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Image Consulting: Making Others Look Good
Ever feel like the most fashionable person around you? Consider being an image consultant and turn your passion into a successful career while helping others put their best foot forward.
You feel like you're a square peg in a round hole at the office. You see yourself as a fashion icon or someone who knows the latest trends in clothing, make up and accessories and who dresses and acts in like manner. You have used your knowledge to help out your fashion-challenged friends and family members, turning them from dowdy ducks into graceful swans through the right clothes, the correct make-up and a few lessons in proper bearing, walk and projection.
However, you're working in an office where the majority dress as if they were stuck in the fifties.
You decide it's time to look for more suitable employment, perhaps in a company where the dress code is much more suited to your style. You can also be more adventurous by eschewing your boring office job for a career in image consulting.
The Up-and-Coming World of Image Consulting
There is a multitude of fashion- and image-challenged people and companies out there. "Power suits" may be in vogue, but most people do not even know what it means. Watching shows like Extreme Makeover, Project Runway or Queer Eye for the Straight Guy does not automatically make one a good dresser.
This is the reason why image consulting is fast becoming a major business in the country today. Image, in today's visually-conscious environment, is everything. Those who are out of step quickly find themselves left behind and unsure of how to catch up.
At the same time, people (and companies) realize that image isn't a matter of fashion or physical appearance alone. People form impressions on how someone looks and behaves, vocal communications (how a person speaks, his grammar, vocabulary, diction), non-verbal cues (handshakes, posture, eye contact), and etiquette - from how a person dines to how he handles a cell phone during meetings.
There are a lot of people who need help in crafting an image: women who want a new look, job-seekers who want to create a favorable first impression, corporate executives and their spouses, lawyers and their clients, cancer survivors, singles seeking a partner, and so on.
The field is wide open, and if you have the skills and abilities, you may just be in a position to establish your own image consulting business.
Skills, Abilities and First Steps
If you're someone with a strong visual sense and excellent communications skills plus a large dose of diplomacy and tact in your genetic make-up, you have the basic tools that you need.
Diplomacy and tact are a definite requirement. Bear in mind that you are only advising someone on what to wear, say or do. Most people resist change; you must be able to guide your clients onto the proper path without antagonizing them.
Fashion sense is of course important. You need to be able to advise your clients on what to wear, what not to wear, what make-up and accessories go with what for a wide range of occasions: corporate meetings, casual Fridays, dinner with the boss, conventions and the like.
Start small and gain experience as you go. Offer free makeovers to friends, family members and office mates. Learn how to deal with people and, at the same time, start making contacts - hair stylists, makeup artists, nutritionists and personal trainers, voice coaches and the like. Not only can they advise you on the current trends; you can refer clients to them for things that you are not capable of handling.
They can reciprocate the favor by referring people to you.
Bear in mind the need to establish your reputation and abilities. Take "before" and "after" shots of your initial clients (friends, family members, office mates) so you'll have an image consulting portfolio to show off to prospective clients who may soon become your paying clients.
Most importantly, bear in mind that your first client is yourself. You cannot become a credible image consultant unless you project that image yourself. Start with yourself, gain experience through friends and family, get your name and reputation out there and soon enough, you'll be run off your feet dealing with paying clients.
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