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How to Start an Image Consulting Business – Complete Guide

Do you want to start an image consulting business? If yes, you are in the right place. Here is a detailed business plan guide to launch an image consulting company with costs, equipment, profits, and much more.

An individual having true passion and interest in helping others can initiate this business part-time from home. Image consulting is a self-rewarding and exciting career to start with. You will need to have an inner sense of style, fashion, and knowledge about the current trend.

Your client may be an individual or a corporation. The business of image consulting is highly paid. As per Glassdoor, the average salary of an image consultant in the United States is more than $45,000 per year.

What is an Image Consulting Business?

An image consulting business is a professional service that assists individuals in enhancing and refining their personal and professional image. Image consultants, often referred to as stylists or personal shoppers, provide expert advice on clothing, grooming, and overall presentation to help clients project a polished and confident image.

Some of the key services that an image consultant provides are as follows:

  • Personal Styling: Image consultants assess clients’ body types, preferences, and lifestyles to recommend clothing that complements their style. This can involve wardrobe assessments, closet organization, and personal shopping services.
  • Color Analysis: Consultants help clients determine the most flattering colors for their skin tone, considering factors such as complexion, hair color, and eye color. This ensures that clients make informed choices when selecting clothing and accessories.
  • Grooming and Appearance: Beyond clothing, image consultants offer advice on grooming and overall appearance. This may include hairstyling suggestions, makeup tips, and guidance on accessories to enhance the overall look.
  • Corporate Image Consulting: Some image consultants specialize in corporate or executive image consulting. They work with professionals to refine their business attire, executive presence, and overall image in the workplace.

Is Image Consulting Business Profitable?

As per this report, the Global Image Consulting Market size was valued at US$ 3.92 billion in 2023. It is expected to reach US$ 6.29 billion by 2030 and grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7% from 2023 to 2030. The main reasons for this expansion are the increase in disposable income and a growing interest in personal appearance and style.

However, the profitability of an image consulting business can be influenced by various factors including consumer demand, flexibility in service offerings, quality of service, etc.

Here are the 8 steps to follow to start a profitable image consulting business:

10-Step Image Consulting Business Plan

1. Skills Required For Image Consulting

You must have a passion for fashion and a keen eye for detail, as well as be up to date with the latest fashion trends and color schemes and be familiar with a huge range of fashion labels. An understanding of body and face shapes will also be a necessity.

You will need to have patience and not let your ego rule and be creative and able to think outside the box. One must be highly organized, self-motivated, honest, trustworthy, and presentable. Furthermore, you also need to have the ability to work to a schedule and have a sense of humor.

Before initiating an image consulting business you may avail of some training programs. These programs may cover certain aspects of fashion, such as colors and business wear, as well as areas such as nutrition and communication.

Many associations provide certifications and training to image consultants. Following are some of the trade associations:

  • The Image Consultants’ Society International (ICSI)
  • International Federation of Image Consultants (IFIC)
  • Association of Image Consultants International (AICI)

2. Services You Can Offer as an Image Consultant

Image Consultants can offer the kind of advice that can help people, land a job, get a promotion, find someone to love, or just feel good about themselves. Some of the services you can provide are as follows:

  • Image Makeover: Assist a client with a makeover, which could include color analysis, wardrobe detox, a new hairstyle, and makeup tips.
  • Communication & Etiquette Consultant: Advise people on their vocal communication (voice, grammar, vocabulary, etc.), non-verbal communication (handshakes, posture, eye contact, etc.), and etiquette – from dining to cell phones.
  • Personal Shopper: Personal shopping, including purchasing clothing and accessories on the client’s behalf.
  • Liaison Services: Making liaisons between the client and other professionals who can improve the client’s appearance, such as physical trainers, hairdressers, or dermatologists.
  • Marketing Consultant for Fashion Businesses: Working closely with fashion designers and selected boutiques to develop ensembles made specifically for the client.

Other image consulting careers you can consider are corporate trainer, fashion stylist, and brand strategist.

3. Understanding the Market for Image Consulting

Your potential clients can include individuals setting out on a new career, business executives trying to relate to their stockholders and customers, actors, and news personalities like politicians attempting to project a successful image.

Furthermore, your customers can be brides-to-be who are challenged in the wardrobe or social etiquette areas, and a host of others looking for expert advice on how they can physically and/or psychologically create an impact.

Your clients can also be corporations who may hire you to train the executives or employees or to give the company dress code a face-lift. It is advised to conduct extensive market research to understand the demand and trends of your existing market.

4. Create a Business Plan

It is essential to write a business plan for your image consulting business. For startups starting on a small scale, you may not need a lengthy business plan document. Some of the basic issues to be addressed in your plan are as follows:

  • Initial and recurring costs
  • Target customers
  • Pricing plan
  • Services you are going to offer
  • How you are planning to promote your image consulting services

5. Name your Business

Select a catchy and relatable name for your image consulting company. Also, do not forget to book a similar domain name for your website.

Learn More: How to Name Your Business

6. Licenses and Permits for Image Consulting Business

Register your image consulting business under which you are going to operate day-to-day operations. If you are from the United States, forming an LLC will help you in protecting your assets.

Talk to the local appropriate authority for the kind of licenses and permits you need to start an image consultancy business. If you want to provide makeup services to clients, some states will ask you to have a cosmetology license.

7. Fix Pricing

Develop a competitive pricing structure based on the complexity of your services, your expertise, and market rates. Consider offering package deals or subscription plans for ongoing consultations.

8. Equipment For Image Consulting

You can start image consulting by just having a mobile and a computer with an internet connection. As your business grows you can purchase mirrors, makeup, color swatches, and fashion books and magazines of your own.

You will also need to have a video camera and accessories to keep the views of your clients before and after having makeup.

9. Build Your Brand

You must develop a strong brand identity that reflects your style and the values of your image consulting business. This includes a memorable logo, color scheme, and cohesive branding across all platforms.

10. Promote Your Image Consulting Business

80% of building an image consulting business relies on how you market and promote yourself and only 20% is about the actual execution of consulting services.

A marketing plan will help you define who your target demographic is and what steps you will need to take to reach your target demographic. Concentrate on building brand identity through business cards, brochures, and a website.

In starting an image consulting business, building your credibility starts by developing a media kit. Press or media kits include many things such as professional photos, your biography, and press releases. Network with professionals and civic organizations. Introduce yourself to wedding consultants, caterers, and event planners, who can refer you to their clients. Conduct workshops and seminars for private and corporate clients.

Frequently Asked Questions

What services does an image consultant provide?

Image consultants offer a range of services, including personal styling, wardrobe assessments, color analysis, grooming consultations, and personal shopping. The goal is to help clients enhance their personal and professional image.

How do I determine my niche in image consulting?

Identify your passion and strengths within image consulting. Consider your target audience—whether it’s individuals seeking personal styling or professionals looking to enhance their executive presence. Your niche should align with your expertise and market demand.

Do I need formal education to become an image consultant?

While formal education is beneficial, it’s not mandatory. Many successful image consultants have a combination of formal training, certifications, and hands-on experience. Consider obtaining a certification in image consulting to enhance your credibility.

How long does a typical image consulting consultation take?

The duration of a consultation varies based on the services provided and the client’s needs. Personal styling sessions, wardrobe assessments, and color analysis may range from one to several hours. Tailor the consultation time to fit the scope of the service.

What should I include in my portfolio as an image consultant?

Your portfolio should showcase your expertise and successful client transformations. Include before-and-after photos, case studies, testimonials, and any relevant certifications. Highlight a variety of services to demonstrate your versatility.

Is it necessary to have a physical office for an image consulting business?

Not necessarily. Many image consultants operate successfully without a physical office. Virtual consultations and flexible meeting locations can be convenient for both you and your clients. Consider your target market and their preferences when deciding on a physical location.