The Beauty of Words: In Conversation with Marisa del Valle

Four years before the launch of SCAD’s Business of Beauty and Fragrance major, 2014 Writing graduate Marisa del Valle landed a job at Kiehl’s. Del Valle, a SCAD alumni mentor, returned to Savannah to share her knowledge of marrying a writing degree with the world of beauty. An open book, Del Valle talked to students about everything from her writing strategies to her struggles moving to New York City.

The presentation detailed Del Valle’s road to Kiehl’s, Kiehl’s being an apothecary turned beauty brand founded in 1851. A key skill Del Valle learned early on was communicating her college experiences into relatable career skills on her resume. This included her five internships which consist of a variety of local companies like Savannah Magazine, WRHQ 105.3 and the SCAD Museum of Art.

While driving home after completing her last internship, Del Valle discovered a L’oreal representative visiting SCAD. Though she missed the presentation, she later got in contact for a job. However, Del Valle did not immediately say yes to the first position. Instead, she respectfully declined until she connected with a specific brand. She stressed an important lesson: always trust your gut and take the opportunities that feel like you. “They don’t want someone who will leave in 3 months,” Del Valle said. Proof she made the right decision, she’s been at Kiehl’s for four and a half years.

Del Valle is now a manager of global customer experience and education. She essentially writes material educating sales representatives about company products and how those products should be discussed with the customer. The beauty of her job, however, is the wide array of opportunities it offers. “We need to be more flexible when we work,” Del Valle stated. After putting aside her fears of being on camera, she was featured in various Kiehl’s videos. Saying yes to the project translated to her having a continuous role in the media division, ranging from being on set for how-to videos to writing social media copy.

Her flexibility is something she partially attributes to her education at SCAD. SCAD offers a creative perspective as opposed to a traditional business school. Art school gave Del Valle the ability to assist with everything from word placement on graphics to conducting press tours of the flagship Kiehl’s. Her background allows for a nice juxtaposition to that of others on her team. It allows them to go “back and forth between the old-school way and the new-school way,” Del Valle said.

In terms of education, Del Valle called her writing degree her “superpower,” for the simple fact that it allows her to do anything. On any given day you can find her listening to music whose tempo has the same flow of the words she will later put to paper. “I am someone who really labors on the words,” Del Valle said about her process, showing her attention to detail and passion for the art form. Her passion has led her to believe that artists are more intuitive than most, so “trust your gut as much as you can,” and hit the ground running.

Written by Hannah Harris

Photos by Daniela Guevara

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