INTERVIEWED: LIFE AS A FASHION CONSULTANT
I had the pleasure of interviewing fashion consultant Chelsea K. Ray. Chelsea specialises in helping people in their everyday fashion, always keeping the budget of their clients in mind. Chelsea, how would you describe your job? As a Fashion Consultant, my job has many roles. When I first meet a perspective Client, I have an initial consultation to get an idea of their current wardrobe, goals and budget. Usually the next step is organizing their closet, purging unnecessary/outdated pieces and determining which pieces are needed to complete their wardrobe. Next, I either take the Client shopping or if they have limited time, I shop for them. The Client selects what they want to keep and I charge them for the time spent shopping.
What is a typical work day/week like? A typical work day will begin with my own appearance. I believe if you work in fashion, your look is your best advertisement. Once I have the perfect look, usually I’ll meet a Client at the Mall (to personal shop), their home (for closet organization or consultation) or if I don’t have a Client that day, I’ll focus on photographing looks for my Blog.
How did you get started? I’ve always had a passion for fashion and with Degrees from USC in Journalism and Fashion, I began personal shopping right out of college. I was offering my services for free in the beginning and a friend suggested that I start charging non-friends and family. I thought it was a brilliant idea and the rest is history.
My Blog was started because Client’s were asking how they could stay up with current fashion trends. I figured a Fashion Blog would be the perfect solution. Now, with thousands of followers, my Blog focuses on everyday fashion that is accessible and affordable.
What make you so passionate about your job? Everything! The fact that I was originally doing my job for free because I enjoyed it so much speaks volumes. My absolute favorite service is the personal shopping I do without the Client with me. I’m extremely good at shopping efficiently when I’m on my own, so I’ll bring the Client (in the convenience of their home or office) several options to try on. They keep what they like and I return what they don’t.
Unfortunately, scheduling is my biggest obstacle. Just like most people, my availability falls between Monday-Friday 8am-5pm, so finding time to meet with Clients sometimes has to get a bit creative. My goal when I first started my business was to not let work take away from family time (evenings and weekends). I’ve lost Clients before because we just couldn’t work out a time to get together and they weren’t willing to let go of control and allow me to shop for them.
What is a typical misunderstanding people may have about your job? That I actually make money doing this! The Consulting part of my job is charged on an hourly fee, so it’s pretty cut and dry. The Blogging part I find people don’t understand. Just like any job, you get out of blogging, what you put in. I work with retailers who send me free products (usually clothes and accessories) and I photograph and write about their merchandise and business. Free clothes give me the ability to look amazing for my Consulting jobs, and eventually (when I don’t wear the piece anymore) makes me money by consigning. I also write paid freelance articles for publications.
What advice would you give someone considering this career? If you are not knowledgeable and passionate about fashion, you’ll never make it. My career quote is “Passion before Paycheck”, which means you have to love what you are doing. That passion will come through and begin to make you as much money as you desire. There’s no glass ceiling in this business. Work hard, always stay knowledgeable and dress for success.