Impression Strategies Institute

Frequently Asked Questions

(1).  Where can I use my skills as an image consultant?

The are many avenues of pursuit. The most obvious is helping individuals improve their image by doing makeover workshops for them. Most image consultants have studios in their homes, but you can also go to the client’s home, and at the same time do a “closet audit.” That is usually followed by personal shopping with your client.

If you live in a big city, you can also work with celebrities as a stylist. Most stylists do not have formal training in color. They use their so-called “instincts and good taste.”  They have usually  “paid their dues” by working as buyers in big department stores, putting on fashion shows, working with top designers as models or assistants, etc., so they know the FASHION world. This does not mean they know a thing about color. Even though you may be better qualified and more talented, this is not an easy field to break into. You may first have to pay your dues and meet a few fashion designers or fashion show coordinators to get a feel for and gain knowledge about the fashion culture and business. You need to be intimately familiar with what’s going on in the fashion world. In California and New York, there are also agencies who book top stylists, so this is one way of getting your foot in the door. This is the most difficult arena to break into, and it usually can’t be done overnight.   

Work with a large department store and become a Personal Shopper. Many image consultants like this kind of work, because they get lots of familiarity with the fashion world and can even attract clients for their makeover workshops in their home studio.  Additionally, department stores give employees discounts on all items in the store. Personal Shoppers usually have their own “Personal Shopper” office and staff. Once you become known within the store and the community, you can be innovative  and show how valuable you are. For example, think about doing a daily “Mini Makeover” session in the store to attract passers-by and create enthusiasm and interest. Have a drawing and do “mini makeovers” of employees – with all to see. That way, when they see the awesome results, you will be able to get employees as clients also. You will probably think of many other ways to use your skills in a department store.   

Many image consultants opt to work in an exclusive men’s shop. This has its advantages, because men are used to having spouses, tailors or others choose clothing for them. Once they see that under your expert guidance they look more attractive, command more respect and feel more confident, they will request you every time they shop. Most men’s shops will advertise the fact that they have an image consultant on staff, so you will get your name out there without have to pay for a newspaper ad. 

Working with a prestigious hair salon that has VIP clients. There are two options: (1) you rent a space in the salon to do your makeovers, or (2) the salon hires you to come in at a pre-determined time each week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday, for example) to do makeovers. Either way, it builds the reputation of the salon as well as yours.

Working with “talent” (everyone who appears on camera) at your local television station is a good use of your skills. Talent is not only seen every morning or evening at the anchor desk, weather or traffic desk, they are also asked to speak at events all over the community. This means they need to learn how to dress for all kinds of different occasions. This is a fun and rewarding job.

Working with politicians is also a good arena. Of course, unless you live in Washington, DC, it is not possible to work in this area exclusively; you will need other clients as well. Also, politicians do not generally want it known that they consulted with an image consultant, so you will not be able to use their name on your website or tell others that he or she is your client. The occasional politician will tell others that he worked with you, and then you can use this as leverage.  To get your foot in the door, your best bet is up-and-coming politicians who are anxious to avail themselves of any tool that will get them elected.

Speakers are a natural for an image makeover, because it’s a highly competitive business. The National Speakers Association has chapters throughout the country, so it’s a good idea to join a local chapter. Not only will you meet speakers, but you’ll find it is a wonderful place to learn skills to grow your business.

Work with bands who want to develop a cohesive look. This is a fun job, because you can get very creative.


(2).  What kind of courses, studies and education do I need to become an image consultant?

At the Impression Strategies Institute, you will receive a solid education in the full arena of color and image consulting that will enable you to embark upon a career as a total image consultant upon graduation. Freshmen in college often write Sandy Dumont and ask what courses they should take in preparation for a career as an image consultant. Sandy has made a lifelong study of art, psychology, journalism, fashion and color, so here’s her advice to aspiring image consultants just entering college.

1.) Take courses in Fashion Merchandising. This is ostensibly intended for those who want a career as a buyer for a large department store. Incidentally, buyers often have more "power" than some store managers, because they can make or break the store's success. This avenue will give you indispensible knowledge about the fashion industry.
2.) Take courses in writing. The best way to announce your expertise to the world is by submitting articles to local and national press.
3.) Take courses in psychology while in school, because it will help you deal with difficult clients, so you do not violate their persona or cause psychological damage.
4.) Make certain you are up to date on internet marketing skills of all kinds, because this is the most effective route to success when it comes to marketing yourself.
5.) Marketing classes are a big asset, and you can learn online or at university.
6.) Join Toastmasters so you will be able to speak effectively to corporate audiences and others. Once you've mastered the basic speaking skills, check out the National Speakers Association, a marvelous organization that will enable you to go to the highest level and also increase all your business skills. 
7.) Learn how to apply makeup professionally. You could apprentice at a department store with one of the big cosmetic companies.  
8.) Most of all, art studies will give you the best technical knowledge about color - and color is the cornerstone of image consulting.

Naturally, you don’t need a degree in psychology, marketing, journalism or fashion merchandising to become an image consultant. However, all these skills will put you ahead of the game early on and give you supreme confidence when you enroll at the Impression Strategies Institute. Most of these topics are a part of your training at the Impression Strategies Institute.

Impression Strategies Institute
921 Botetourt Gardens
Norfolk, VA 23507
Tel: (757) 627.6669
Toll Free: (877) 245.5015
Fax: (757) 627.4044