View Full Version : Advice needed

05-10-2004, 05:42 PM
Hi again...... I could really do with some advise.

I am thinking about setting up my own personal shopping bussiness ( i have been told by a advisor i shouldn't use the term fashion consultant !) anyway i have experience in this field and a couple of clients who are interested & i have no compertition
I have done a online survey & had some good & bad feedback....one persons feedback was she loved to shop & would rather spend the extra money on her outfit than pay a personal shopper.
I would love to hear your comments .
Maybe i'm wasting my time.....???


05-10-2004, 07:14 PM
Hi ya,

I done it.
I actually looked into this myself as i find it interesting, i love making a change for the better to peoples lives.
To make over someone from head to toe and for them to look hundred times better would be so satisifing to me, thats where my idea of a beauty salon comes from.... anyway...
Check out this site i found www.hayleybennett.com
Also instead of a fashion consultant another term would be "image consultant"!

Good luck

05-10-2004, 07:41 PM
Thanks Natasha,
I think i have looked at every image/style consultant site including the one you suggested.
So how come you never went ahead with the idea ?
I'm just worried that only people in London want such a service only mine will be more affordable.

05-10-2004, 08:49 PM
Well i'm planing on setting up my own beauty salon and image consulting will be included along with alot of other things, i like the idea of it, but i'm not trained in that area so i'd have to get training or get someone in to do the job for me.

What area are you in?

05-10-2004, 08:58 PM
Hi -

I think its a really good idea, I would love to use a personal shopper (or whatever you call yourself - and I would say that is entirely up to you). I suppose the thing is letting people know how much it costs and how it works. For example, there is only one that I have come across in York (my home town) but I would never use her - why?... because I have no idea how much it costs and would be really embarrased by asking for her assistance, finding out how much it costs and then saying oh... sorry... can't afford it - but then I have no concept of what it might cost - it might be cheaper than I imagine. Anyway my point is that you need to really advertise yourself. Could you offer a one off freebie to gain interest and confidence that your service is worth paying for? It does sort of carry the impression that it is only for the 'rich' people. If you can get over that I think you would be onto a winner.

Perhaps you could join forces with a beauty salon - offer the service as part of a 'make-over' package or something? The whole change of image thing is really taking off and so I think your idea will catch on.

Emma (Whitecat)

06-10-2004, 10:51 AM
Hi pinky,

I think the idea has legs.
What area are you in as I think this is important. If you are in a big city with lots of 4/5 star hotels you might want to target their customers who will be either business people or tourists - both of which want to make the most of their time. Maybe give your service the spin of you knowing the best places to shop, shops that will have their style etc.


06-10-2004, 11:06 AM
Very interesting idea. You say you have no competition. How do you support this assumption?

06-10-2004, 11:52 AM
My sister was a fashion stylist and worked for various media and fashion companies for shoots and film/video work here and abroad before getting into publishing.

She looked into doing this a while back (before the whole trinny and sue thing took off), but even with a roster of well known names on her books, she couldnt persuade non-professionals to pay for her services. Or certainly not pay enough to make it worth her while. Average punter in the street doesnt have huge sums to spend on a shopping trip. If they can only stretch to a couple of hundred quid and your consultation is going to cost 50, thats 25% reduction in what they can purchase a tough hurdle to overcome.

I would be interested to see how you could give people confidence in your ability you would need to show examples of people you have worked with. These would need to be impressive examples. If you can do this, then why bother doing it for a lower cost for person in the street, why not stick to being a pro stylist with big names who will pay more...

Its a very interesting idea, my main query is how do you convince someone of your ability if they are going to hand over hard cash?


06-10-2004, 12:00 PM
I agree with James, but thats why it would be good to offer a whole package and team up with a hair dressers or pref a beauty salon, then people will be more likely to spend alot on a whole package, great for birthdays and pressies too.

06-10-2004, 01:19 PM
Thank you everyone for your comments......I think i'm really going to have to re-think my idea .

I looked into Image consultants in my city and could only find one who mainly worked with big companies.

I tried several times after i graduated to get into Fashion Styling & there is a lot of competition.

Thank you all

06-10-2004, 02:32 PM
If you feel you can do it and make a sucess of it and your willing to work hard then go for it.
There's always going to be competition but you've got to find out what can set you apart ie ability to travel to your clients or extra services and then market those!!

If its really what you want to do you've got to take the risk :D

06-10-2004, 02:51 PM
I have to say,I agree with the points James raised,in particular his point in ref. to avg. punter. Unless you are loaded and can afford the services of a personal shopper in Harvey Nicks (who already provide them as an in-house service) ,I don't think ordinary punters would consider spending that type of money.They may well just spend 9.99 on Trinny & Susannah's book instead (!)

Having said that though ,perhaps if you marketed / tailored your services in a different way or targeted a specific group of individuals who actually MIGHT want / (or could be persuaded that they need) to spend that kind of money,I think you could have more success.Not only that;it may well be the case that the huge success of T&S image transformations has opened up peoples' minds to the possibility of using such a service,so you would be in effect piggybacking on what they have done.

The reason I mention this is that - (I'm ill today;have got grotty flu so am working at home half hanging off the sofa whilst trying to finalise an excel spreadsheet ) I watched 'This Morning' today and they interviewed trinny and susanna about their new series which starts tonight.The difference with the new series is that instead of just getting any old person to be transformed,they are now targeting individuals who have (and this is where it gets interesting for you,I think ......) REACHED A SPECIFIC POINT IN THEIR LIFE WHERE THEY NEED AND WANT A CHANGE.

* new mothers (post baby flab;feeling frumpy;at odds with new
life role)
*menopausal women (kids flown nest;marriage perhaps broken
up;realisation of impending onset of age;at
odds with new role in life)

Although these women may well fall into the ordinary punter category (ie,not loaded) ,I do think they could be persuaded to part with money in this instance as they are at a crossroads in life and may well want a change,but don't know the direction they should take.
Moreover,a price of 50 would not be considered a cost which would bite into what they have to spend in the shops;rather as a/ a longer term investment and b/ as a treat.

How would you do this?
Young Mums
*cf suggestions as to how to reach new mothers : msg 1/09/04
eg,new mother Bounty packs,ads in nurseries etc
If you think about it ,there are enough products out there for pregnant mums - the subliminal msg being that they ought to pamper and treat themselves;that they are just as important as the baby (eg,ranges of exotic sounding body creams,aromatherapy treats etc) ,so why not extend the idea after they have given birth,especially at a time when a lot of attention is on the baby ?

Look at the runaway success of biz's like Red Letter Days and how they have realised that people are bored with buying conventional gifts and that we'd all rather have 'experiences' instead . A gift voucher for a day out with an image consultant would be an interesting and thoughtful gift for a new mum (instead of chocolates/magazines etc). On this point,Topshop already offer this service in their main Oxford Store - although that of course is targeted more at people who fall into their usual young-focused shopping range (13 - 30 ?)
Your service could be purchased both by the mother and also by others for a new mother,as a gift.

Older Women
Bit more difficult to identify and target...you'd have to think on that.

In both instances,you could make your overall service package more attractive to potential customers by offering them (free )ongoing access to discounts/offers at other image related / life transforming services in their locale (eg,hair & beauty salons,gyms ; the benefit to these biz's being the prospect of increased volume). For clients who have purchased your service,you could provide an ongoing monthly email 1 or max 2 page PDF newsletter listing these discounts/offers as well as sale dates (always very popular when listed in national newspapers ) & locations as well as some useful style tips contributed in part by the biz's advertising with you.
This could be written in the format of the Sunday Times style mag - nothing heavy;all soundbites;helpful hints and could vary according to seasonal trends.Eg,an October issue may highlight autumn catwalk trend of tweed ,but you would also add your own personal interpretation/perspective along the lines of ' this material less suitable for pear shaped sizes;material better cut on the bias " etc etc etc.
By using this ongoing form of communication you may well open up the possibility of them using your services again in future - ie,you could offer seasonal specific image consulting - eg,how to shop for summer clothes etc.Once you've opened up the lines of communication,you can keep open the possibility of a return visit,so to speak (*after all;that has to be the downside to this kind of biz - I mean,once you've had your image transformed,there's the assumption that's it's a finite solution in itself....)

As for the competiton....the only 2 services offered I can think of at present are those targeting high end/high spend or those which seem archaic to the modern fascination with image (remember 'Colour me Beautiful' back in the 80s ;they used swatches of coloured fabric to work out which colours you suited)


06-10-2004, 03:22 PM
Wow thank-you Ken ,

I too watched t&s on This Morning (give image consultants a bad rep- though i do love them & will be watching the show).

I was a personal shopper at well known store but felt so limited and a few clients suggested i should set up on my own - though i'm not sure those clients would be willing to pay for my service.

I had considered the new mum market & there are other markets i want to look into .

It is still early stages and i have more ideas about the service i could offer.

Really hope you are feeling better - keep away from day time tv !!

06-10-2004, 05:48 PM
Pinky - I really like this idea also.

It would be great if you could find a way of making it less of a luxury in terms of cost.

You've worked as a personal shopper in a store. I don't know where. But I know that on Oxford Street some of the department stores offer a free personal shopper. This is obviously limited to their store only - but it is free.

However, as a potential customer to something like this :) I feel quite intimidated to go to one of these - maybe thats just me.

You really have to work on getting the costs down and change the image of the "fashion consultant" so that it becomes someone that most people could go to at anytime.... (if that makes sense)

Good luck

06-10-2004, 06:12 PM
I know what you mean about feeling intimidated.....I had clients all the time tell me that they felt they didn't have the right look to be shopping in a certain store - i really want this to change.
I'm not sure how much i will be charging yet - i know some London shoppers can charge 100 an hr .
I just don't know how to market myself at the market i want - i guess just the average high st shopper who really does need advice......I'd like too see myself as a shopping friend full of fashion advice .

06-10-2004, 06:44 PM
That actually might be the right way to market yourself

Your very own shopping friend....

I was reading an article in a very interesting newsletter (www.springwise.co.uk) about how trends are moving.

It was basically to do with how many businesses take luxuries (which is what everyone wants to have but can't afford) and making them available for the majority of people cost effectively.

Take for example limousines - to ride in one was serious luxury - but now they are much more afordable and you see them quite regularly in London. So these companies have come along and made the whole experience much more affordable and because it was once a luxury that is what people will go for .... does that make sense? :)

So if you take the luxury of having an image consultant - and make it much more affordable and a kind of 'almost' day-to-day business - you are going to have a big hit. IMO anyway.

Maybe think about a different way of charging instead of per hour ...

07-10-2004, 09:27 AM
I think you're right about the rise and rise of *affordable luxury* - after all;only 5,10 yrs ago a visit to a health spa would have been the sole prerogative of someone rich,famous or royalty...yet now you'll find *spa* products in the toiletries aisle of your local,erm,Asda......


Personally (in my humble opinion )I would be wary though of getting too stuck on defining yourself solely as a *shopping friend* ,as friendship infers a non-paying,mutually helpful set of obligations and you most certainly want to get paid for the service you provide. Going on my experience in paid employment,there is a lot of truth in the saying 'familiarity breeds contempt' and I do think that sometmes, if you are toooooo obliging for people and blur the lines inappropriately between prof. paying service and non-paying friendship,you end up losing that person's respect and it makes it all the more harder to assert your right to get paid for the work you have done . You have to be seen as professional and get paid accordingly.....otherwise you'll end up being walked over by people who want your time but aren't prepared to pay the full whack. I certainly wouldn't pay my best bud for shopping advice !
Maybe a pint,tops .......!