Congrats to The Style Alchemist and Graduates

We have been hearing wonderful things about the amazing work Lynne, Hannah and her team have been doing with The Style Alchemist.


Last year they ran a one year “Mastery in Professional Image and Personal Development Diploma”. Students who signed up wanted to be inspired to grow their unique businesses significantly. The course included: Advanced Men’s Image and Style, Personal Branding, Coaching Development, Presentation Excellence, Women in Leadership and the aim was to get like minded people supporting each other in a diversity of interests at an advanced level. Sarah Brummitt who spoke at FIPI’s Spring Seminar about branding was also involved in delivering this course. Congratulations to Amanda Allan, Sue Bell, Elena Daniilidou, Julia Holbrook, Anne Matterface, Jan Morton and
Elizabeth Parsons. So, what did the students have to say?

Headlines for me were the value gained from being able to connect with other image professionals and the concepts introduced that forced different ways of ‘being’, in the image industry.The open discussions & workshop type formats really allowed us (the students) to connect with each other and give and receive valuable contributions. Each of us were coming at our businesses from such different perspectives and these were not only refreshing but enlightening showing that there is so much diversity and areas of specialism within the industry.” Julia Holbook.

“This is one of a kind course which I highly recommend. One that will take you back to basics and will transform you to a confident professional. Lynne and Hanna have put their heart and soul in the creation of this program, they are very knowledgeable and motivational.They encourage class discussions which I found very helpful. Enthusiastic and always available for advice. The fact that they offered one to one coaching sessions was an amazing opportunity for me to set my professional goals and design an achievable action plan”. Elena Daniilidou


Diploma’s were presented by FIPI’s President Geraldine Wijsbeek who had this to say *Presenting the Diploma’s to the Style Alchemists graduates on their professional Leadership Diploma course, was a great honor for me. To meet these remarkable ladies who I believe, will make their marks on the Image Industry, was very inspiring. I was impressed with the diversity of area’s each of them was progressing in, which made me realize all the opportunities that can be out there for Image Professionals”

Read more about this course here and find all the contact details you need to register for 2017.

Have you got your ticket?


Only 7 week’s to go and we would love to meet you all at our 2016 Conference in London on Saturday September 24th from 10am – 4.30pm at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations – Society Building, 8 All Saints Street, London, N19RL! There is so much happening on the day! We are excited and delighted to be welcoming some great guest speakers from the world of fashion and business.

We want this to be a day to inspire you and your business and for you to get to mingle with likeminded members and non members who dream the dreams you do and work hard to make them a reality everyday.


What can you expect?

10.00 – 10.30am Registration

10.30 – 11.30am FIPI’s 27th Annual General Meeting (for members only)

11.30 – 11.45am The Sustainable Fashion Workshop with Dairy Schubert from The Wardrobe Workshop. Daisy will be discussing why and how we should educate our clients to look for more sustainable fashion options?

12.30pm – 1.30pm Lunch

1.30pm – 2.30pm Discussion with Jan Morton owner at The Style Architect on ‘Fabric and their Characteristics’. Jan will be discussing the items below and will finish with a short workshop:

  1. Characteristics of different fabrics.
  2. Why certain fabrics are used for certain things.
  3. Organic fabrics.

2.30pm – 2.50pm Coffee Break

2.50pm – 3.20pm Why understanding your cashflow means understanding your business with Julie Cobbe from Stylefish. It can be hard to prioritise our cashflow management and hard to even know where to begin when you start and run your business. Julie will demystify it for you, show you a really simple method you can use and help you to create clear goals and simple management methods for your business that actually make cashflow fun and stress free!

3.20pm – 3.50pm A guide to getting your business seen by more people online with web expert and owner of Winters Web, Dan Winters. The new way to get seen online is called ‘Reputation Management’. Dan will talk us through the following:

  1. Why You Need to Monitor Your Reputation.
  2. Where to Monitor Your Reputation (search monitoring,reviews, comments, social media etc).
  3. How to Handle a Negative Situation.
  4. The transparency risk.
  5. Famous cases of reputation management failure in the digital era.
  6. Cases of successful reputation management.
  7. Online Reputation Management Dos and Don’ts.

3.50pm – 4.30pm Open and fun Discussion with the headline ‘The best and worst thing we have done for our business.’

4.30pm Close & Networking

We really hope you can join us! Our Conference is open to members and non members. It is a super way for those interested to learn more about the industry and about FIPI to come along and meeting other like minded people and it is a chance for us all to get together and inspire each other in our businesses!

Get your ticket here.

Tickets are £65 for members and £85 for non members. Ticket includes lunch, a goodie bag and will count towards your FIPI CPD. 

We will be using the #fipivoices2016 and #fipigroup as part of this year’s Conference. Join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter!

See you on September 24th!

‘Brexit’ and the fallout for fashion

Well, there is no avoiding the result. Brexit has well and truly happened.


If the EU referendum stats are on point, it is estimated that more than 75% of young people, and 50% of those 24-45 who braved the downpours of rain on the day to vote crossed the ‘Remain’ box on the ballot with a larger proportion of the 45+ age profile voting to leave.

It is striking and unfortunate that the victorious camp managed to win largely using the rhetoric of fear over hope, with many of the realities of those fears finally (a little too late) becoming clearer. That fear has made it undoubtedly more difficult for the public (especially those who voted to Remain) to see hope, stability and unity for Britain and it’s relationship with Europe. However, it is important to see that there will be many opportunities that will come from Brexit. As a country this is what we must strive for and believe in now. Since the vote, discussion, debate and better rounded views from a kaleidoscope of industries, people and professions have laid out their arguments and hope for a new Britain. One that fights it’s own battles and paddles it’s own canoe.

It is worth noting the fashion industry as a whole did remain relatively quiet during the whole debate. The British Fashion Council (a week before voting day) conducted a survey. It revealed that 90% of British Fashion Designers were voting to stay in the EU. Needless to say, the vast majority were left reeling after the vote. In 2014, the British fashion industry contributed more than £26billion to the economy and is one of the UK’s most important export industries.

With the devaluation of the pound, most fashion design businesses that outsource their production and source fabrics abroad will now face soaring costs that will inevitably be passed on to the consumer. What’s more Britain is a hotbed of International talent, fuelled by some of the best fashion design schools in the world. Our EU borderless educational system allowed the likes of Mary Katrantzou (Greek) and Marta Marques (Portuguese) to study and start businesses in the UK. The future, although it may not be as bad as we fear, is uncertain and all leading economic opinion will confirm that business does not like uncertainty.

Finally, it is important as an industry we face up to the future, look positively ahead at the opportunities Brexit WILL create.

We have collected some of our favourite clippings that we think are worth reading from a fashion industry perspective:

Financial Times


The Telegraph

Onwards and upwards to a new hopefully inclusive, forward looking and prosperous Britain as we now navigate Brexit in all our businesses.

Julie x

Celebrating FIPI Fellows

A career in the style and image industry we know, is a rewarding one. However, it takes courage, hard work and focus to start and grow a successful business. This month, we want to celebrate a lady who has contributed greatly not only to FIPI but to the image industry in general. Meet Sally Hanley.

Here is Sally’s story in her own words…

004An interest in image for me started at age 16 when I was found drawing into a self made and bound brochure of my latest creations… tops, trousers, skirts, dresses and ball gowns, all designed and embellished. I wanted to be a fashion designer or model.

My problem was I couldn’t draw especially well, and didn’t have the figure to be a size zero model. My Mum bought me my very first fashion book, which I still have. It’s called “Fashion as a Career” by Janey Ironside.




My main career took me in a completely different direction and I spent over 20 years as a hospitality and catering manager for a large power station, and in the territorial army.

When opportunity offered me voluntary redundancy, here was my chance to become involved with image for real. I decided to train with First Impressions who were then in Cambridge, whilst still at work. My course colleague was Myriam Hoffman in Geneva who I am still in contact with 23 years later. Following training I had no shortage of people from work to practice my image skills with, especially men!

Some years later, First Impressions who were in Milton Keynes by then were looking for their company image consultants to assist them with new consultant training. To demonstrate the quality and commitment of our training we were all asked to enter for the newly formed, and acclaimed Joint FIPI and City and Guilds of London Institute Masters Award. This is a photo of us being presented with a bouquet of flowers for our successful completion.

From left to right: Elaine Fraser (deceased), Liz Prest, Julia Campion, Sally Hanley, Rosemary Raynbird –


(note the colours of our clothes and the colours of our bouquets – such attention (to detail).

In my career as an image consultant I became involved with City of York Council Adult Education courses in Image, Harrogate and Ripon Colleges, Grantley Hall Training Centre -North Yorkshire, Client presentations with companies such as Liverpool Council, BT Telecoms-Leeds, Reckitt-Benckiser-Hull, SSL International-Manchester, Forward Ladies-Leeds, Dollond & Aitchison-numerous sites, Leeds University, and many others. Mostly focusing on private clients with some corporates also.

I first trained as an Assessor for the FIPI Masters Award in 2000 and later became Director of Accreditation on the FIPI Executive Board in 2011 to 2015.

In the years since I trained, much has changed within the image industry. Mostly to do with the extensive use of social media and information technology. The digital age allowed us to offer alternative training formats. Distance and Online learning methods have become extremely popular allowing candidates to learn at their own time and speed, and to spread the costs. This has allowed much more flexibility and choice for people. Rather than needing to spend two intensive weeks to achieve full image training, the options are far greater allowing consultants to bolt on extra skills as their businesses evolve and the directions in which their preferred areas of image consulting takes them.

The diverse variety of roles which image consultants can choose to offer their clients are expanding all the time. Whilst I have been in business we have also become life coaches, style gurus, counsellors in come cases, good listeners, personal shopping advisers, begun collaborative working with other consultants and many other skills.

My advice to new image consultants? Be prepared to continually evolve as their business changes and the in ways the image market is leading. My biggest piece of advice for new consultants is to remain dedicated to the industry they love and gain appropriate recognition for their expertise.

Sadly there are still people amongst the general public and in business who seem as if they do not truly appreciate the value of the work we do and I believe that the need for much more extensive awareness is still necessary in the public domain. Speakers in Fashion degree Universities and awareness sessions in Colleges & Schools are a great move forward, starting at an earlier stage in their future careers.

The FIPI Masters Award is still as relevant today as it was when it began in 1988/9, perhaps even more so. People want and need guidelines on getting the best value for their money and being able to be completely confident that the information and advice they are given are attributable to an extremely well trained and experienced consultant. The value of this knowledge before choosing a preferred consultant cannot be underestimated.

I whole heartedly wish all image consultants the very best in their future successes.

From left: Sally with Lyn Bromley, First Impressions –


Sally x




The Power of Yellow

This great article was shared this month by FIPI Member and Vice President Elisabeth Kaempffer and Image Consultant Nanette Popken.

Yellow – A difficult colour?


Yellow is the number one colour for Summer 2016. But yellow is also one of the more difficult colours to wear, even a little scary! In most wardrobes yellow is neglected or even completely absent, because it is difficult to buy the right colour yellow. In addition there is usually is not much choice when it comes to yellow in stores. 2011, was the last time yellow was a fashion colour so now, as image professionals we are very pleased it is back!

Whether you like it or not, this season you’ll no doubt be tempted to buy something yellow. Of course, you can limit yourself to a pair of shoes or a bag, but there is quite a lot of choice in clothing as well, which will help the process.

The shades of yellow are countless: lemon yellow, sunflower yellow, ocher yellow, golden yellow, vanilla yellow, buttercup yellow (Buttercup is one of the Pantone trend colours). Thus there is a yellow for everyone.


Dutch image consultant Nanette Popken saw so much yellow in the stores, that she decided to offer a special ‘yellow analysis’ to her clients. She bought a range of yellow fabrics and made drapes. During an Inspiration Day at a hotel Nanette and her colleague Angela showed her clients what shades of yellow were good on them and what yellow clothes they could leave for others! This was a huge success and both Nanette and Angela who now offer yellow analysis to their clients on an ongoing basis. They even made a short video with a sneak preview of the analysis for their website.

Yellow can easily be combined with a number of colours:

The most daring combination is perhaps yellow on yellow. This combination is especially beautiful with a lot of skin. In Summer a bright yellow dress with bare (brown) legs and a yellow bag look very pretty.

Yellow with black. In Spring, a single yellow item can instantly make a wintery outfit look very sunny. Go for a yellow leather jacket over black pants or skirt.


Yellow with natural colours, powder colours and camel. A single yellow garment is very beautiful in an outfit in natural colours, powder colours or camel. Choose a bright neon colour as contrast to the elegant natural shades. A black accent makes it all look not too sweet.

Yellow with denim. For a summery feeling combine bright yellow shades with bleached jeans. Denim of course is another huge trend for Summer 2016.

However, not only do we see a lot of yellow in women clothes, men also have adopted the colour this season. On the catwalks yellow was well represented in all the collections.


Not for every man, granted 🙂 but none the less a colour to consider!

On looking out for more yellow colour inspiration to share, I also found this great blog post by International fashion blogger Garance Dore. 

Mellow yellow

Enjoy and dare to wear yellow this season!







Public Liability Insurance – The Lowdown

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: if you’re starting a business you’re going to need insurance, right? But what does that mean? What kind of insurance do you need and how do you determine your coverage and needs? This is a topic in many of your minds as you start out and also if you are a FIPI member who is now on the search for the right Insurance policy.

Taking out insurance is a bit like buying an umbrella on a sunny day, it’s not yet raining but you are protecting yourself against the shower that might never come! It gives you peace of mind, comfort and in many cases is a necessity if working with a third party. For example if you are running an event in a hotel or with a retailer, what happens if something happens to one of your clients while on their property? Well, put simply you need your own insurance to fully cover you.

Today, I want to focus on the most common, which is called Public Liability Insurance. This can be described as Insurance that protects you against anything happening to your clients or their property while they are on your watch. If others person or property are injured or damaged as a result of your activities the law may find you responsible and you may find yourself having to compensate the injured third parties for your actions. I will give you a simple (non fashion!) example –

Customer slips on oil and sues garage

A client enters a garage and slips on some spilt oil, breaking their leg. As a mechanic has not cleaned up the oil or put a sign out warning clients to be cautious, the client pursued the mechanic for compensation and was awards damages. Let’s relate it now to our industry. You are running a consultation or class in your home or in a hotel conference room, a client of yours falls over some boxes you left in the way or also possible, afterwards your client believes the information you gave them was incorrect or damaging to them in some way. In either instance, Public Liability Insurance is a must.

Now, let’s be positive. Neither of the above are likely. However, consider this small price for yours and your clients peace of mind.


What kind of coverage do you need?

The amount of coverage you need depends on the nature of your work and the perceived risk associated with it. For example, a building contractor will need more coverage than a style consultant. Where you work, in your own home, in your clients home, on a retail premises are also an important factor in getting the right cover. The best course is to phone as many companies as you can and speak to as many people as you can in order to get the right cover for you. Each insurer will ask you a number of key questions in order to evaluate the cover you need. This is perfectly normal. You must be honest about your business activities to ensure you are covered for what you need. In fact if the company doesn’t ask a certain question the obligation is on you to proved all material facts, so if an insurer deems a fact to be material then it is, it may affect the cover you can claim.

Also, policy covers have limits on amounts that insurers pay out – so you need ensure you choose an adequate limit of indemnity. Typical limits would be €1 million up to €6,500,000 but you can get cover for much lower amounts.

Remember, you can also increase your cover down the road as your business and services grow.

We recommend as a starting point to check out which has a handy starter form to show you the types of questions an insurer will ask. Fill in this simple form and it will also bring up a list of possible cover options and the companies that would provide for you. We found a list of Insurance companies such as AXA, Berkley, Ageas, Optima and Zurich who all provide Public Liability cover to small businesses.

Public Liability Insurance can range in price from £80 – £1000 so shop around, talk to colleagues and make sure and haggle! Some insurance policies also include additional cover in the case of loss or damage to your work tools such as laptop, phone, printers etc. This is also worth considering.

Hopefully this post has also been helpful in getting started.


FIPI Spring Seminar Success

A massive thank you to everyone who came along to our Spring Seminar, aptly called FIPI Business Hub in London on Saturday April 16th. It was super to see so many members coming together to network, learn and support each other and we at FIPI were delighted to bring you such a great line up of speakers!


A big thank you to Sarah Brummit who spoke to us in a very inspiring and insightful way about the power of Executive Presence and the effect it can have on your business. Also, we want to thank The Fold London and Wilderooms who came along to share insights and opportunities for our Members. I also hope you found my own talk on Blogging for your business helpful!


Here are some more of the great pictures we captured from the day!happyfaces


Looking forward to more FIPI events soon!


Image Business Insider

This month, we are delighted we got to speak to FIPI Member Lyn Bromley from First Impressions Training. Lyn and her company First Impressions is also an Accredited Training Provider with FIPI and so having come such a long way in the profession, we wanted to share her story, her secrets and her passion to inspire us all! Here is Lyn’s story told to us in her own words recently.


I wonder what makes us all become interested enough to train to work in the image profession? On reflection I have been interested in image and impact for as long as I can remember. Maybe it was because of a very glamorous Aunt I found inspiring when I was 7 years old. She worked in Brussels in an important job for NATO, had a wardrobe full of fabulous clothes and was full of energy and confidence. When she came back to visit she always had a handbag full of the latest make-up that she allowed me to play with. I used to play dress up with her clothes too!

At the tender age of 20 I became the manger of a finance office. I started dressing much more formally in order to be taken seriously in management meetings. Everywhere I went people were always surprised to learn my age as they always thought I was much older, so it clearly worked!

I realise now of course that I was acting out a role and that style wasn’t the real me, but it certainly served a purpose and taught me how powerful image could be.

I had the pleasure of buying First Impressions in September 2010 from Julia and Paul Campion who had run the business since 1999. Here I am pictured at the handover with my husband Nigel, who gets roped in to help now and again!


In total, the business has been now been running for 32 years. I was proud to take on the running of a leading provider of high quality core skills training and, just as important, almost the only provider of a wide range of opportunities for continuing professional development training.

First Impressions is known for professionalism and integrity and that is mixed with a warm and friendly welcome. We offer many ways for consultants to keep in touch and feel supported from our mentoring to our regular consultant forums. We enjoy inspiring and passing on our knowledge in a fun environment.

The business has changed significantly since I took over the running of it. Partly that is down to the changes I have made and partly due to the changes in the economy and technological advances. I spent time evolving the brand, creating a new website and updating processes to automate as much as possible so that I could focus on what I really enjoy doing, which is delivering the training, both to consultants and to our corporate clients.

We have always had a balance of private clients such as our trainee consultants and our business and corporate clients. We have been growing our offering to the B2B clients over the last 18 months, so our website has just undergone another makeover! We describe what we do as ‘Performance Improvement through People Development’. This encompasses our traditional image and impact work, along with communication, behavior, coaching, NLP, DiSC profiling and a whole host of other soft skills training. We have a network of consultant associates who have business backgrounds and they support us in delivering workshops and coaching to these clients.


The most important aspect for consultants, over and above their skills training, is to hone their business development skills. They can have great technical skills, but if they have no clients, the business will clearly not be sustainable. The most successful consultants are those who have both excellent technical skills and excellent business skills too. We deliver courses to help them with this and we also offer on-going coaching programmes to keep them motivated and supported.


I love what I do and have a great team of trainers and support staff who are a real pleasure to work with. I love the variety – every day is different and I get real pleasure out of helping people to develop and grow and reach their potential.

Our next run of courses commence on 6th June.

For full details, our full prospectus can be downloaded from

Thanks for sharing with us Lyn!

Julie x



















Meet Gill from Wilderooms

We are delighted to introduce you to a brand new concept in shopping that connects the consumer and the stylist to the fun of online shopping, which we think you will love!

We are very much looking forward to introducing you to Wilderooms properly at FIPI’s Spring Business Hub/ Seminar in London on the 16th where Gill Davies, the lady behind the concept will be there to chat to us about this exciting new fashion business.

We recently spoke to Gill to of course get a little background info so you know exactly what you can look forward to!

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 14.24.20

What is the Wilderooms concept all about?

Wilderooms connects those seeking Fashion Services with Individuals providing it!

How does it work? 

WildeRooms is a new fashion retailing concept. At it’s core is a bookmark (‘button’) downloaded onto your browser allowing you to select clothes that you might like to try on from any online fashion retailer. Your choices are recorded on your personal page on the Wilderooms website. Then you can arrange a one to one session with a Wilderooms advisor of your choice, based on location, price and the level of service offered.
She/He will arrange delivery of the items to a venue of your choosing either your home or the advisors home or office. Your advisor can help you decide which pieces work for your style, figure, and wardrobe needs.

(The service you choose to buy might be as simple as just supplying the items and returning any that are unwanted, through to a full styling and advice service.)
You then pay for the items you want to buy, and for the hours of the advisors service. Anything you don’t want is returned and you don’t pay for them. There is also a small service charge for arranging delivery etc.

How will stylists/ image consultants get involved?

Wilderooms provides Stylists with a platform to market themselves to our Consumer base by showcasing the Selections they make for clients and their own recommendations. There is integral social media and sharing facilities. A consumer can then select their chosen Stylist based on location, experience, cost and personal style.

The platform then gives the Stylist and Consumer the ability to select and tag fashion items from any online Retail site into labelled selection pages with the Wilderooms site and exchange comments and build a shopping list for Ordering and working with the Client.

The Stylist pays a Commission to Wilderooms based on the Services the Consumer books with them. This is currently being defined and we are considering reductions and bonuses based on booking rates.


What is most important for you to achieve for your customers?

Providing Fashion consumers with the ultimate shopping service, comprehensive Stylist advice and shopping convenience.

Now I am very exciting to hear more on the 16th! Have you booked your tickets to FIPI’s Seminar on the 16th in London? Find out more and book tickets here. Open to FIPI members and non members with different rates applying.



Things We Learnt at London Fashion Weekend

Finally getting around to sharing some more insights into our FIPI trip to London Fashion Weekend! Personally, London Fashion Weekend is one of those events I have been meaning to go along to ever since I started my own business 7 years ago (embarrassingly!).

So, from a business and fashion perspective, was it worthwhile?

Ok. I knew I would learn this lesson from the moment my LFW ticket arrived in the post. Sometimes, you can be so close to your business you don’t see the wood from the trees. London Fashion Weekend inspired a fresh fashion spirit into me and hence in turn my business. As a small business, that is just about everything we need to thrive!




You will never discover new things sitting at your desk (ok, ok, google ain’t toooo bad) but there is no substitute for meeting the people behind the brands, see and experience rails and rails of new design talent and inspiring designers who provide the personal styling world with beautiful clothes and jewels to share with our clients. Some of my favourite discoveries included Marina London who specialise in beautiful everyday silk basics, House of Sunny and Edge of Ember Jewellery.



Going to London Fashion Weekend really invigorates you around just how big and exciting the fashion industry is right now. London IS leading the way for designers, retail and fashion styling. To be part of that really invigorated my sense of why I love what I do and just how many parts there are at play in making the industry what it is.



I got to see one of my all time favourite designers, Mary Katrantzou showcase her Spring collection and it was just amazing. To see the beautiful fabrics, sequins, detail and prints up close was just really special. In my everyday work, it is the high street that I mainly rave about and teach about. But the real inspiration filters from the passion high end designers bring to their collections, the dedication it takes to create each season, the combination of talent, commerciality and drive is something that really resonated with me at London Fashion Weekend.


So all in all, I loved every minute. Not only is it a create way for FIPI as a community to come together, learn from each other and support each other. It is also an unrivalled chance to see just how exciting the fashion industry is and just how lucky we all are to be a part of it!

Julie x