Welcome to our new series of FIPI members chat!
Would you like to be featured on our blog and in the FIPI Newsletter? Get your business noticed and share your story with us! For February Emma Russell from Stylissimo has given us insight into her own journey into fashion and told us more about her business.
Emma is an accredited member of FIPI and is passionate about helping women to feel empowered through their clothes thus boosting their confidence and saving them money!
What’s your background before you started your business?
Prior to setting up Stylissimo I was an Account Manager in the Commercial Radio Industry. In short I sold the advertising space, be it the adverts in the ad break, sponsorships right through to large events. I worked with commercial clients and public sector clients in putting together a radio marketing campaign which achieved their marketing objectives. It was a role I truly loved and am still passionate about radio as a medium, it really can change and build businesses.My favourite projects that I put campaigns together for would be the launch of the Comic Relief T-shirt’s sold at TK Maxx, An Anti Truancy campaign in Greater Manchester which helped boost attendance in THE worst school in Manchester and finally the Free Radio Live Event which is a pop concert for 15,000 people which the last event I worked on was headlined by Ed Sheeran. No I didn’t get to meet him sadly.
Tell us a little about your business, what’s it called, how can people find you and when did you start?
My company is called Stylissimo, I started the business shortly after training with First Impressions in 2012. My website is www.stylissimo.co.uk or you can find me on pretty much every social media including facebook, twitter, Instagram and pinterest if you search stylissimouk!
What is your Unique Selling Point do you feel?
I teach ladies the rules and how to make them work for them and their wardrobe. I’m honest and try to work within their personal boundaries, gently pushing them to step out of their comfort zones without being too forceful.
What do you most love about your job?
I love being able to boost ladies confidence and self esteem, when I receive a customer review or some feedback which tells me how confident they are feeling or that others have noticed a change in them I feel a real sense of achievement.
What is your biggest challenge this year in your business?
Finding private clients is my greatest challenge. I have set out a marketing plan which includes the use of social media and blogging, I am also working hard to make connections and partnerships with relevant industries and businesses to help extend my reach with the aim to find potential clients.
What 3 tips would you give someone who is just starting out in the image industry?
- Conduct some research into your potential market size and forecast your potential earnings based on the results. I would say its important to truly understand where you are positioning your business and the size of the market you think will want to book your services.
- Once you’ve trained decide where your niche will be, what will you offer that’s different.
- Write a business plan, ensure you have a structure to your business and build your brand. Is your brand you? Or do you want to have a brand name and build your business around the brand name that could be potentially sold on in the future. Take Jo Malone candles for example, Jo sold the business and is now building another but with it she sold the rights to her own name. Be conscious that if you name your business after yourself, what happens if you decide to sell it?
For you, what makes image consultancy different from fashion styling?
Fashion styling is about how to wear the latest trends and creating a “look” based on those trends. Fashion styling is time sensitive and will change season to season. Image Consulting is teaching a lady how style can be eternal and how to celebrate individuality.
What part of your business do you find the biggest challenge and why?
Repeat business is my biggest long term challenge, my private clients will give me at least one referral if not more and some even book for one other service but after that its back to searching for new clients. I find that new clients take a long time to make that final decision to actually book, they will say “Oh I’m going to book for an analysis” but then when it comes to putting a date in the diary its hard to gain a commitment. I spent 15 years selling so I’m not afraid of closing a deal, but find it difficult to strike the right balance between gaining a commitment and selling too hard.
Why is it important to you to be part of the Federation?
I feel that being a part of FIPI gives my company a stamp of approval and reassures potential clients that I am working within a reputable industry. From a business point of view I appreciate being part of a network where we can share best practices and work together to be able to promote our industry further to gain more customers.