Lisa Riley: More than make-up

Lisa RileyLisa Riley never planned to sell cosmetics. She was a sales associate in the children’s department at Belk in The Mall at Shelter Cove when a manager requested (or, more accurately, instructed) that she move to the Clinique counter. Riley admits to not liking the job at first — she had never worn make-up — but she soon realized there was more to the job than helping women choose between matte and glossy lipstick. “I realized that I was making people happy,” she says. “I wasn’t just selling make-up. I was listening to women, hearing their stories and helping them feel secure and beautiful.”

Riley says she realized she had a gift for pairing people with products when a mom and daughter approached her looking for a single item and ended up leaving completely made-over. And those are just two of more than a thousand clients — including some from as far away as California, Virginia and Michigan — who now ask for Riley by name.

“(She) really pays attention to what suits your style, complexion and age to create a classy and elegant look,” says Gioia DiBartolomeo, an 18-yearold senior at Hilton Head Island High School. Hilton Head elementary teacher Michele Quigley agrees. “I only shop when she’s there,” she says. “Her advice is invaluable.”

Riley says that some of her most rewarding moments come from helping women who are struggling with their self-image because of breast cancer treatments, recent breakups or simply bad advice.

“The women who come here are already beautiful,” she says. “I tell them, ‘I’m only enhancing what you brought.’”