Celebrating Sally

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…

An 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.

Fashion as a career

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 Hanley

Sally x