila and St. Tropez were trying to make a name for themselves amongst the Ottawa beauty community as “fun” brands. I personally enjoyed it; I found it fresh. I don’t often have the time to sit through 4 to 8 hour lecture-style trainings that I’m not being paid to attend, and sometimes I find the trainings to be quite redundant - the same information being repeated over and over again.
Stila and St. Tropez definitely appeal to a younger crowd, but the brands are versatile enough to reach a wider audience range. I believe that the brands wanted to portray an air of exclusivity to their products - almost like the “cool kids” of the cosmetics industry. The public relations team behind the event did a great job of organizing it. The hotel location was central, the atmosphere was modern and chic, the food was satisfying, and the trainingwas short and informative. It was perfect for the modern young woman - the brand’s prime target audience.
Making a statement is vital to a brand’s prosperity, and Stila and St. Tropez left a great impression on me. If the brands continue to maintain the quality of their trainings and other events, I’m sure their fan base will grow - as will their success.