Career as an image consultant

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Joanne Reed works as a ladies image consultant. She offers impartial advice to customers about the style and colours of outfits that they are considering buying.

What is your role as an image consultant?

Customers book an appointment with me for a variety of reasons. They may simply need help with general styling or choosing an outfit for a special event. For others it may be a major event in their lives, such as changing job, surgery or illness, having a baby, or weight loss or gain, which leads them to re-assess their wardrobe.

What does your career as an image consultant involve?

Each customer is given a 90-minute slot, and I usually spend the first five minutes discussing their needs, lifestyle and clothing preferences. Sometimes the customer accompanies me around our sales floor to select clothes from our ranges, although others prefer to relax with some refreshments whilst I do this.

Afterwards I assist with the trying on of the clothes, always aiming for a co-ordinated look to help build a wardrobe that works for them. Encouraging women to be adventurous and to mix garments from different designers and manufacturers, is all part of the process. Customers are under no obligation to buy anything, but if hey do decide to make a purchase I arrange this for them, avoiding possible queues.

How do you keep up to date with all the in-store fashions?

As soon as garments are delivered to the store you might find me in the delivery department looking at new ranges! I also spend a lot of time on the shop floor, so I know what is available.

What else do you do?

I usually see four customers a day, after which I prepare our suite ready for the next day. Responding to emails, writing up notes about the customers I have seen, and marketing and developing are all part of my job.

What hours do you work?

My job is part time and I work from 9.30am until 6pm, three days a week.

What skills and qualities do you need for a career as an image consultant?

Tact, discretion and maturity are all essential to deal with people from all walks of life. You need to enjoy working with people and have the ability to put them at their ease. Good communication and time management skills are needed. A well-groomed appearance is also important.

What made you choose your career as an image consultant?

Having joined John Lewis after leaving school and gaining experience in different management roles, this job offered me the opportunity to use all of my skills. I have always been interested in fashion and current trends.

Have the company provided any training?

When I started the job, the company provided a consultant for me to shadow. I am now involved in coaching other people in this role.

What do you enjoy about your career as an image consultant?

I love giving people confidence – this job is all about improving people's self-esteem.

Joanne's route to her career as an image consultant

  • A levels in geography, law, geology and economics.
  • Management trainee.
  • Fashion adviser.

Joanne's image consultant tips

  • Working as a fashion adviser is great if you want to make a difference to how people feel about themselves.
  • The work can be very pressurised and demanding.
  • Work experience can provide a useful insight into the job.

Image consultant related jobs

  • Make-up artist
  • Retail buyer
  • Sales assistant
  • Store owner/manager

Salary of an image consultant

  • Salaries can vary greatly.
  • The average starting salary is around £12,000.
  • This could rise to £18,000, with the most experienced earning in excess of £20,000.

Career as an image consultant

  • Academic qualifications are not always needed, although experience of fashion retail work is essential. Some companies provide on-the-job training.
  • Personal qualities and skills are very important, including the ability to relate to different types of customers. Maturity is also required.
  • A commercial awareness and knowledge of fashion are important.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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