Recently, a friend of mine asked for an interview with me for her blog. She wanted to talk about my role as a stylist and personal shopper. Granted, my experience is minimal. But, I’m getting clients gradually and word-of-mouth is spreading.
It got me thinking about the title “stylist.” I don’t claim to be Rachel Zoe (although I am a fan of her work).
I also didn’t fall off a Chanel-covered turnip truck yesterday either.
Indianapolis has a population of roughly 1.2 million people for Marion and the surrounding counties. While we are a large city, we don’t sport the multi-millions of New York, Los Angeles, or even Chicago.
This area has made tremendous strides over the last decade in being more forward in its thinking, particularly when it comes to culture and style.
That being said, I’m discovering a saturation of the marketplace when it comes to “stylists.
What qualifies someone for this title? It would seem the position is like that in any other competitive field: your work and your professionalism on a job should speak volumes.
Sure, anyone can tell you brown and black don’t mix. But, is the person being professional in their dealings? Here, the smallness of the city is a double-edged sword: everyone knows everyone, but not everyone necessarily has great experiences with everyone.
If I were hiring a stylist for myself, I’d look at their previous experience and their savvy. Specifically, what do they do besides picking clothing and accessories? Do they have a full-time job as well? Are they successful in their endeavors? Are they involved in the community beyond the bounds of fashion? I would want someone who has business sense (including understanding how to run a business), a strong background, and a passion for not just clothing, but for this area.
I had a client tell me last week she had tried a “stylist” before me. The stylist was slow to respond and wanted to confine the client’s picks to her own business. How does that benefit the client? It doesn’t. Sloppy follow-through (or none at all) is a red flag. Confining the options to make sure the client can ONLY pick from a finite selection is the second. I approach helping a client as I would shopping for myself: endless possibilities.
Another red flag is how the person behaves on the job. Your boss would most likely frown on you getting blitzed at an event you worked. Your boss probably wouldn’t want to see you in the same clothes from the night before either.
There are talented fashion-minded folks in this town, don’t get me wrong. But, if Indianapolis is to truly become the “capital of the new Midwest” (words from Mayor Greg Ballard’s inauguration address), then the attitude has to change when it comes to how we do business in the fashion community. We need to not just go with whoever volunteers, but truly examine the backgrounds and motives of those people. Are they in it to better the community or just for personal gain? Do they themselves have a sense of style and pride about their own appearance?
It seems to me that Indianapolis won’t make strides on the national (and international) stage of fashion until we start doing business on a professional level.
I know my assessment seems harsh, but it’s time for us to step up and away from the status quo I feel is not only holding Indianapolis back from being a real voice in the fashion industry, but it’s damaging our credibility as well.