8 Things to Consider When Hiring a Personal Stylist or Image Consultant

How do you choose the best stylist or image consultant for you? How do you know which one has the ability to help you achieve your desired image and confidence level? Read on to find out...

How do you choose the best stylist or image consultant for you? How do you know which one has the ability to help you achieve your desired image and confidence level? Read on to find out...

Wondering which personal stylist to work with? Too many choices? Choosing a personal stylist is not the easiest thing to do, nowadays, with the abundance of options out there. With the economy the way it is and high competitiveness within the job and dating markets, image consulting is becoming a mainstream, standard service no longer reserved for just the rich and famous.

If you're looking to hire a personal stylist and you've never worked with one before you may not be sure what you're looking for. Here are a few helpful tips for you to consider when hiring a personal stylist.

1. Make sure you work with a stylist or team that you like.

You will be spending hours with your stylist or team of consultants. Make sure you like them. You are allowing them into an intimate part of your life, so enjoying their company and trusting them will make the process much more enjoyable for you.

Image consulting and personal styling is a personal service. You'll want to find a personal stylist who understands your individual needs and desires and actually has the skills and talent to customize the service to your specific tastes and needs.

2. Choose a Pricing Model that best fits your needs.

Many styling companies charge set package prices and have a pre-determined number of hours per service. For example, some allocate 2 1/2 hours for your closet consultation and then a 4 or 8 hour shop and charge one set price for that. But what if your closet takes more than 2 1/2 hours? Or you need 6.5 hours for your shop?

We have clients with massive closets and then we have clients with 50 item wardrobes. Some clients have a short gaps list to complete their wardrobes and some have an extensive gaps list. Setting a standard time frame for a service that has such varying degrees of circumstances per client doesn't make sense.

Many style schools advise future stylists to use the set package pricing model. It benefits the stylist more than the client because if your style session is less than the allotted time, the stylist still gets paid for the full package.

Years ago we had experimented with set package prices only to discover that we had to keep modifying packages to meet each client's specific needs. We finally discovered that hourly pricing made more sense for every client's individual situation.

3. Choose your Stylist from a reliable source.

There are many image consultant options, nowadays. With all these options, make sure to choose your stylist wisely. Some styling companies have automated services that "match" you with a stylist using a computer algorithm. For a personal service, they de-personalize it with automation.

It's an ambitious endeavor for these businesses - to bring personal styling, and the polish and confidence that goes with it, to the masses. But like anything else, in order to bring it to the many, some of the intimate, personal touches that actually make styling successful, get swept to the wayside. It is the unfortunate consequence of companies trying to scale up quickly.

We have a number of clients who initially tried the automated personal styling route, only to hire us, after spending time and money and not getting much out of it. Those clients have said, hands down, they prefer the complete benefits of working with a trained, skilled, experienced professional on a personal level.

Using computer algorithms to match clients with personal stylists is still a method that needs improvement. They tend to only reveal and focus on one attribute of a person's style. But no person only has one style facet. Every person enjoys various aspects of their character and tastes. That's a skill only a real live person with experience can hone in on.

Here, at The Shopping Friend, we do it the old fashioned way. We vet every stylist who works for us. We don't work with beginners, hobbyists hoping to get in the industry, or inexperienced stylists. After a serious, comprehensive vetting process, we also get to know each of our stylists really well so we can better pair them with clients.

On the client's side of it, I always have an extended conversation. I find out what their style goals are. I find out what their style challenges are. I find out their psychological blocks. I find out their skill blocks. I get a clear idea of their personality and tastes. And then I match them to the best stylist for them.

There is no computer program, so far, that can match our combined 25 years of style experience and image know-how when it comes to assessing the entire scope of each individual client's image needs. Every Shopping Friend client benefits from at least two stylists assessing their situation to achieve their style goals and address their image issues. There is always a team assessing the needs of each client.

4. Don't be a fashion guinea pig

You would be surprised how many stylists launch their businesses as beginners and start styling clients with little to no experience. I give props to those ambitious and determined individuals but it doesn't usually benefit the client to work with someone who doesn't have the experience or education to establish a client's various image needs within different areas of their lifestyle.

If you're aware that you're working with a novice looking to build their expertise and they are offering discount rates or offering their services for free, that's great. If you are paying a premium price for an expert, make sure you are hiring a personal stylist with a good reputation and a lot of know-how.

5. Open-mindedness is more important than you know.

Working with a good personal stylist is like hiring any other kind of expert in your life.

You could always diagnose that scary looking mass yourself using Google or a medical encyclopedia, but most of us rely on the education and experience of a doctor.

Or, you could attempt do your own accounting and taxes for your business the way you balance your personal checkbook and personal taxes at home. But you're probably better off hiring a professional who understands all the tax laws and accounting complexities involved in running a business.

In the same vein, you could choose, purchase, and combine pieces with the style knowledge that you already possess, but your knowledge is most likely not as expansive or complete as a professional image consultant. A good stylist is trained and skilled in all aspects of dressing for different body types, shapes, sizes, personal tastes, and image goals.

You are hiring your personal stylist for their expertise and skills to improve your image. Be open to their ideas. You don't have to always wear everything they suggest, but they are suggesting things for a good reason. It's the same as you don't always have to take your doctor's advice, but their medical expertise allows them to give you the best advice possible.

Just remember, you looking good and feeling confident is proof that your stylist is good at their job. A good stylist wants as much proof walking around, referring them, as possible.

6. Know exactly why you are hiring your personal stylist.

There are basically two main reasons clients hire us. Letting your image consultant know which category you are in helps them know what to focus on for you.

1. You want a professional's style and fashion expertise to help redefine and refine your image and wardrobe to achieve certain image goals.

2. You already know exactly what you like but just don't have time to shop. You are hiring a personal stylist/shopper to purchase pieces for your wardrobe that you already know you love.

These are two vastly different objectives. Be sure you are clear on which one applies to you.

7. Does your stylist look good?

It is not necessary for your personal stylist to dress in the same style that you like. There are abundant looks, tastes, personalities in the world that come into play when choosing a style.

Your own personal tastes aside, what you should look for is whether your stylist looks great in her/his personal style. You may not want to wear what they are wearing but you can certainly tell if they look good or not in their chosen image. If they don't, you should question whether they'll be able to make you look good in your chosen style if they can't even look good in their chosen style.

8. Does your Styling company allow for flexibility and refunds?

Be wary of stylists or companies who are not direct and clear about offering refunds or money back once a style package is purchased.

We have clear communication, on our website and through email, that all unused hours are refundable anytime. If you've purchased a 15 hour style package with us and find that eight hours was sufficient to meet your image goals, we will gladly refund those unused 7 hours. If the service is just not for you and you realize this after the first 2 hours, we will happily refund those 13 hours back to you.

We do have some reasonable terms and conditions when clients have scheduled appointments and cancel or back out last minute. Those can be read in our terms and conditions.

Once you have considered all these factors and found the right stylist for you, happy styling!!

Are you ready to refresh your wardrobe, look put together, and feel confident with your outfits? We can help. Find out more about our personal styling sessions and how they can take your wardrobe to the next level.

Let's get started!

If you are not in Los Angeles, Denver, or Singapore, our consulting services are also offered via internet video conferencing or telephone.

The Shopping Friend is a team of image consultants, personal stylists, shoppers, and coaches dedicated to elevating and improving our customers' and clients' lifestyles and careers through image, wardrobe, communication, and etiquette tools.

The Shopping Friend is a team of image consultants, personal stylists, shoppers, and coaches dedicated to elevating and improving our customers' and clients' lifestyles and careers through image, communication, and etiquette tools.