A person may possess all the talent and skills and put in the hard yards to achieve the desired results, but how do people judge when they meet them for the first time? It’s the first time an individual’s image comes into the picture. It helps people create a great first impression that can take them places in their professional and personal lives. But, exactly how important is someone’s image? An image consultant can answer this question.
An image of a person is much more than his physical appearance. It is the cumulative total of the way he talks and behaves.
In this age of social media, a person’s image also includes his online presence. How the person does their personal marketing is just as important as the other components.
Some other facets of a person’s image are handshakes, postures, eye contact, facial expressions, and how he carries himself. Let’s explore all aspects of becoming a successful image consultant here.
Who Is an Image Consultant?
The term ‘image consultant’ refers to a person who helps his clients enhance their personal, professional, and social image.
He assists people from different walks of life to portray their desired image. This is done by working on the ABCDs of a person’s image –
- Digital footprint
As mentioned above, an image consultant uses a combination of psychology, marketing, and fashion sense to improve the ABCDs. Moreover, he also helps his clientele build a solid visual and personal brand through a customized impression management strategy.
What Does an Image Consultant Do?
Everyone has different talents, intelligence, and plenty of potential. However, sometimes they might not be aware of it themselves.
Image consultants help bring these latent talents to the surface and help individuals excel in life. Thus, it can be said that an image consultant enables you to become a better version of yourself.
The tasks of an image consultant are pretty diverse. They could be anything from a laundry list that includes:
- Style assessments
- Image Coaching
- Wardrobe edits
- Colour Analysis
- Etiquette training
- Digital branding
Apart from all this, an image consultant can also assist with shopping.
Additionally, he also works on enhancing non-verbal behavior and interpersonal communication. All of these are essential aspects of a person’s professional presence.
There do exist specific differences between the two. Many people tend to confuse an image consultant and a personal stylist. However, a person can be both an image consultant and a personal stylist for their clients.
For instance, an image consultant can zoom out and look at the larger picture when crafting your style goals. So he focuses on tactics to augment his client’s personality and not just focus on the outfit.
An image consultant spends time with his client to understand his persona and digital identity. He then suggests ideas and changes that align with his client’s journey and ambitions.
He is also known for focussing on the small details that will help in the comprehensive makeover of an image.
Types of Image Consultants
There are several types of image consultants. We shall discuss them here:
Fashion and Wardrobe Consultants
They advise on the clothing styles, colors, designs, patterns, and accessories that make a person stand out from the crowd. Fashion and wardrobe consultants work with people or organizations to improve their appearance.
These consultants have immense experience doing makeovers, color draping, wardrobe makeovers, and shopping.
Corporate Executive and Image Consultants
These consultants predominantly work with clients in the corporate, executive, and business sectors. They ensure that executives and business professionals present a public image that creates the most favorable impression.
Corporate image consultants help their client base with presentations, speeches, corporate and social events, and celebrity appearances.
Leadership Training Consultants
The consultants in this category hold seminars, workshops, and training sessions for academic institutions, corporates, and other organizations.
How to Become an Image Consultant?
Now that we know the importance of a person’s image and the role of an image consultant, let us look at the various routes available to become one.
Equipping yourself with suitable courses and attending workshops.
A background in beauty, merchandising, marketing, psychology or communication is often beneficial for pursuing a career in image consulting. These subjects arm you with the necessary skills to succeed in this field.
Some people take up courses in business and entrepreneurship to provide more holistic services.
Gain Experience In Related Fields.
A person can work their way into image consultancy. For starters, they can take up stints in relevant positions such as:
- Sales associate in a clothing store
- Stylist at a departmental store
- Make-up consultant
These roles provide an excellent opportunity for an individual to advise clients on outfits and accessories.
Focus on Specialization.
If someone wants to become an image consultant, pursuing a specialization based on interests makes sense.
For instance, if a person is adept at communication, he should offer his services based on that aspect of image consulting. He can also focus on the beauty, wardrobe, and fashion side of image consulting if that is his forte.
Furthermore, it is recommended that the aspiring image consultant not dabble in all the branches of image consulting if he is unsure. Instead, he can give attention to a particular area and grow clientele there.
It would be best to consistently connect with experts in related industries such as media, event management, and photography.
Networking is a great way to get tips from people who have done it or have a good experience. It is also an art that helps you land clients and boosts to kickstart an image consultancy career.
Developing a portfolio.
Making an impressive and eye-catching portfolio is an excellent way of attracting potential clients. You must have two different portfolios ready at all times: A digital portfolio that can be shared over mail and a physical portfolio for in-person meetings.
A portfolio represents the quality of work. Also, it demonstrates to the client the value that the consultant brings to the table.
It is suggested to use high-quality media and include testimonials from clients in the testimonial. Extensive use of social media is another way to further your reach as an image consultant.
As a standalone service provider, you may not be able to provide the complete set of services required. For this reason, it is better to form partnerships with a diverse group of talented professionals to whom one can refer clients.
This practice will yield good results for your own image consultancy business. The critical thing to remember is to partner with trusted professionals who provide high-quality services.
How to Become a Certified Image Consultant?
It is vital to ensure credentials from a reputed, affiliated, and credible image management institute to build credibility as an image consultant. One such accreditation to look out for is the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI).
An AICI accredited education opens up several opportunities all over the world. Moreover, you can join the regional as well as international AICI chapters.
Certifications for Career Progression
As you spend years offering services and trying to further your image consulting career, it is essential to gain certifications that showcase your competence. The AICI Certifed Image Consultant (CIC) badge helps one achieve this.
Also, it is proof that a person has the required know-how of image building and is aware of current trends.
This is the first among three levels of certification that the AICI offers as it emphasizes the fundamental aspects of appearance development and the necessary business management skills. The other two levels are the AICI Certified Image Professional and the AICI Certified Image Master.
You must also complete the AICI CIC portfolio review process and pass the exam to earn the badge.
Given below are the steps that you must follow to clear the AICI CIC Exam
- Register with the AICI and pay the fees for the CIC exam
- You can choose whether to complete the exam first or the portfolio submission first.
- A person can prepare for the examination and create his portfolio simultaneously.
- There is a six-month window to take up the exam from the registration date, and the scores are available immediately after the exam.
- Furthermore, the AICI contacts the candidate about the portfolio submission, and there is a reviewer assigned to the candidate. It is up to the candidate and the reviewer to decide on the timeframe of the portfolio submissions. Additionally, there is a 12-month window to review a candidate’s portfolio.
- The AICI contacts the candidate with the certification once all the requirements have been successfully met.
And Voila! The candidate is now an AICI Certified Image Consultant.
Why Hire a Certified Image Consultant?
There may be quite a few reasons why a person may look for the services of a certified image consultant. We shall examine some of these reasons here.
They Can Help A Person Choose The Right Outfits.
Sometimes, you might be faced with the dilemma of wearing the right clothes for the right occasion. An image consultant can help a person in learning the art of style.
Also, the right outfit elevates a person’s confidence, skills, competence, and maturity. This, in turn, helps him get the right opportunities that accelerate his personal and professional growth.
Results In Improved Productivity.
A person might be talented, hardworking, and sincere. But he may not be achieving the desired career rewards, and one of the reasons for this could be a bad image at the workplace.
So, a better image can make him feel good about himself. This results in an enhanced reputation in the eyes of co-workers and potential employers. And, automatically, you can see an uptick in productivity at work that opens the doors to more significant increments and bonuses at work.
Creates An Impressive Presence In The Room.
Everyone wants to be a magnetic personality that draws all the attention, but only a handful manage to achieve that. An image consultant can work his magic and dramatically improve how an individual carries himself.
Moreover, the dignified poise and decisive manner will seem effortless. This will make the individual exude self-confidence, and he will end up feeling like:
Many people are under the misconception that your technical skills and knowledge help you get far in life. In most cases, it comes down to the simple attributes of behavior and communication. After all, besides the appearance, these are the first things that everybody notices.
A person’s image is reflected in his conversations during meetings, 1:1 discussions, video calls, and written communication. An image consultant will help with body language, volume, tone, and pitch to put forth a point better.
If you want to find more consultant roles, check our list of guides to becoming or hiring consultants:
- Marketing Consultant
- Sales Consultant
- Business Strategy Consultant
- Image Consultant
- ECommerce Consultant
- Creative Consultant
- Environmental Consultant
So, an image consultant can set himself to thrive in today’s world. As attention spans are reducing, making that memorable first impression is all the more crucial. Also, this is a business that does not involve high setup costs. All that is needed is a sense of style and awareness.
However, there are challenges as well. You might face challenging clients who are not happy with the suggestions of the image consultant.
Another concern is that a consultant might end up offering the same or similar advice to everyone, thus defeating the whole purpose of the profession. But, the more customization and unique features you can provide to your clients, the more chances of success.