Are you thinking about enrolling in an image consulting training course? You’re in the right place! Image Innovators SA’s owner, Kyla Blackwood-Murray is here to share more about the world of image and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about image consulting.
How did you get into image consulting?
I have always had a passion for people, fashion and style. My 20 years as a corporate flight attendant exposed me to diverse fashions and trends, increasing a need in me to nurture these desires.
I qualified as an image consultant in 2011 and have since been honing my craft and growing my skill. Knowledge is power, education and upskilling are key and passion is everything.
What is Image Innovators SA?
Image Innovators SA is the only AICI (Association of Image Consultants International) accredited training organisation in South Africa. We are supported by our international host, Image Innovators Australia. All our products, training modules and tools are internationally certified through the AICI. I am the CEO of the company and achieved my certification as an International Image Consultant – AICI CIC (Certified Image Consultant) earlier this year. I have the honour and privilege of working alongside two incredible woman and masters in their respective fields, Ronel Le Roux and Danica van der Veen.
What’s the difference between a wardrobe consultant, personal stylist and image consultant?
A wardrobe consultant is someone who assists their clients to curate a wardrobe based on their needs, body type and personal style. Their focus is on creating a closet full of clothing that their client can actually wear.
A personal stylist is an individual who works personally with clients to help them develop their unique style, taking into account their style, body shape, colouring, style personality and lifestyle. They assist their clients in creating their “unique brand”.
An image consultant works with people to identify, refine and enhance their appearance, behaviour, etiquette and communication, creating a credible and accurate identity for their client. By incorporating styling and colour assessments, wardrobe detoxing and personal shopping, they offer an umbrella of services that assist personal, business and corporate clients.
What are the different niches of image consulting?
The list of avenues that are open to image consultants to pursue is endless. As a qualified image consultant, you have the knowledge, qualification and the credibility to undertake various career paths, such as:
- Fashion Buyer
- Fashion Merchandiser
- Makeup Artist
- Public Relations
- Fashion Blogger
- Fashion Designer
- Wedding Planner
- Event Management
- Retail Fashion Store Owner
- Model/Talent Agent
- Celebrity Stylist
- Runway Stylist
- Television Stylist
What’s your opinion on the current SA market with regards to opportunities as an image consultant?
The realisation that an image consultant is no longer a luxury reserved for the upper echelon clientele has created many opportunities for image consultants to execute their services in the South African market. We help clients save money and time by choosing the correct garments for their body shape, dressing them in the correct colours, purchasing clothing that not only fits their lifestyle but also their unique style personality, thus giving all kinds of clients a wardrobe full of garments they can wear.
How can a newly qualified consultant build up credibility without a history of clients?
During the courses we offer at Image Innovators SA, we ensure that our students receive hands-on training consulting with actual clients, practical sessions where they are given the opportunity to practice their skills and post-course assignments which need to be completed before they are given their qualification certification. The key to credibility is confidence in your art, the tenacity to achieve, the passion to learn and the determination to never give up.
What advice do you have for image consultants wishing to book more clients?
Keep on keeping on. Practice, practice, practice. Always make sure you have a cheerleading team out there promoting you and your services. Seek the advice of a business coach. Surround yourself with like-minded people. Join a women’s group. Offer to guest speak at functions. Attend expos where you can showcase your services. Never give up.
With all the free advice available on the internet, how can an image consultant market to potential clients who may not immediately see the value in their services?
I think as humans we are so busy trying to sell the products we have rather than research what our clients actually want. The question we should be asking is what problems do they have and how can you help solve them. Everybody wants to find solutions, so research your target market’s difficulties and devise strategies to help them resolve their problem areas.
How do you become a paid speaker within the image consulting industry?
I think the fear of public speaking grips many newly qualified image consultants. Crossing this hurdle can be one of the biggest challenges they may face. My advice is to start off small – perhaps with a group of friends or colleagues. Build up your confidence and knowledge of your topic. Offer to guest speak at charity or non-profit organisation events. Offer to do mini-presentations at your local boutique stores. Join a woman’s breakfast club. The more you engage with people the more credible you will be and the greater the awareness of your abilities and strengths will be. Chances are you will soon be the speaker of choice for all upcoming events in your field.
Do you have any advice for people who are considering a career in image consulting?
If you have a love of beauty and fashion and want to enrich peoples lives, then this is the career for you. Make sure you train with a credible training school. Ensure you have done your research into the products and tools you will receive as part of your training, as these will aid you in growing your business. Give your self a timeframe to start building your clientele. Have some money put away that you can rely on whilst starting your business. Surround yourself with positive people and never, ever lose sight of your dream.
Want to learn more about the training Image Innovators SA offers? Click here.
Photography: Leigh Benson Photography