beauty

A Post-it ban and no weather talk: The weird and wonderful secrets of working at Aesop.

Hi, my name is Katy, and I am an Aesop addict.

I rub their products on my face and my hands and my body on a daily basis and frequently catch myself smiling after taking in a big whiff of their Resurrection hand balm.

I want to scream every time someone says “Ayy-sop” instead “Ee-sop” and secretly live to have my hands washed in store by their zen-inducing consultants.

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And sometimes, when it’s really cold at night and I’m feeling a little bit lonely, I wonder what it must be like to work for Aesop. To be on their payroll, to have countless lotions at your disposal, and to bathe in the greatness of their minimal aesthetic. And so after months of daydreaming, I decided to do just that.

Speaking to a number of current and former employees from both retail spaces and their Melbourne-based head office, this is what I discovered about the weird, wacky and wonderful rules of Aesop.

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The interview process

Getting your foot in the door of Aesop is an arduous task. According to two former head office employees I spoke to, the online application process includes a tailored question and answer section, and then there’s a phone interview, at least two face-to-face interviews, and finally, if you make it that far, an informal coffee catch-up with the people you’re set to work with. So in other words, you really have to want it.

Listen: Zoe Foster-Blake has some skincare advice for the time-poor woman. Post continues… 

The induction process

Upon joining the family Aesop, all staff, irrespective of their role within the company, be it the IT worker or the junior store manager, undertake a three-day training program to learn about the company’s products, how to do a consultation with a customer, and how to prescribe the right skincare to someone.

“Aesop is about continuity and process and method and everything being the same,” one South Australian Aesop employee told me. “They want to be the best of what they can be and not follow everyone else’s trends. When you join the company you become part of a bigger thing and you should be as passionate and knowledgeable about the brand irrespective of your role.”

Lunch breaks

Perhaps the best secret we uncovered is Aesop’s strict policy that forbids any of its head office workers to eat lunch at their desks, meaning employees must take daily lunch breaks and step away from whatever is consuming their day, if even for ten minutes.

Even better, offices are stocked with fresh fruit, dark chocolate, nuts and dried fruit for when you need a snack, and restaurant quality coffee machines and coffee beans from local businesses for when you need a 3pm pick-me-up.

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The additional perks

Naturally, working for a skincare company is bound to have its perks, and at Aesop it’s no different. In addition to the three-day course offered to new staff, Aesop employees are also entitled to 12 free products every six months, as well as a year-round staff discount.

The laws of the land

In World Aesop, things are done differently. Talking about the weather, what people are wearing, or asking a customer of their weekend plans are strictly banned. Emails must be written to a strict format (beginning and ending with a pleasantry, actual business sandwiched in between) and personal items are banned from desks. Staff are to write only in Moleskin diaries (supplied, of course) and any Post-it notes must be housed within said diaries, away from public view. Takeaway coffees must be decanted into Aesop-approved cups, and all lunches brought into head office must be eaten from Aesop-approved plates and bowls, not the Tupperware in which they were carried.

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And if at this point you’re feeling slightly blown away by these rules, one current head office employee who has been with the company for close to five years says there is actually a method to the seemingly rigid madness.

“All of it is about creating an environment that people feel comfortable to work in, and one that is not distracting,” he told Mamamia. “This is not a personal space, it’s a work space, and we’re trying to promote a beautiful idea that flows through every aspect of the business – from the product packaging to the stores themselves, up to the way in which we work each day. It’s about aesthetic and thoughtfulness,” he said, adding, “and it really works.”

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