Introduction: An Image Consultant can mean different things to different people. Sometimes a consultant will go by a different title, for example, fashion consultant or beauty consultant. If you do that it focuses possible clients toward a specific service. If you want to offer more or at least have that option in the future, you probably want to stay with the career title Image Consultant. However, that does not mean you cannot declare a niche in just fashion or makeup and hair, color analysis, women, men, weddings or corporations. The list is very long.
If you focus on wardrobes you will want to understand basic wardrobe needs, how to put together a classic look with various cuts and styles and where to purchase these. There are some consulting places that have sprung up around the country that purchase basic wardrobe pieces and keep them in various sizes for their clients. You can offer services where you go through a wardrobe and delete things that don't work for your client, helping her to rebuild with more functional pieces. This can even be done using the computer. You can teach classes in fashion basics, grooming, and hygiene.
Another niche might be one as a beauty consultant. You would offer color analysis, special products for skin care, do make up for special occasions, and even consult about hair styles and color. You might be a beautician or have an expert on hand. You could offer accessories and products that work well and have less chemicals. Using more natural beauty products is becoming very popular. You might do group rates and classes for those who want to learn the secrets of putting on makeup successfully.
There are Image Consultants who focus only on men. This means you must know about men's clothing the fabrics used in suits and casual wear, places that sell what you need, men's skin and hair products and hair styles. It would be wise to know, for any traveler, what packs well and how to get around with fewer clothes to carry. Offering small travel size clothes steamers for wrinkles and other travel products would give you an edge. Men need to know about styles, when to wear what and understand how to build that wardrobe.
Corporations are one of the largest clients for Image Consultants. They look at their bottom line and know that if their executives, sales people and consultants look professional and know how to continue to look professional, simply because it increases that bottom line. Sometimes they reach out for individuals who need a bit of help to round out the image, other times they want to offer a refresher course to clients who are required to know dinner etiquette, who travel to other cultures, and who need to be reminded that they represent the company. If you live in a large city this would certainly be a huge client base to think about.
One other, side line of Image Consulting is teaching etiquette, manners, professional conduct in all settings, as well as body language. This can be a niche that serves clients of any age. Many parents wish they had such a place to sign their child up for a class on etiquette. Often graduates, or those who are going on interviews need someone to assist them with their behaviors and habits.
A. Fashion is what most Image Consultants have in mind when they first examine this career. Helping a person go through their wardrobe and get rid of clothes that don't work, are out of fashion or inappropriate for their age or job is a big task but a service that is very popular. People are either too overwhelmed with other things in their lives, they really have no clue about fashion, or the just hate the process. Whatever the reason, there is a need for this service from an Image Consultant. You have to know what you are doing. You have to be able to look at the person and know what their shape is, what cuts and styles, colors and fabrics would improve the image. You have to learn how to reuse some of what they have and how to work within their budget. You need to be able to find what will work for them at the right price and that means knowing every store collection and what they offer. When you take a client shopping, which often happens, you have to be ready with the right clothes in the right fit, right color and size. It doesn't matter if you are working with a man or a woman. Knowing how to make a person of any size look good is your challenge.
Accessories go with fashion. The initial interview is a time you will find out if the client likes jewelry, has any allergies to certain metals, prefers certain stones or brands. It is important to understand how a woman likes to move throughout her day with a purse a briefcase or both. Knowing where to purchase quality briefcases and bags that will last is important. The skill to put a basic wardrobe for a man or a woman is a skill you must have.
B. Beauty is mostly associated with makeup, hair, nails, skin care and facial features. It can also include movement, behaviors, etiquette, manners, grooming and hygiene. If you decide to focus in this area, there will never be a short supply of clients. The pursuit of the right hair style and makeup is an ongoing chase for most women and for many men. The need to know manners and proper etiquette is also an art that can come in handy for many people. Grooming and hygiene is a topic that is difficult to broach and requires a consultant who can be direct yet firm when a client needs guidance in this area. Sometimes it is as simple as knowing what tools to use, getting the right mirror to see blemishes well and learning about products available. This is a great service that can be provided for youth of all ages, especially those whose bodies are changing from children to teens.
For those who need to understand how their behaviors, movements, and words affect their image, it is easily shown to them in video that you can film. Set up scenarios for eating, talking, meeting a new person and let the outcome speak for itself. Showing people how simple changes in behavior can create a major impact is an amazing moment. This client will never forget you and will be the first to recommend you.
For new college graduates, getting some training on professional behaviors is a tremendous confidence booster and might just propel them into a great job. If there are several young adults with the same qualifications who are new to the world of work, the person whose behaviors are polished will have an edge over the others.
C. Developing a specialty niche is always a fun and interesting venture. There are corporate image consultants, wedding consultants, and consultants who work with presenters or speakers to help them with their whole look, their speech, and their body language. There is a market for each of these as well as for models, politicians, people in a transition in their lives, life coaching and media personalities.
You have to decide if you have specific talents and skills that lend themselves toward one area or become a generalist. Whatever you decide to do, you will need top skills in working closely with people, saying things in a nonjudgmental manner and guiding people toward their own likes and dislikes yet in a way that they will look smart and stylish. You will be required to leave your opinions behind and deliver an expert critique of the fashion, not the body. A key advantage to becoming an Image Consultant is you will love what you do. You will be using your talents and skills and making others happy. With the right training and experience, a positive attitude and a willingness to learn what you don't know, you can go far in this career.
You might consider starting out in a specialty niche or two. Be observant in your area and you may find a niche that has not been discussed. Some Image Consultants prefer to work with individuals while others would rather go the teacher or presenter route and work with groups. Some have gone on to write books, teach at training centers or start their own training schools. Others have built their business around a high quality skin care product line. Some actually work full time for the corporations and do whatever they need for their employees from life coaching to presentation skills, to behavioral modification.
Summary: The career of an Image Consultant can mean so many things and can evolve for each individual into a path that fits their own skills, expertise, talents, and interests. The longer you spend in the business the broader your expertise will become and you might find yourself down a road you never even considered in the beginning. An Image Consultant may not be a good fit for every area, but can learn and increase her abilities. Some may use their website for posting their own videos for instruction and even write books to sell. Others may excel at speaking and presenting to large audiences.
In this career you can travel, set up business anywhere, and even work from home. It is versatile and exciting because it offers so many variations. Most consultants are outgoing, friendly and like being around people. That is a good trait if it is buffered with being a good listener and observer. If a consultant grows the business and adds employees it will take your management skills to a different level. Being willing to learn new things and open to change will serve you well.
Being organized and punctual is a must. When working with people who are struggling with an image issue, you have to remember that they are probably under stress and on a time schedule all their own. Using the time you have with a client wisely, will make return customers. Basically, it is all about respect of each person as an individual who has his own ideas about color, style, cut, fashion, and comfort. You have to be able to sell each person on how to find those in new ways. There is a line to walk. On one side you want to please your customer and on the other side you need to make sure that you do your job well.
At this point, take your notebook and review the information given in this lesson on finding your niche. Make a list of areas you want to work, areas you don't want to work in and think about how you want your business to look. Think about your name, logo and slogan. You will have to decide if you will attend classes in that area or learn on your own. You can learn on your own if you are motivated, diligent, and focused. Set your goals and follow through with them.