Mallory Sills is a Chicago-based personal stylist and Fashion Styling tutor at QC Makeup Academy. Today, Mallory gives insightful advice to those working with shy clients for the first time!
Working as a personal stylist can be an incredibly rewarding career. Of course, finding fashion clients to work with is a huge part of the job. One of the most common misconceptions aspiring stylists make is assuming clients will flock to them the minute they open for business. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that easy! The truth is, it takes work to attract clients and build your brand as a fashion stylist!
While it does take hard work, that isn’t meant to scare you. You’re more than capable of finding good clients and growing your fashion styling business. To help get you started, we’re going to establish some effective ways to begin growing your business!
Who’s your ideal fashion styling client?
When you’re getting started as a personal stylist, it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to help anyone and everyone. While it’s great to have diverse styling skills and knowledge, when we market ourselves that way, it can be overwhelming for both potential clients AND us.
It’s crucial that you spend some time developing a clear idea about who your ideal client or niche is. When you have a focused client group in mind, you’ll find it much easier to know who you’re targeting when you write your website copy, post on social media, and meet people in person. Don’t fear! Just because you’re targeting a specific client type doesn’t mean other people won’t want to work with you! In fact, the opposite is likely to happen.
Additionally, this will help you determine where and how you should be marketing your services. For example, if your ideal client is a professional business woman, you’ll want to spend the majority of your marketing efforts where these women are hanging out (business events, LinkedIn, etc.)!
Make your styling business visible
This can be a tricky one for many stylists to wrap their head around in the beginning (I was the same!). The truth is, in order to find new clients, you HAVE to be visible. If people don’t know that you’re there, they won’t know how to find you!
Keep in mind that your clients are hiring you! So they want to know you (or feel like they do) before hiring you. This means showing off your personality on social media and your website, in addition to actually showing up to different events. The point is – you want to be seen!
Establish yourself as an expert in the fashion industry
Fashion is a HUGE industry. With so much content available on the internet, it’s crucial that you begin establishing yourself as an expert in the field. You can do this countless ways. It may take a little trial and error to find out what you feel most confident doing. But once you find a way that best suits you business needs, stick to it!
For example, if you love posting on social media, you may begin sharing styling tips or behind-the-scenes photos. Don’t just say you’re an expert—show potential clients you’re the expert!
Attend networking events for personal stylists
Yes, actually GO to networking events! This goes back to being visible. We often think of visibility in regards to the internet, but you should also be visible within your professional community. One of the best ways to do that is to begin attending in person networking events.
Networking events are one of the best ways to meet other business professionals. They be potential clients themselves or have connections to potential clients. The type of networking events you attend will be based on who your ideal client is (see how that circled back?).
With social media and online forums, it’s easier than you think to find networking events to attend! Start showing up to as many as you can. As you begin attending different events, you’ll begin to notice the interest groups you enjoy the most. That, right there, is where you’ll want to focus your energy on moving forward.
Build professional relationships
Whether you meet someone online or in-person, building a professional relationship is where you’ll really grow your connections as a stylist.
After meeting someone you connect with, ask them out to coffee and/or connect with them on social media. Stay connected and follow up! The more you connect with them, the more your relationship with them will grow. Think about it, if you met someone once and never heard from them again, you probably forgot what they did and what they’re like. When people know, like, and trust us, they’re much more likely to refer their connections to us. In wanting to help us grow our businesses, they become some of our best marketers.
Finding fashion clients can take time. So stay patient and focused. Try different marketing techniques, look to other stylists for best practices, and most importantly, don’t give up!