Welcome back to our “6 questions” series where we ask someone 6 career-centric questions about themselves.
This week we’re chatting with Chenaya Devine-Milbourne, Director of Product Marketing at Glossier.
What does a typical day in your role look like?
I try to wake up around 7am every morning. I answer some emails or catch up on anything I didn’t get to the day before and then head for a walk to grab a coffee. Since Glossier is still WFH, I try to make an effort to get outside before the “day” starts. Because I oversee all product categories, I am often working on a variety of projects at different stages in the development cycle. This makes each day feel different, fresh and exciting, but also requires strong prioritization and juggling skills! When my day happens to be jam-packed with meetings, I will typically work well into the evening, breaking up the day by taking a run around 6pm. So while I may be busy, I am never bored!
What did you study in college? Did your degree help get you to where you are today?
I went to Ithaca College in upstate NY, where I studied Integrated Marketing Communications and Psychology. I feel lucky to be able to credit much of my career advancement and success to my degree and higher education. My IMC major strategically blended coursework from the Roy H. Park School of Communications with the School of Business and provided me with a strong foundation and the tools to succeed by the time I was ready to enter the workforce. I highly recommend taking psychology courses in college, regardless of the industry you plan to enter. I have found that I lean heavily on that knowledge for day-to-day communication, adapting to different work styles, and workplace conflict resolution.
What has your career path looked like up until this point?
Prior to Glossier, I spent the entirety of my career with various brands in the L’Oréal Luxe portfolio. The summer before my senior year of college, I was awarded a place in the Vance and Betty Lee Stickle Internship Program by the American Advertising Federation, which provided an incredible opportunity to intern at Urban Decay Cosmetics shortly after their acquisition by L’Oréal. My internship cemented my career path and confirmed my passion for beauty marketing, and after graduating, I returned to Urban Decay as a marketing coordinator. It was quite an incredible opportunity to start my career in the midst of a company integration, and from there, I moved to Kiehl’s Since 1851 as a part of L’Oréal’s management development program. Following my completion of the management program, I became the Chief of Staff to the Luxury Division’s Group President, Carol Hamilton. In this role, I worked on business development and acquisitions and launched a special project, House 99 By David Beckham in the US. After 2 years in this role, I transitioned into what would be my last role with the L’Oréal Group, IT Cosmetics, initially leading the complexion team where I was then promoted to the Assistant Vice President of Marketing, overseeing all makeup categories for ITC. After 6 years with the group, I was yearning to gain D2C experience, and started with Glossier as the Director of Product Marketing this past May.
How has the beauty industry shifted during COVID?
COVID-19 has only accelerated the digital migration of beauty that we’ve witnessed over the last few years. With so many changes in discovery touchpoints, particularly with brick-and-mortar retail, customers are having to adapt and become more comfortable with exploring and shopping for beauty online. I anticipate we’ll see a lot of innovation with tools and experiences designed specifically to help facilitate the upper funnel discovery phase (browsing, testing, associate guidance, etc.) of the shopping experience in a more robust manner online.
Best part of your job and working for Glossier? Most challenging?
The best part of my job is the people, and I wholeheartedly mean that. Glossier’s fabric is composed of such an eclectic and talented group of individuals, who each bring a unique perspective. I am very grateful to work at a place where the people inspire so much of what we do. The most challenging? Well, we are now a “big” startup that is still growing very quickly! With each stage of growth comes new challenges, so beyond our daily work, we also put a lot of energy into building the company, which includes implementing and evaluating processes, shifting structures, and sometimes building out entirely new functions and teams. Thankfully, we have a great team that works closely to problem solve at each step of the way and is committed to building the future beauty company.
Advice for someone aspiring for a career like yours?
Seize opportunities, work smart, be curious, listen to feedback, stay humble, and if you are finding that you are struggling to meet your goal(s), try adjusting your strategy and approach before writing anything off. In beauty specifically, immerse yourself in the category in a way that feels authentic to you. Beauty is very personal, and it’s important to be able to identify with that in some way in order to create a product that will resonate with your customer. Lastly, trust data but also trust your gut! Guidance by the former will more likely “guarantee success”, but listening to the later could create a game changer.
Chenaya Devine-Milbourne (@chenayakirsen) is an experienced beauty marketer with a passion for consumer experience, and a strong understanding of the relationship between analytics and creative thinking. She has previously held various positions within the L’Oréal Group, focusing on global marketing and acquisition integration, and now leads product marketing for Glossier Inc.