In Part 1 of my Selecting a Personal Stylist series, I discussed why I want to hire a stylist and introduced eight stylists that were kind enough to answer 14 questions during a phone interview with me. In this post, I’ll share their answers to the first three and then I’ll cover the rest in subsequent posts. Here we go…
#1 What inspired you to become a stylist?
Most of these answers were not terribly surprising. Here are a few quick statistics:
- 6 stylists said that their love for fashion started during childhood
- 4 said that at least one member of their family worked in the fashion or beauty industry
- 2 of those family members were seamstresses
- 2 stylists have had little formal training – most of their skill developed organically
- 1 of our stylists said that her current occupation sprang from a desire for self improvement
That last stat did surprise me a little, but I thought it was pretty cool (not to mention gutsy) and I could definitely relate since I’m on a big self improvement quest! That sentiment came from Natalie Weakly who said:
“I used to dress like a train wreck and had meltdowns in my closet – as an adult! So I studied style techniques, trained my eye, and developed my personal style. People started complimenting my taste (a first!) and then asked for help with theirs.”
Go, Girl! And who better to relate to someone who currently feels like a hot mess?
Jodi Skorupski noted
“Growing up my mother would sew for me and allow me to re-design the store bought patterns. She really taught me how your appearance and clothing can help you look and feel your authentic best.”
Talk a bout an encouraging mother – I can only imagine that was a very empowering experience for a young lady not to mention some great individual style.
Natalie King told me that she’s always had a special talent for creating a variety of unique outfits so that she never wore the same thing twice. That sounded pretty good for someone like me who wears the same outfit so often that it starts to feel like a uniform. I’m not kidding actually – people used to approach me in airports all the time asking for directions to their next flight (yes, they thought I was a flight attendant).
#2 What is your favorite part of your job as a stylist
For all eight stylists the answer was definitely more focused on their clients than themselves. They all loved having the opportunity to help someone else be it with self esteem or finding their style. Natalie King’s comment certainly reflected my perspective:
“Fashion can seem trivial, but it really makes a difference in people’s lives.”
Yael Trusch was all about helping her clients gain a sense of accomplishment:
“It’s that ‘a-hah’ moment when there is a light in their eyes because they have finally accomplished the look they wanted, but just didn’t know how to get there on their own.”
For Jamie Meyers Bisel, it was all about eliminating that dreaded I-have-nothing-to-wear feeling:
“When I can find a client 50 outfits in their own closet that are not just ok, but great!”
Wow – 50 outfits to choose from! Wouldn’t that be a great feeling to start your day?
Danna Sivan also really enjoys using her creativity:
“I enjoy working with color schemes and cuts that flow well with my clients current style. We aren’t reinventing the wheel – just giving it a good polish.”
That meant a lot to me. I once had a hair stylist who loved to show off his trendy cuts. But even though my hair was stylish and current, it didn’t flatter me at all. Having a personal stylist interested in what works with my taste sounds pretty compelling.
#3 What is your least favorite part of your job as a stylist?
This is one of my favorite questions to ask in any interview because it is so telling and I almost always get at least a few answers I’m not expecting. In this case, the most frequent answer (given by 3 stylists) was when clients are not receptive to trying something new. Yael Trusch remarked:
“Some times clients have a hard time letting go of preconceived notions which prevents them from trusting advice.”
Stephinia Hobbs agreed:
“It’s helpful if people are more open – a little more receptive or willing to try things.”
Ladies, as a change management consultant, I can relate! My advice to anyone hiring a stylist is not to hire them if you are not willing to listen to their recommendations – you’re certainly not getting bang for your buck! My advice to stylists in this scenario is to try to figure out what is holding your client back and address that fear (it’s always about fear). But, I digress.
Other answers included the return process (if remote shopping for a client), the closet organization part (one stylist reported being self conscious about sneezing in closets – good tip to prepare for), and feeling like they didn’t do their best work (even though the client was happy). The most unexpected answer was also kind of awesome. El Matha Wilder said:
“When a client feels they need to justify why they own something. I don’t need that information. I just want to help them find their best solution.”
Nice! We all love a judgement free advisor, especially when we are welcoming them into one of our most private spaces.
For more insights from my stylist interviews, check back in a few days or better yet, subscribe to my blog and you’ll get a notification. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about your thoughts and experiences with stylists in a comment.