Cosmetics firm puts advisors through paces

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The final of the 2010 competition for Sensai Beauty consultants is to be held at the Kanebo Cosmetics Education Centre in Yokohama on June 2, with six women competing for the top honor of Sensai Beauty Master.

More than 500 women from 40 countries across Europe and the United States have taken part in the Sensai Advisor Tournament, which Kanebo is using to both train its beauty advisors and promote the super-prestige Sensai brand of cosmetics.

The contestants will be required to perform a facial, apply makeup and give a hand massage to a customer, as well as give a speech on a particularly memorable encounter with a customer.

"Sensai is marketed with a highly sophisticated and personalized level of consultation at the point-of-sale that is based on the spirit of Japanese hospitality, or 'omotenashi'," Nariko Hagiwara, head of training for Kanebo, told Relaxnews.

The tournament was started in 2006 with the express aim of improving the skills and counselling talents of Sensai advisors, she added.

And with more than 1,000 cosmetics companies in Japan alone and the international market becoming increasingly competitive, companies are looking to improve the quality of their service as well as that of the products. In Japan, Shiseido remains the largest player, followed by Kanebo, Kose, Pola and Kao.

Beauty consultants at Japan's department stores or specialist cosmetics outlets are considered to be the best in the world, partly because Japanese consumers are the most demanding in the world but also because of the competitiveness of the market, the importance placed in customer service in all retail areas here and the fact that beauty consultants generally stay with one company throughout their working life and undergo constant training.

"In order to set us further apart from our competitors, we are using our expertise and know-how from Japan to continuously improve the consultation and professional skills of our European and US beauty consultants," Hagiwara said.

The six finalists in this year's competition, which was started in 2006, are Jelena Liaudiniene from Lithuania, Bettina Hagel from Germany, Valgerdur Johannsdottir from Iceland, Susanna Corsini from Italy, Manuela Joos from Switzerland and Monika Marciniak from Great Britain.