Home Business Ideas - Image Consulting Home Based Business

Home Based Business Helps Clients Project a Positive Image

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The Business of Image Consulting

An image consulting business could be the perfect home based business for those who have a knack for balance, color and psychological impact and a strong desire to help others achieve a positive image with their targeted audience.

According to the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI), an image consultant is:

a professional who provides services for individuals and corporations through coaching, presentations, seminars, and workshops.

While most image consultants specialize in specific areas, in general, image consultants offer their clients counseling and assistance in image enhancement, which can include appearance, attitude, effective communication, social etiquette, branding and more. So in short, an image consultant's job is to help individuals make an impact on others through appearance and attitude.

Talented individuals who start a home based image consulting business could find it challenging, lucrative and exciting. Potential clients can include upwardly mobile individuals setting out on a new career, business executives trying to relate to their stockholders, customers and peers, actors and news personalities attempting to project a successful image, brides-to-be who are challenged in the wardrobe or social etiquette areas, and a host of others looking for expert advice on how they can physically and/or psychologically create an impact.

About Noelle Hoyt

Noelle Hoyt, the owner of Boutique Noelle, strives to determine how a client can best achieve a look that will reflect their best qualities both personally and professionally. Her home-based image consulting business was introduced to the community in the spring of 2004.

Meeting clients on an appointment-only basis, Noelle is dedicated to helping her clients find just the right items that will help them accomplish their goals.

She maintains a database of her clients' purchases, tastes, and sizes so she can quickly help them adjust from season to season by adding clothing pieces that complement what they already own. According to Noelle, “Anyone can walk out the door looking great and feel confident. You just have to know how to put the right pieces together.”

Noelle features seasonal "trunk shows" by appointment at her home, and she is very active in charitable causes. In October of 2005, her Boutique Noelle hosted a very successful fashion show to benefit Project Just Because (PJB), a Hopkinton, Massachusetts-based charitable organization that serves families in need with basic necessities like clothing, bedding, baby items, school supplies, furniture and other important special care items.

In our interview, Noelle talks about her business, her passion for image consulting, the type of work she's involved in and the success she's enjoyed with her home based business.

What does an image consultant do?

As an image consultant, I assess and evaluate a client's overall appearance and determine how best to achieve a look that will reflect his/her best attributes - both personally and professionally.

What kind of background, skills or talents would be important for someone who wants to become an image consultant?

A genuine passion and interest in helping others achieve their best possible overall appearance while taking into account the lifestyle and image they're trying to reflect.

I also have an extensive fitness background, which allows me to better understand body composition in assessing body types in order to properly “fit” a client's clothing needs.

Is there any type of formal training or certification available to become an image consultant?

Yes, there are several professional organizations an individual can find that provide training. It's important for an image consultant to have an understanding of textiles, clothing silhouettes and color basics.

What type of equipment or supplies would someone need if they were just starting out in image consulting?

Mainly an investment in the knowledge of the fashion industry and image consulting.

Tell me about your home based business - Boutique Noelle – how long have you been in operation, what types of clients do you service, and how do you find new clients?

Boutique Noelle was introduced to the community in the spring of 2004.

I showcase a private label, boutique-style women’s clothing line called ETCETERA, based in NYC. This is a division of the CARLISLE group which has been a leader in private-label women’s clothing for over 20 years.

What kind of work did you do before you started Boutique Noelle? Did you have any kind of entrepreneurial or self-employment experience?

I have a broad fitness background in which I am certified to teach group instruction and I've also studied personal training. I focused my work on children, hoping to make a difference in the declining fitness levels of youth. I created and developed a program called “Fit-N-Fun” in which I lead pre-school aged children in pre-schools, daycare centers, gyms and local park and recreation departments.

What prompted you to go into image consulting as a home business? At the time you started, did you jump into it full time or were you working somewhere and started your business on a part-time basis?

It was originally a part-time endeavor, but, as the business grew I expanded the range of services to include providing alterations as well as shoe and accessory shopping. I also provide closet consultations in which I will go to the client's home and evaluate their wardrobe in order to help them sort out their clothing needs.

What kind of benefits would your clients reap from using your services?

By shopping at Boutique Noelle you will have the one-on-one attention of a professional wardrobe consultant in the comfort of an in-home setting. Appointments are made on an individual basis in order to accommodate the clients schedule with the luxury and privacy of having the boutique all to themselves.

I also maintain records on my clients' sizes, style preferences, previous purchases and other pertinent information so the client can just relax and enjoying the shopping experience.

Have you or your business won any awards or received special recognition?

In October of 2005 I produced a fashion show (FALL INTO FASHION) at the Hopkinton Country Club, Hopkinton, MA to benefit a local charity called Project Just Because. The sold-out event was a huge success and raised over $5200.00 for the charity. The event was covered by local media venues and received high praise for a “spectacular” evening. My business, Boutique Noelle, was also featured on the front page of the business section in the Metro west Daily newspaper on September 11, 2005.

Did you have to go through any licensing requirements to start your business?

In Massachusetts, in order to start any home business you must register with the state by obtaining a tax id# and open a business account at a local bank.

When you first started your business, did you have a business plan? Do you have one now?

No, as with any small business, I have adjusted my business objectives to the ever-changing needs of my clients.

I modify and tailor my services on an individual basis for each client.

How do you market your services?

I advertise in local newspapers, conduct email campaigns and direct mail invitations to my customers. However, most of my business comes from word-of-mouth of prior clients who have done business with me.

What is a "trunk show"? How do they work, and how often do you have them?

My trunk shows are events that showcase the ETCETERA collection's entire clothing line for that season. I host these shows four times per year in the comfort of my home in Hopkinton, MA.

Tell me about your next trunk show. Where and when will it be held? What are you featuring in this show? Who would be interested in attending and how would they go about making arrangements to come to your trunk show?

The current collection is Fall & Holiday 2006 and will be available for viewing for one week only at Boutique Noelle November 9th through November 15th, 2006. Daily business hours are 9am to 9pm, by appointment only.

Those who are interested in attending a trunk show, please contact by email at boutiquenoelle@comcast.net or call me to schedule an appointment at 508-625-1056.

Do you have to travel a lot for your business? Do your home based business activities allow you to be flexible enough to promote a satisfying balance between work and family?

The only travel involved is to preview the upcoming season's clothing line prior to the trunk show. The preview is always held in the northeast region.

Running a business at home allows me the flexibility to run both a family and business at the same time.

Do you have any tips or suggestions you can offer for balancing work and family life?

I have four beautiful daughters, ages 8,9,13,and 15, whom I've been fortunate enough to stay home with. I try to maintain balance between work and family by scheduling my work time while the girls are in school - during the morning - so I can be available when they get home for their activities and homework.

I also feel the girls benefit from seeing that their mother is capable of running a business and managing a family.

How do you become affiliated with your suppliers? Are there special things you look for in a clothing or jewelry supplier?

I came across the ETCETERA collection through an old friend in Connecticut who showed me several pieces of the line and I fell in love with the clothing. I choose to represent this clothing line because the quality, construction and attention to detail is second to none at this price point.

It is referred to as a “bridge designer” line, which provides high quality without the high price. The company finds it comparable to brands such as Tahari, Ellen Tracy or Dana Bachmann, that you would find in a higher-end department store.

What do you find most rewarding about being an image consultant? Most challenging?

I find that helping people become the best they can be through sharing my knowledge of fashion and image related information very rewarding. I've also had the opportunity to meet some terrific people and learn from their experiences.

The biggest challenge is knowing when to shut the office door. I find myself wanting to work and be available all the time. Time management is an ongoing challenge when it comes to balancing home and family.

Does being an image consultant require keeping any stock or product inventory on hand?

In my case, no. As a result, I have no overhead.

If someone wants to become an image consultant, where should they start?

Research the fashion industry and determine what level of commitment they are willing to make.

If someone wanted to avail themselves of your services, how would they contact you?

I can be reached by email at Boutiquenoelle@comcast.net or by telephone at 508-625-1056.

For More Information on Becoming an Image Consultant

In the event that you decide that you'd like to explore the possibility of becoming certified as a professional image consultant, consider visiting the Association of Image Consultants' website. They offer a great deal of information on training and other topics that will start you off on the right foot.