You probably already have a natural flair and an instinctive good sense of style and fashion, but it is vital to understand and know the theory behind the visual as this enables you to explain why a garment works or doesn’t work.
It’s not just a case of being able to say, “Oh that’s fabulous darling!” It’s about being able to back that up with knowledge and facts. So yes, you could just watch TV, look at a couple of books or practice on friends but I think on a professional course you learn the whys and the explanations, so that you can understand why a particular garment works for that particular client and then explain it to them. A course is also an investment in you and your business’s future and gives you the confidence that you can help your client in the very best way.
Key questions to ask your Image Consultancy Training Provider
- Has your training programme been audited or certified by an outside body? I’m not saying that a course that hasn’t been certified is bad, but being certified will give you piece of mind that a third party has approved the course content.
- How flexible is the course? Can you take individual modules and build your knowledge over time or do you have to do the full foundation course at once? You may not want to or need to do all the modules; you may just want to do women’s style, colour analysis or make-up.
- Are there different training venues available or is there a home study option if you are unable to attend those venues because you live too far away and/or it is difficult for you to be away from home for days at a time?
- How many people are on the Face to Face Course? Are you going to be fighting for attention in a room of 10 or 12 trainees? Would you feel more comfortable training with 1 or 2 others so you can ask questions as and when you feel you want to?
- What equipment is included in the course fee? Do you have to buy drapes or make-up, for example, on top of the quoted training fee? There will be some extra costs associated with setting up and starting any new business, such as business cards, flyers, a basic website and networking fees. I would recommend buying a good mirror, but apart from that everything else should be included in the price.
- Does the course include any business planning or marketing advice? This is vital because if you want to trade as an Image Consultant, Personal Stylist or Personal Shopper you will need some knowledge of how to run and market your new venture and find clients.
- Is the training company offering you a franchise? Although in principal the concept of franchising is great for image consultancy, in practice I think it is difficult to police. As clients buy consultants rather than keeping within geographical areas, it can cause problems if you work with a client in your area and then she wants you to help her friend or mother who lives 50 miles in another consultant’s patch. Also you may not be given the freedom to try new ideas or add your image skills to the franchise’s existing template as you are tied into using their name and business practices.
- Do the ladies or men’s style modules include in-depth information on how to conduct a wardrobe sort or a personal shopping consultation? This a very lucrative and popular area of work and I’m finding lots of existing image consultants are coming to me for top-up training as these areas were not covered in any depth on their original courses.
- Does the course offer any sort of assessment or assignments during or after the training? This is really important for your confidence in your ability to do the job and also to ensure that you have understood the concepts that you’ve been taught. If you are training Face to Face this should be part of the training process and if you are studying at home there should be well structured and guided assessments provided at the end of each module.
- What support do you get from the training company before, during and after the training? You should at least receive email and telephone support, possibly some mentoring and the opportunity to link up with other trainees. You should also expect training and fashion updates along with a Newsletter.