Right from the beginning of my career in image consulting, I never got on as well with styling work as I did with colour analysis. I struggled for a long time to identify my own body shape and how to dress it to best effect, so it made me worry about how well I could support clients.
Colour analysis came naturally to me, but styling was always so hard. I’ve spent €€€€€ on different courses and certifications over the years, and none of them helped me as well as I hoped. So, today, I thought I’d share the top tips I’ve picked up over my 20 years in the industry to help you guard against making similar mistakes if you’re planning to improve your in-house consultations or your styling services online.
1) Learn how to analyse your client’s figures without taking measurements.
The belief that you can’t go online because you can’t take your client’s measurements holds so many stylists back. I ditched measurements years ago, even for in-person consultations, because they confused me. Many of my clients didn’t want to know their measurements anyway, so persisting with it sucked the joy out of the sessions. That’s not what we’re going for. You want your clients to have a fabulous experience with you!
Instead, I ask clients to send me good-quality photos before their consultation. I even send them examples of what I need from them. What you see in the photographs is sufficient to determine body shape, scale, face shape and any prominent features.
Remember that many of your clients will be self-conscious about providing photos for you. Make the process as simple and kind as possible. Encourage them gently to get the pictures you ask for so that you can make an accurate diagnosis. If you need to go back to them to request clearer photos, do so, but handle things sensitively. It’s all about getting the right balance.
2) Stop trying to fit everything into one consultation!
Style is a huge area! You’ve got colour, body shape and cut of clothes, style personality, makeup, accessories… My consultations used to run for four hours! I was exhausted, and my poor clients were too. And super-long sessions are just not practical when done online. The maximum you can really concentrate for online is around an hour, so your sessions shouldn’t be much longer than that.
Instead, simplify your process and break it all down, spreading the information over several shorter consultations. You don’t need to impart all your knowledge in one session! You’ll be able to charge more for multiple sessions, and your clients will retain more if you deliver it to them in bite-sized chunks.
You won’t feel as daunted about your styling sessions if you make them short and snappy, and you’ll find it a lot easier to market them too! Similarly, if your clients remember more of the advice you give, they’re much more likely to come back to you in future AND tell all their friends about you.
3) Simplify the process as much as possible and build a consultation you really enjoy
If you don’t enjoy delivering your style sessions, you won’t promote them!
Cumbersome processes which require loads of work to deliver will leave you feeling short-changed when you look at your financial return.
⬆ These were my exact experiences back in the early days of business.
After my initial training, I found a company offering templates you could use to create a style guide for your clients. The problem with that, however, was you had to pay separately for each one, and there was no way to personalise it without paying more to have your branding added to the document. I wanted much more flexibility to tailor the content of my style guides for each individual client, because none of us fit neatly into one body shape category!
Next, I used a tech programme that I put my clients’ measurements into, and the software would draw body shape diagrams for me to add into the style guides. Faffing with a tape measure and technology while trying to assess what I could see in-person whilst providing guidance, support, and giving the client a fabulous experience was an absolute nightmare! I hated my styling sessions and didn’t promote them for a long time.
Eventually, there was nothing for it but to design my own style guide. It was a HUGE piece of work that took me years to refine. I worked with an art student who produced the illustrations for me, and then a publishing expert formatted it into a book that my clients could keep.
The best bit about designing my own guide was I could keep the information practical and simple for my clients to understand. It made everything so much easier and worked well for my clients and for me. At last, I felt happy with my consultation process and didn’t shy away from marketing my styling sessions anymore!
When I shifted to purely online consultations when I moved to France, I altered the style guide’s format, and now my clients receive it as a pdf document. It works beautifully, and there was no need to reinvent the wheel.
If you’re struggling with a cumbersome styling process that is bringing you down, please know that it doesn’t have to be this way! It’s your business, and if you’re an independent consultant, you have the power to run your sessions any way you want, so why keep yourself restricted to a process that’s hard work and makes you miserable? Instead, create something you love and watch how much easier it’ll be to promote.
4) If you’re considering purchasing a style course to help you get online, do your research, and check what support is included because often there is none.
I often have calls with disappointed stylists who’ve spent lots of money on courses and quickly found they get no practical support in bringing the theory to life to help their clients.
Before investing, always check what support you get with the course. Is there a support group where the training provider will give you answers to any questions you might have, for instance? Can you bring along photos of your clients and get help if you get stuck?
It’s no good if the group is just made up of other stylists like you who are struggling!
Want to know more about how to take your styling services online TODAY…Check out my Unstoppable Style Program here.