If you love fashion and working with people, then you’ll be excited to learn that personal styling can be a viable career path. And if you thought it was a niche service only used by the stars, think again! From business executives and lawyers to salespeople and the regular office worker, more and more people are realising the important role that image plays in their professional and personal lives. This has lead to personal styling, also known as image consulting, becoming a fast-growing career opportunity locally and internationally.
Do you have the qualities necessary to become a personal stylist? Here are the seven traits you need to thrive in the image industry.
1 A love for shopping
A genuine interest in fashion and beauty is a given, but to be a successful image consultant you also need to love shopping and going to the mall – you will be spending a lot of time there! Yes, sometimes your feet may hurt after a particularly long day of store-hopping and standing in queues, but to a true fashion lover, what could be better than shopping for a living?
2 An entrepreneurial spirit
It’s not just about fashion, because at the end of the day you’re running your own business. As an entrepreneur you need to propel your company forward by developing strong marketing, social media and administrative skills.
3 Excellent people skills
A personal stylist needs to be able to understand and clearly communicate with a client, no matter their personality type. You’re often working with peoples’ vulnerabilities, so empathy and kindness are essential when guiding a client to their best outcome. Maintaining good relationships with clients is another important skill as they will often remain with you for life.
4 Willingness to be flexible
In the image consulting industry, things can happen at the drop of a hat and you need to be ready. Sometimes this means being adaptable to a client’s changing needs, like seeking styling advice for a last-minute event. Other times it means being equipped to take on unexpected opportunities that come your way, such as a company asking you to present an image workshop at late notice. Your kit should always be packed and you should always have a few presentations ready to go.
5 Be self-motivated
As with any entrepreneurial venture, a strong work ethic is essential to the success of your business. Important factors like marketing, building your client base, networking and seeking out new learning opportunities all have to be initiated by you. You need to be able to set your own goals and put in the work necessary to achieve them. Sometimes you may need to push yourself out of your comfort zone in order to progress your career.
6 A positive self-image
Do you feel secure in your own skin? Having a healthy self-image is key to leading a happy and confident life. The mandate of a personal stylist is to help others feel good about themselves and find their inner and outer beauty. You can’t do that if you don’t feel good about yourself.
7 A desire to help others reach their full potential
The most important characteristic of an image consultant is a passion for helping others become the best version of themselves. You should care deeply about each client and be able to style them, no matter their age, body shape, size, skin tone or lifestyle. Seeing the difference that the right colours, a great ensemble and a revamped wardrobe can have on a person’s confidence is definitely the most rewarding part of the job.
If you’re interested in a career as a personal stylist but don’t know where to start, don’t fret. There are many organisations, like Image Innovators SA, who offer both online and in-class courses that will train you to become a qualified image consultant and personal stylist. They’ll also provide you with the tools and support you need in order to build a business from the ground up.
Written by Kyla Blackwood-Murray