Written by Nicola Cupples, Founder of My Style Companion.
Here at My Style Companion we get asked an awful lot this question - What do you need to start up a stylist business? Starting up a business as a personal stylist can entail a different journey depending on who you are and what your experience, background and confidence levels are. In reality there are 2 main ways to start up a stylist business which are: -
1) experience as a personal stylist working for a shop / magazine.
2) training to become a personal stylist and start a stylist business.
3) come along to our 1 Day Personal Stylist Kickstart Day for just £325!!!
1) Experience: the first route to start up a stylist business.
If you have experience working as a personal stylist. fashion assistant or style advisor for a retailer such as working as a personal shopper in Selfridges, this is a really a fantastic starting point for you as you are already used to dealing with clients in a fashion retail environment and will feel quite comfortable in this role. However, this can sometimes mean that you become very focussed on selling stock to your client, rather than ensuring you are entirely 100% committed to helping them to achieve their style goals. It just comes with having sales targets drummed in to every day which you have to achieve in order to keep your managers happy.
You could also gain experience shadowing someone who does a similar role and then practising for free to build up your knowledge base and skill level to enable you to style anyone, anywhere, with whatever you have to hand. This route is very effective but obviously can take a long time and very often you will have to work for free.
This is definitely a great way to start out on your journey in starting a business as a personal stylist though because you do get used to how clothes sit on different body shapes so you learn on the job. The downside is that sometimes fashion retail wages are not the best and if you are currently working in a different career where you are earning a very good salary, this might not be the route you wish to take, as it is highly likely that you will have to start at the bottom of the ladder working as a sales assistant before even being considered as a candidate for a style advisor or personal shopper role in fashion retail.
2) Training to be a Personal Stylist: a quick and thorough way to start up a stylist business
The second route to starting up a stylist business is by using a training provider who providers courses in personal styling and shopping. This is usually a very thorough and quick way to start up your business, compared to years of working your way up in fashion retail or learning the ropes by experience alone.
Since starting My Style Companion Training Academy for women who want to start their own businesses as Personal Stylists, Image Consultants, Personal Shoppers and Style Advisors we have been surprised by the number of people who are willing to start their business in this area with no training OR experience (i.e. no expertise). Some women think that all you need to start a business as a Personal Stylist is an eye for style but if it was that easy surely every stylish woman would be doing it successfully.
The reality of this is that it is unrealistic and unreasonable to ask anyone to pay for your ‘expertise’ when you know as much as every other woman who shops on the high-street and reads Grazia. Most women understand and know which trends to look out for. Many women are good at helping friends to pick out new outfits; and a lot of women know how to dress with serious style and edge; but this does not mean that they can all run successful businesses as a Personal Stylist otherwise they would probably all be doing it! Just because you can cook a meal, it doesn’t mean that anyone would pay good money to come and eat in your restaurant – it’s the same deal with personal styling.
The key is to look for training courses to become a personal stylist that offer not only the skills and knowledge you will require in order to service clients through personal styling services but also, how and where to get clients in the first place; how to set up your business; how to manage it; how to define, develop and promote your brand; and the best methods to make a profit. Without all this information you could spend an awful lot of time (years in some cases that we have come across) without any true confidence in what you are doing and therefore, no clients. Very disheartening and also, ploughing a lot of money in to promoting a business that isn’t working or making any money.
3) Come along to our Start a business as a personal stylist kickstart day in Manchester on 9th January 2012!!! It’s a 1 day workshop course and only costs £325!!! You’ll leave with some new personal styling skills and a plan of how to start your own business so you can kickstart your new career in 2012!!!!