I LOVE hearing from women who are thinking about starting a business as a fashion or image consultant.
The industry and the opportunities have changed a lot since I started my career. People may wonder if this personal service is necessary with so many people shopping online for clothes. I think it’s needed more than ever.
What do women need?
Women need to understand their style. With that knowledge all other activities will be so much easier to perform. Closet editing and shopping are now possible with the road map that comes from identifying someone’s personal style. They can’t get that from someone working for a Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Chico’s, or J.Jill. They need you, someone they can trust.
If they’re doing online shopping they want your help from the start by sitting next to them at the computer, helping them select their purchases. Your promise is to come back when the packages have arrived and help her make final decisions.
People with closets full of clothes already are really in need of your services. More and more clients are wanting to purge their wardrobes. They’re changing jobs or retiring or downsizing and they realize they have way too much stuff. Your objective and educated opinions will make this so much easier for them.
The public is more familiar with the word stylist. They hear about stylists who help celebrities. Sometimes People magazine gives a page to the work of stylists. But we know that styling is not just for celebrities!
Real people need styling from you but not in a one event/one outfit kind of way. They need to understand the “what” and the “how” of clothes so they have a unique wardrobe that will help them navigate through life gracefully. The wardrobe that’s in synch with their lifestyle, brings out their personality, and helps tell their stories will do that. You’re the one to help.
What do you need to be a successful professional?
If you’ve been wondering if you have what it takes to be a consultant who starts working with a client and keeps that client throughout her life, you might be fascinated to realize that a lot of what makes you a good stylist are people skills. Here’s what I know about successful fashion and wardrobe consultants.
- Successful consultants are good listeners. They can “hear” the pain or discomfort a client is expressing regarding clothes, image, and fashion. They can articulate the problems back to the client with no judgment. The client feels heard. Do you know what an incredible gift that is give someone?
- Successful consultants get themselves out of the way and focus on their client’s needs. They aren’t interested in making mini-versions of themselves. They want the client to feel comfortable in her own skin and they strive to help her achieve that.
- Successful consultants are great at seeing what’s in the client’s blind spot. With skill, they are able to gently guide the client to “see it through my eyes” in order to break up habits that are getting in the way.
- Successful consultants take their businesses seriously. They treat it as a profession and not a hobby. Because of that they always strive to create the best customer service.
- Successful consultants are constantly learning. They read, take classes, and seek out new resources. They aren’t mistaken for a good friend who knows how to put clothes together. They stand out as knowledgeable professionals.
I dare say, it’s people skills that produce great businesses. Fashion always changes and you’ll need to be aware of those changes but people are people. They want to be heard, respected, and feel great in their own skin. It’s a very tender thing to work so closely with women and their self-image.
If all this fascinates you and you’re wondering what those skills look like during a client appointment, I invite you to check out Style Squared, my online training which goes through every step of the first style appointment with a client. You’ll learn (and see in the video) all the ways I listen, respect, and help the client feel great in her skin. When that first appointment goes well, you’re very likely to have that client for life.
And if you’re reading this and thinking that you’ve been interested in being a successful stylist or wardrobe consultant, give yourself a pat on the back for already possessing some of these characteristics. Training can be intimidating but you may already be halfway there with your transferable skills!
I often get asked if this is a good time to get into this business. My answer is a resounding YES!