You may spend your days surrounded by beautiful clothes and famous faces, but as a personal stylist, your job is much less glamorous. You’ll spend most of your working hours at an office desk or in a dressing room, organizing and managing client files, booking appointments and keeping track of invoices. The opportunities for personal expression are limited: you are what you organize. Yet this unglamorous work can open doors to a lucrative career as a personal stylist.
An increasing number of people want to become personal stylists for their careers or business. But the niche is saturated with novices who fail to understand why anyone would pay them for advice about what to wear – let alone pay so much that it’s practically a second job. The road to success is littered with the carcasses of fledgling businesses that didn’t have the fortitude to see past first-year challenges. Here are some tips on how you can make more money as a personal stylist.
Grow Your Network and Find Clients
Every personal stylist was once a client. Now that you have experience from both sides, you can offer valuable insights that can help you grow your network and find clients more quickly. You’ll have an advantage over those who have never been a client because you understand what it’s like to be privileged enough to have the time and money to hire someone to help you with your wardrobe, but not have the insight on how to choose the right clothes.
What kind of network will best serve you will depend on your specific situation. If you live in a major metropolitan area with a high population of fashion-savvy people, you can probably find clients quickly by posting ads on sites like Craigslist, offering free consultations and hosting pop-up shops where you dress people in the street. If you live in a smaller city or rural area, you might want to start by consulting with friends and family who might be interested in hiring you.
Partner with Brands
While a network of friends, family and former clients will offer you the most opportunities for work, partnering with brands will help you grow your business faster and open doors to more clients. By developing relationships with brands that hire personal stylists such as RE.STATEMENT, you can quickly expand your client base and build a name for yourself. If you’re new to the industry, one simple way to start is by showing brands that you are serious about the work you do and that you’re knowledgeable about the industry.
You can do this by joining and actively participating in online forums and groups related to fashion, as well as following brands on social media and engaging with them whenever possible. By doing this, you will not only show brands that you genuinely care about the industry, but you will also get to know other people in the business and find out about partnership opportunities. You can find brands to partner with by searching for hashtags related to the fashion industry on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. You can also search for fashion and lifestyle blogs related to your niche and contact them to see if they have any partnerships available.
While you should always be polite and open to new opportunities, you also need to be selective about who you work with. Your reputation is the single most important thing in your business. If a client recommends you to their friends, the first thing they talk about is the quality of your work. If they talk about how you treated them, you’re sunk.
Don’t work with anyone who won’t treat you well or whose values you don’t agree with. A bad client can ruin your reputation, no matter how well you do the job. A word of caution: don’t assume that every potential client is a bad client. You can’t know for sure until you’ve worked with them. If a potential client is rude or disrespectful during your initial consultation, but you can see they are likely to be an excellent client, learn to put up with their occasional rudeness. The potential rewards are worth the occasional inconvenience.
Take Care of Your Reputation
As part of taking care of your reputation, make sure that your website and social media pages are up to date and error-free. Make sure that your website is easy to find and has enough information to convince potential clients that you’re the right stylist for them. Make sure that it loads quickly and is visually appealing. It’s also a good idea to purchase a domain name that is your name, followed by something like “the personal stylist” or “personal stylist.”
Your social media pages are just as important as your website. Make sure that your Instagram account is public and that your posts are relevant to your niche. You can use your Instagram account to advertise your business and products, but make sure that every post is relevant to your niche so that you don’t get banned for violating Instagram’s terms of service.
Ask for Referrals and Repeat Clients
Once you’ve had a few clients, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. Successful clients are likely to have friends who need a personal stylist. You don’t want to feel entitled to a referral, but if a client is satisfied with your work, ask them if they know anyone else who could use your services.
Asking for referrals has two benefits: it gets your name out there and it also allows you to cherry-pick the best clients. Repeat clients are crucial to a personal stylist’s success. They are the best way to build a reliable source of income that allows you to plan your schedule and put money away for retirement. The challenge is to get them. Repeat clients are the result of good work and good communication. Make sure that you follow up with your clients after every appointment to ask them how they like the clothes and if they have any suggestions on how to improve your services.
Increase Your Rates
The best way to increase your rates is to become so good at your job that clients are willing to pay more for your services, but you can also try to give yourself a raise. You can do this by increasing the frequency of your appointments per client. If you’re currently scheduling appointments every six weeks and your client likes the results, try moving it up to every three weeks or two weeks. This will allow you to charge more for less work.
You can also charge for add-on services. If you typically send your clients photos and outfit ideas and offer to send them the clothes they should wear from their favorite stores, tack on a small fee for this service. You can also offer to host shopping trips for clients who live in other cities or countries.
Develop a Comprehensive Wardrobe
The more work experience you have as a personal stylist, the more you’ll be able to charge for your services. But at the beginning, you’re going to be competing against people who have been in the business for years and have built up a large network of clients and partnerships. The best way to compete with these seasoned professionals is to have a comprehensive wardrobe of clothes at your disposal.
When you first start working as a personal stylist, you won’t have the resources to buy a huge wardrobe unless you partner with brands. You might have to start by buying a few pieces here and there to complete outfits for clients. But the more work experience you have, the more clients you’ll have and the more money you’ll be able to charge. As you become better at your job and more confident in your recommendations, clients will become more comfortable with you buying more clothes for them and you’ll be able to build up a great wardrobe.
Develop a Niche for Yourself
Finally, once you’ve established yourself as a successful personal stylist, you can start to develop a niche for yourself. This will allow you to focus on what’s important to you in your career and give you an edge over other, less specialized stylists. You can focus on a specific subset of clients, like businesspeople, celebrities or teenagers. You can focus on a particular type of clothing like workplace fashion or athleisure or on a specific style of clothing like preppy, edgy or feminine.
Whatever niche you choose, you’ll need to find ways to market yourself and stand out from your competition. You can do this by attending industry conferences and networking with other fashion professionals, creating an online presence on social media, creating your own blog or podcast, and publishing articles and books on the topic you choose to focus on.