Features - A Day In The Life

Gayatri Desai

Gayatri Desai

Posted 01 February 2017

New York Programme

March 2010 Intake


Day in Life of...
Gayatri Desai is a graduate of Manchester Metropolitan University, who works as a Retail & Merchandising Project Manager in the Professional Products Division, working with salons, spas and Department Stores at L'Oreal, based in Hammersmith. Gayatri has a cross-functional role across all of the following brands: Kerastase, L'Oreal Professionnel, Redken, Shu Uemura, Pureology, Matrix, Essie, Decleor and Carita. Gayatri's sponsorship company was Panache Lingerie in New York, where she worked in Marketing, "[my experience at Panache] really helped me secure my job at L'Oreal as I did not have any other marketing experience".

How did you get into this line of business?
I studied Fashion Design at University and was always interested in going into Marketing during my degree. I undertook a year's industrial placement where I worked as a Junior Designer at Puma in Germany, and this is where I realised design was not my forte and decided to pursue a career in Marketing. My Mountbatten internship was at Panache Lingerie, where I worked in Marketing, this really helped me secure my job at L'Oreal as I did not have any other marketing experience. I started at L'Oreal when I returned from New York City in an entry level Marketing role and have worked my way up to a great position as Retail & Merchandising Manager.

Let's talk about a typical day. What time do you get up?
I hate early mornings and as L'Oreal is such a relaxed environment I usually wake up at 7.30am and head into the office for 9.30am. I also spend a few days a week out of the office, either visiting clients, department stores, salons, spas or on photoshoots. I also arrange Retail days out for my brand teams and have to make sure I know all the new Retail hotspots in the UK as well as internationally.

Describe a "typical" albeit interesting work day. What projects do you have on the go at present?
The reason I love my job is because no day is ever the same. I’ve been at L'Oreal for 5 years now and worked on a vast amount of projects. I have Project Managed London Fashion Week for 6 seasons and have to admit, it's the favourite part of my job. I am lucky enough to get backstage access and front of house tickets to some of the best fashion shows in the world. A highlight of mine would be working on the Gareth Pugh show at the V&A two years ago.
A typical day for me would be visiting a client to talk about how L'Oreal can help them create the perfect salon experience for their clients, from the clients journey, to refitting the salon and the retail experience. I project manage around 10 salon refits at a time and work closely with a designer to create the perfect salon experience. My job is super creative and rewarding as I work with small businesses to help them grow. We typically see a 20% increase in sales once the salon has been transformed.
One of my current projects is a B2B Tradeshow, Pro Hair Live, based in Manchester in February. I project manage the whole thing from stand build to marketing materials on the day, and I'm lucky enough to have an assistant who helps me on the day to day running of my projects, as I’d be lost without her.

How would you describe the culture of your place of work?
The culture at L'Oreal has really changed over the years. It is very fast-paced and reactive but also relaxed and fun. They offer a work smart policy which means I can work from anywhere I want, from a beach to the New York office - L'Oreal offer the flexibility to allow me to fit work in around my life. I usually work from home at least one day a week.

Where do you have your lunch?
I'm based in Hammersmith, the most unglamorous place in London I think, but it has lots of good lunch spots and L'Oreal has a great canteen. I usually grab a Pret or Leon.

What time do you normally leave your workplace at the end of the working day?
I leave work around 6pm, if it's a busy time of the year I would stay till around 7pm or 8pm but it all depends on workload.

Where's your favourite place to meet friends after work?
I love meeting friends in Shoreditch/Spitalfields area. I previously lived there for 5 years, and have lots of friends in the area, so it's a natural place for me to hang out.