Makeup trends may come and go; but icons go the distance.
Wellington women (and some men) have loved iconic beauty store Mecca Cosmetica since it set up shop in the city 10 years ago. As of today, the brand starts a new chapter, right here in the Capital: Mecca Brands is opening the first combined Mecca Cosmetica x Mecca Maxima store, simply called MECCA on Lambton Quay.
Wellington and South Island Regional Sales Manager Amelia Barton has been at MECCA for seven of those 10 years, and at 28 has been exposed to the inner workings of the company and the local beauty industry.
“The thing I love most about working at MECCA is the company culture! It’s a place where you can truly have a career. MECCA hires based on values first and foremost rather than skill set, because you can always teach skills,” Amelia explains.
While this Wellington local had a short stint living in Auckland and has also traveled the world(some of it with MECCA), she knows she’ll always call Wellington home.
When Amelia left school to study photography, she had no clue she would continue into the beauty world, despite a high school job at a local pharmacy. However, fate had other things in mind.
“At university, I had to do makeup for other people during my course, and I found I was enjoying that more!” Amelia explains. “I didn’t want to study again when I left university because photography taught me that you learn more in the field than you can in a classroom. So I took a role at Mecca Cosmetica and I’ve never looked back.”
While her hands may be full with day-to-day business, working at MECCA is more than just a job for Amelia. “We’re like a family at MECCA and I love working with like-minded people,” she says. She also is a super-fan of a huge number of the brands MECCA stocks, from Diptyque to Hourglass.
So what does an expert recommend for a Wellington blogger like me? *full-disclosure, we’ve been friends since we were 14 so I basically love everything she puts in front of me!*
Q: Describe the new MECCA store to me!
A: “An ultra-glam beauty wonderland! I am so excited for Cosmetica brands to come back to the Wellington market, and for brands like Diptyque and Chantecaille to return,” Amelia enthuses. “They will be met with the big blockbuster makeup brands like Too Faced and Urban Decay, so you’ll have all the candles, plus Mecca Trove brands (which is a collection of niche, luxury brands from around the world) and newcomer Smashbox. I’m really thrilled for Wellingtonians to see it because it is the first ever store in New Zealand like this!”
Q: What would you recommend for Wellington women to have in their makeup capsule collection?
A: “Anything from Hourglass. If you don’t have Hourglass in your makeup wardrobe, what are you doing?” Amelia says jokingly. She says the ‘Dim Light’ powder is one of MECCA’s most popular. “It’s a go-to powder,” she continues, although explaining that for her pale skin ‘Luminous Light’ is her favourite.
Mecca Cosmetica’s Lip De Luscious is an old favourite that has recently been brought out in a stick form - SPF and a bit of a tint make the perfect mix.
“I love NARS Orgasm Blush – it’s universal and looks good on everyone,” says Amelia. “In terms of lipsticks, a bold shade like ‘Dragon Girl’ from NARS is perfect, or for more of a neutral look I like NARS 'Dolce Vita’.
I’m also obsessed with the Chantecaille Lip Chics - ‘Tea Rose’ is a great choice and I wore ‘Amour’ on my wedding day. They’re not too glossy, not overly matte and very hydrating. By-Terry’s ‘Ombre Blackstar’ is the perfect product for a day-to-night quick smoky eye.”
Q: What do Wellington women go for, makeup-wise?
A: Wellington women prefer a more natural complexion when it comes to makeup. There are other subtle distinctions you might not notice unless you were in the makeup industry. For instance, Most women avoid a gloss because of the wind and we prefer a matte lipstick or a satin finish, something that is long lasting. I don’t think we have a particular look because we are open to experimenting with colour and looks. Many years ago, NARS released ‘Rated R’ which was a very dramatic green and blue eyeshadow and I was so surprised that people in Wellington embraced such a fun and experimental look.”
Q: What non-makeup item do you love from Mecca?
Q: Your best beauty memory?
A: Amelia was awarded something called the Jo Horgan Award, a values nominated award, which is given to people who go above and beyond at MECCA. It is an all-expenses paid trip around the world to New York, London, LA and Paris and is named after the company’s founder, Jo.
“One of my favourite memories was the day we spent with Diptyque. We started the day at their first boutique store on 34 Boulevard St Germaine in Paris. We were taken upstairs to visit their attic which was filled with textiles and trinkets they have collected over the years. They spoilt us with a collection of products to take home! We were then taken to a traditional Parisian cafe where I tried escargots (snails!). Afterwards, we were taken around the city to visit unique concept stores and finished up at their head office. Later, we did a wine tasting with the Diptyque team to learn about the scent notes in fragrance and linked these back to the tasting notes. Dinner was in front of the Eiffel Tower. Another Highlight was getting my makeup done by Hourglass at Venice Beach when we went to LA!”
Q: Your favourite skincare memory?
A: “Meeting Dr Dennis Gross and his wife at their clinic on 5th Avenue. I felt like one of the Real Housewives of New York City! *laughs* They were such a humble couple and Carrie even took us to Barney’s for lunch!”
Q: What is the one product you’d save in a fire?
A: “I’ve always loved a Rose Quartz roller. If I was starting my whole regime again, it would be the one thing I would save if I lost everything. Rose Quartz opens your heart chakra and has healing properties. I could sit and roll my face in what would be a VERY stressful situation!”
Q: What should I take for my European adventure?
A: Mecca Cosmetica Sunscreen is high of Amelia’s ‘must-have’ list - with SPF 50. A fake tan by James Reed is also essential for a European summer. “You also need one of our Lip De Luscious lip balms and a lovely spritzer, like one from Eve Lom,” says Amelia. “It smells divine and it is also good for when you get too hot. I also love sheet masks because they hydrate you immediately and you can set you up for the rest of your trip.”
Q: Finally, what will tame my mane!?
A: Amelia knows my hair well, having seen it over many bushy years. “Your hair is very particular,” she laughs. Amelia recommends Bumble and Bumble Anti-Humidifying Gel-Oil to smooth frizz and hold my wave in place.
Now that’s a beauty expert I KNOW I can trust.
Shot by Amelia Barton at the Double Tree Hilton Wellington.