The Beautiful Life

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
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When Ashley Varney ’14 participated in a mock interview during her Applied Sales class, she didn’t know it was going to bring her the job of her dreams before the end of the school year. Then, she secured an interview with Sephora with hopes of becoming a Product Consultant. “It was a group interview, but I knew how to make myself stand-out,” says Varney, who credits Professor of Applied Business Management David Tooch with helping her to develop her unique leadership skills. “Dave taught us how to step up when the group becomes quiet, to dress appropriately, ask the right questions, and follow-up after the interview,” says Varney. Upon Tooch’s advice, she studied the company thoroughly before her interview and found herself to be better informed than the other candidates present.

Varney now balances schoolwork with her 35-hour-a-week job as a Product Consultant at Sephora. “I teach customers about different make-up and skin care products, and do make-up applications on a daily basis,” says the Applied Business Management major in the Thompson School of Applied Science who plans to work her way up to Beauty Educator, teaching Sephora’s product consultant teams about each new product that becomes available to consumers. Varney says she’s comfortable in her role selling beauty products because of the tools she acquired in her Applied Sales class: a set of effective personal selling and persuasion skills, developed through the practice of pre-approach, approach, demonstration, handling of objections, and closing and follow-up techniques.

A Somersworth native, Varney graduated from both her local high school and the Dover High School’s Cosmetology Program. In addition, she earned certificates in Cosmetology from the Portsmouth Beauty School and Esthetics from the Institute of Skin Science, and is licensed to cut hair and perform facials, microdermabrasion, and chemical peels. In spite of her personal motivation, Varney was uncertain that she’d enjoy college. “I didn’t want to sit in a class with hundreds of other kids, but my friends had gone to the Thompson School and loved it,” she says. “I wanted to be a part of that community, too.” As soon as Varney was warmly welcomed by Director of Admissions, Deborah Pack, and later enrolled in classes with low student-to-teacher ratios, she knew she had made the right choice for her individual needs. Looking back, Varney says, “It was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Varney expects to go far in the beauty industry, in part, because she’s made herself into a well-rounded professional, accomplished in both her artistic and business skills. Through her practical education at the Thompson School, Varney acquires the knowledge and experience that has and will continue to give her an edge over the competition as she carves out a satisfying career. "It's not only about finding a job,” says David Tooch. “It's about finding a career that matches up with your passion. Ashley is very motivated and ambitious, and she has done just that."