1. Industry Insider: Suzanne Santos

    Posted by karen wong on June 27, 2012

    Here is a love story for the ages. For as long as there has been Aesop, the famed cult brand from Australia who marries scientific excellence with au naturale botany, there has been Suzanne Santos, who has moved through various roles in the company to her current title of Product Advocate. With a career spanning 25 years in Aesop, she spills on her responsibilities, beliefs and stresses the importance of this, “Pursue education. It will always form the backdrop to something of worth in your life.”

    Suzanne Santos, Product Advocate for Aesop

    What’s your background story?
    I grew up in country Victoria. I went to Clarendon Presbyterian Ladies College for my entire education, and my majors were history and philosophy.

    What was your first job?
    My first job was at Sovereign Hill in an Australian country town called Ballarat. This was a reconstructed goldfield tourist village, and my father was a founder and board member at the time.

    Were you always interested in skincare?
    I’ve always been interested in health, and skin is intrinsically linked to that.

    How did you decide to join Aesop and what was your inspiration behind it?
    Aesop and I came together at one. I’ve been with the company for the twenty-five years of its life.

    The Aesop store at Bondi Beach, Sydney includes aged Geelong wharf timber, fixtures of pale grey and white, and a marble countertop to cool the hands on steamy summer days.

    Describe a typical workday for you.
    I have the pleasure of diversity in my role.

    What are your favourite and least favourite things about your job?
    I email and speak to my colleagues across the world, discuss a range of issues from product development to store opening and product launch events. Our workplace is exceptional; I cannot think of anything I don’t like about my role.

    Debunk a common myth about your job…
    A common myth about Aesop is that we are simply a cosmetics company!

    What advice would you give to someone who’s looking to get into the skincare line?
    Consider sustainability as part of your research; the cosmetic industry will be made accountable for its footprint in the very near future.

    Each Aesop store across the world has a unique design philosophy that captures a non-flashy, non-celebrity drive anti-brand sentiment that sits neatly with their au naturale products.

    The one thing I wish I had known when first starting out…
    That I would still be employed by the same company twenty-five years later, and that the experience would have been so remarkable.

    In your opinion, how has the rise of social media and blogging affected the beauty industry and where do you see it in the next 5-10 years?
    Social media has created an objectivity that was urgently required. The transparent nature of its communication will force cosmetic companies to evaluate their style of communication, presentation and content.

    The latest Aesop store in Melbourne, along Collins Street.

    Who is your style icon?
    I have none.

    I will never be caught dead in …
    Louise Bourgeois.

    I splurge on …
    Fresh fruit and vegetables.

    I skimp on …
    Objects I don’t need.

    Describe your personal style in 3 words.
    Unaffected by others.

    What are your personal style rules?
    Clean shoes and little jewellery (if any).

    What is your most treasured possession?
    I don’t really treasure possessions.

    When are you at your happiest?
    When I’m in the sea.

    What is your beauty regime?
    To thoroughly cleanse, tone and hydrate my skin, in vast quantities of product, twice a day.

    From l-r: Aesop Body Resurrection Hand Wash, Aesop Parsley Seed Antioxidant Facial Toner, Aesop Body Petitgrain Hydrating Body Gel

    What is your favourite scent / smell?
    The sea.

    Yay or Nay? BB Creams.
    Absolutely not.

    I hate it when a man …
    Is afraid to express his feelings.

    I love it when a man …
    Cooks, and celebrates food.

    What’s currently playing on your iPod?
    Jazz.

    My idea of a perfect holiday is …
    Heat, beach and culture.

    What’s in your bag?

    For more on Aesop, visit their website www.aesop.com or follow them on Twitter @aesopskincare.

    Images courtesy of Aesop and Suzanna Santos.

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