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Rob Robillard, Vice President of Buying for Beauty, has been with QVC for two months, and yet his new office is right next to the biggest boss at the company, President and Chief Executive Officer Mike George. “I say hello to him every morning!” But it made the newbie wonder. “I felt like—did they put me next to the principal? Maybe it was the only office available?” Undeniably, it’s prime real estate. “I’m in the epicenter of the action. I like being able to hear what’s going on.”
Rob has spent 20 years in the beauty business, 10 of them with L’Oreal. “I am the beauty guy.” But it begs the question, can a dude do beauty? “I have to study extra hard. But after 20 years of listening and learning I have a good feeling about what will work for women. It’s not about me. I’m able to make it all about her. I listen a ton.”
He also uses the products. Most of it goes on his arm—lipstick, eyeshadow, foundation. But mascara, that goes on his eyelashes. “I try everything. The vendors crack up.”
On this day, his desk is littered with brown shipping boxes. Would-be QVC vendors send him a lot of packages. He opens one to find hair-thickening kits. There’s a note inside: “So excited to share our products with you.” One of the kits is for men, but Rob’s much more interested in the women’s kit. “I’ll take it home and use it. QVC customers love thickening products.”
Rob knows hair products. He’s the former CEO of Living Proof, and at one time he was the QVC on-air guest for the brand. “It was part of why people here were excited about me as a job candidate for this role. I appreciate and love the way QVC does business.”
So which products does the head beauty buyer believe in? In addition to Living Proof, he’s a fan of Kate Somerville, particularly her ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment (A10712). He also likes and is currently sporting Josie Maran 4-oz Protect & Perfect Moisturizer SPF 47 (A264374). “I only use a mineral sunscreen. Sometimes they go on white. This one has a slight tint to offset that white.” Rob’s rule: “If you exfoliate, hydrate, and use an SPF, your skin will look amazing.”
This year, Rob has his eye on our new favorites. “The hottest trend in skin care are DIY masks and exfoliators. I also love all the personalization efforts out there.”
In his spare time, you can find Rob practicing his favorite hobby—dressage. To the untrained eye it looks like horse dancing. But to an expert, it’s horse and rider working together to perform a series of intricate motions. “The goal is to teach horse and rider to be centered for balance. Then you and the horse can do pretty movements.”
Rob says he’s always loved horses, but his parents couldn’t afford to indulge his passion when he was a kid. He started to learn just a few years ago. In exchange for lessons and knowledge, he spent his weekends cleaning the barn of a horse breeder. Then he trained Monument, his now ten-year-old Morgan horse with her help. Together they’ve won a box full of horse-show ribbons.
Learning his new job has been a top priority for Rob, but soon he hopes to be riding four or five times a week. Even if he’s not riding as much as he likes, he’s grateful for the opportunity at QVC. “Getting this job, I feel like I’ve won the lottery. How many people would die to have my job? I’m just so fortunate it worked out. And it’s so fun.”