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How to Market Your Brand Using Pinterest – A Newbie Fashion Consultants Guide

Foreign Magazines to Pinterest
Foreign Magazines to Pinterest

By Gillian Armour, AICI CIP Launching a new fashion, image or style business is never easy or simple. No matter how much planning you've poured into creating your new company, chances are there is still more work to do. One of the most important things you'll need to do when launching your new image business brand is to engage in online marketing. Our industry is very visually oriented and utilizing Pinterest is a strong way to generate new leads and get traffic to your main site.  At Fashion Stylist Institute it's our goal to prepare you for success in all your business endeavors and we hope this tip sheet inspires you. Here are the steps to take immediately to begin marketing on Pinterest:

Create your Pinterest account

The very first thing you'll need to do is to create a business account on Pinterest. Make sure that your display name is the same name of your company. Additionally, you should aim to use the same username you utilize on other social media sites. The more similarities you have between your sites, the better off you'll be. Image consultants historically use their own name for a consulting business name. This makes your brand memorable and sets you apart from all other consultants pinning away on Pinterest.

Fill out your Pinterest profile

Make sure that you don't skip filling out your profile. Some new consultants are in such a hurry that they don't want to waste time with this. Keep in mind, however, that many people will check out what your business has to say about itself on Pinterest. In addition to sharing a few words about yourself, you'll need to create an interesting tagline (for example: “I help women find vintage styles for their wardrobe”) and upload a professional profile picture or a custom logo.

Create at least 10 boards

You should ideally create at least 10 boards to start off with, though many consultants do create more. When you create a board on Pinterest, you'll be able to sort items that you want to "pin" into these boards. Items that you pin should be related to your business, your service and any advice you want to pass on. When someone is searching for image advice, a fashion photo or style theme and discovers your boards, they'll have the chance to follow you and receive any future updates from you in their news feed. Creating a variety of boards will ensure that you get new followers on a regular basis. Just be sure that each board you title pertains to your fashion business since you want to attract viewers who can relate to your subject matter.

Find appropriate pins

Search on Pinterest for images that you can pin onto your boards. If you do closet makeovers, for example, create boards that have to do with organization, shopping or storage. You can then pin related images to these boards. The person who originally pinned the image will receive a notification and may choose to follow you, as well.

Create images for your website

If your goal is to draw new visitors to your own website, you'll need to create "pinnable" images for your site. A pinnable image is any picture that someone can easily share to Pinterest. Ideally, you should take images of makeovers (before and afters), your studio location or your products and add a label or quote to them. You can do this easily using photo-altering software on your phone or computer. You could also label the picture with the name of a relevant article it links to, the name of the service depicted in the image or even your tag line.

Pin items from your website

You might also consider the images you already use on your website.  Pin each of these to Pinterest. Then the picture will automatically include a link to your website, so anytime someone shares the image, their friends will have the chance to click on your link. Make sure that when you pin an image, you include a brief description utilizing SEO-friendly keywords such as “image consulting” or “fashion makeover.” When people search for images (or keywords) on Pinterest, your graphics could pop up.

Share your posts on social media

Anytime you pin to Pinterest, make sure you let your social media followers know. This will give you even more of an audience when it comes to seeing your pins. Remember that the benefit of having someone pin one of your images is that their friends and followers will see the image, too. Even if the person who shared it doesn't become a client, chances are that one of their friends might or may even know someone in the market for your help.

Like all social media marketing, Pinterest marketing can take time. Fortunately, with a bit of effort, planning and dedication, you'll receive new website traffic and customer visits from the images that you share online and your fashion, image or style consulting business will grow as a result.

If you would like further training Fashion Stylist Institute offers certification courses in fashion, image, and style disciplines.

Is Your Client Base About To Change?


2015  is a key year for the generations in the workplace. It is the year of the “Generational Turnover” or “transition” and the last year in which the Boomer Generation (now aged 51 to 69) will be the largest generation of working age.  Boomers are being replaced in the workforce by Gen Y (ages 19 to 35) and Gen X (ages 36 to 50). Baby boomers are now retiring and Gen Y, with a population of 82 million and Gen X (population 49 million) will have the greatest presence in the workforce in the next 24 months. This means that the way people work, shop, live and learn is going to undergo a significant change.

How does this impact the Fashion, Style and Image consultant? On several levels – the first of which is that the retiring boomer now needs a whole different wardrobe.  Her needs are now shifting from a work wardrobe to a casual, retired lifestyle wardrobe. For the generations moving into positions of power and competition in the workplace the needs will be for a more professional and appropriate wardrobe.

Additionally if your niche market has been the boomer generation you are going to have to re-think your niche and begin paying attention to the needs of the 19 to 50 year old's who represent the largest group in the workforce in the next 12 to 24 months.

For the next five years the demographic for us to nurture is going to be Gen Y as they become the largest group to mature into 2020. Generation Y age group will be 24 to 40 by then and historically this age group has been the base one for our bread and butter image services.

Start thinking now how you can tailor your services to this big (some would say HUGE) market. You have about a year to begin the change in your business model.

10 Questions for a Working Image Consultant

As part of their graduate project students are surveyed about their existing business. They give permission to share their projects and, because they are working consultants, we share their surveys here so potential students can get a birds eye view into the field itself. This week Dana Kuznar responds:

What is your niche? (who are your target clients, what specialty do you consult on):

My niche is the average, everyday woman who's never developed her own personal style, and/or has made changes (example: weight gain/loss, lifestyle change) that make her old style no longer "fit." I also like to educate young women (teens) on appropriate dress and makeup that's classy but still young and fun.

What do you like the most about image consulting/ fashion styling?

I love when a woman's outer image finally matches who she feels she is on the inside. It's a moment of blossoming, and her natural beauty just shines.

What do you like the least about your image consulting work?

Because I live in a rural area, I least like the distance and time needed for the best shopping, networking, salons and other services. I'll also have to drive over an hour to see most of my clients.

What is one of the biggest challenges you have had as a small business owner?

Right now I'm transitioning from being a paid employee to owning my own business. I think that transition is the hardest of all. Not only the logistics of it, but just the mindset of owning my own time and my own future. It's exciting and liberating, but kind of scary, too.

What is a highlight of owning your own business?

I love working and always have. The best part of owning my own business is getting to dream, plan, execute and the get all the rewards of my hard work. The harder I work, the better I'll do financially, and when I deserve a raise, I'll give myself one. Also - I own my own time. If I want to hit the gym every day at 10am, I will.

Do you think Image Consultants need to market themselves?

Absolutely. Most people don't even know that image consultants exist - or what they do, for that matter. Honestly, I don't know that many people know the value of their image.

How should they market themselves? What has worked well for you?

A web presence, absolutely. Also, network with stylists, manicurists, nutritionists, gym owners and trainers. Social media is huge (connect wherever one can). Also, get on style chat forums and join the conversation. Carry business cards and, when the gal behind you compliments your blouse, hand her one with, "I know a blouse that would fantastic on you. Let me know if you're interested."

What have you done to promote your business and generate more clients?

Response: See the last question. (Am still getting started, so haven't yet done all these things.)

A few words of advice for new Image Consultants.

I think it's important to know that every woman is beautiful in a unique way. It's our job to bring out her beauty by using the tools of our trade. The most important thing we do is to help someone become her best self. Keep learning, keep listening, and look at every woman with the intent of showcasing her beauty.

Any regrets or mistakes you made that you would like to share?

I just regret getting started on this so late in life (age 50)!

Response: Dana Kuznar @ Colored With Style

Thank you Dana for sharing your experience with us!

Student Essays We Love

editors note; students are asked to write an essay and sometimes we get one that needs to be shared. Today we share a moving essay by Eimee DeRise, Certified Image Consultant candidate. Why I want to be an Image Consultant

I have always been surrounded by fashion. I can remember as far back as four years old trying to create new fashion ideas by using my grandmother's drapes. I'd prance around the house in my mother's tiara and sang and danced in front of the TV. I could turn a curtain into many different things, from a dress to a formal ball gown. From a long draping scarf to a cape. I would envision the many things I could create for very little or no money. As I got older and began to understand fashion, I realized it was all around me. I had very fashion forward creative aunts and cousins who drew up ideas to recreate the latest fashion trends. I used many sources of inspiration. I watched different shows, admired many celebrities, looked through magazines and continued my creativity with style.

Growing up we had very little money. My mom bought patterns and fabrics and sewed many things, such as curtains and dresses. She was very crafty. I'd sit close, watching the many things she created. Sometimes for us and sometimes for others. In fact, it was from her I learned to sew buttons and hem pants. She even showed me how to use a sewing machine. As a teenager, I experimented with different styles and also found affordable ways to be stylish. The more I watched and saw how creative she was, the more I wanted to learn. I saw how much passion she had and the joy it gave her. When she came up with a new idea, she was in her zone! She truly enjoyed helping others recreate their vision. It was like she was their "Style Therapist!"

That very same passion my mother passed on to me. I use my passion to help others who need a little positive encouragement with their appearance. This is not only my passion, it is my calling. I know this because it is when I am at my best! For me, being an Image Consultant is not only about fashion or finding the latest trends. Nor is it just about reinventing or remixing style. It's about helping others become a better version of themselves, both personally and professionally. It's about helping them turn fashion confusion into confidence. It's about finding creative options and looking for budget friendly trends. Seeing the reaction on someone's face is the most rewarding feeling in the world. Knowing I have helped them find their personal or business style, a smile and a little gratitude, always makes my day. I tell them "you've had the power of style all along, all I do is help you reinvent it!"

Thank you Eimee for sharing your words with all of us!

Why I Want to Be an Image Consultant

by FSI Grad Student Jamilia Wallace - Trinidad & Tobago

(editors note: from time to time we are gifted with an extraordinary essay from a student and feel the need to share)

Image is everything. Whether we believe it or not, the world directly or indirectly judges a person on three basic things every day. Those three things are their appearance, behavior and communication. Therefore I firmly believe if a person is guided in these three areas of their lives they can become successful. Life can be made simple. Inherently it’s my view, once endeavoring upon a particular path, a person should find out the formula for success, work the formula, and in so doing attain success. Image Consultancy is no different, it’s a formula. It’s the formula that allows a person to enhance their appearance, behavior and communication skills for success. Thus I want to use this vehicle to influence people to attain success. It’s the way I live my life. I do not gamble away the things that can produce me the peace, joy and happiness for which my soul contends, rather I implement it.

In today's environment this skill (Image Consultancy) or as I would like to call it, this formula is necessary to guarantee success, as the world is ever changing, global boarders are being lifted and communication is ever more important. There has never in history been such a time like this, when there are so many business meetings, symposium, mergers and international companies originating, and there is no doubt in my mind that the people who will become successful are the people who understand how to communicate themselves to the world. I want to be a part of this interesting move. All I want to do is assist people in becoming successful, in this area of their lives.

I also believe that every human being was created with a high sense of purpose. However, too few people attain that level of success, due to life choices, generational circumstances or unplanned events that just happens. These events alters a person's life significantly and can have an impact on how the world views a particular person, or how they themselves view themselves. I want to help to create and recreate who they are, even when life deals them an unfortunate hand. Hence the reason I believe that people simply need to be endowed with the ability to tell their story to the world and I want to be a part of that process. I want to help them communicate who they are truly are. What's their vision of themselves, what's their vision for their life. What do they want the world to know about them. I can only do this as an Image Consultant. People do have great visions of themselves but sometimes may not really know how to achieve their vision, be it through styling or life goals and I want to be the person they come to for advice and inspiration. I want to influence people's life, their sense of personality and style in a positive way. It’s all about people for me. I want to genuinely help people tell their story to the world.

Another reason I want to become an Image Consultant is because so many people every day have to communicate themselves to the world and they just do not know how to present themselves nor are they cognizant of how they should behave in a particular settings. It’s not that they are not wonderful people, they just may not know how to, and even for the ones who have the idea, they just may want that extra tip that compliments their sense of self. I want to inspire people to tell their story, their vision of themselves to the world (we all have our own world, which usually is a subset of the greater universe. It’s all about story telling. I want to inspire people to become their best self.

Is Image Consulting Still Relevant in a World of Shorts, Hiking Boots and Teva's?

Danielle Steel  (author, mogul, fashionista and former San Franciscan) says in today's (May 7-8, 2011) Wall Street Journal  that "San Francisco is a great city to raise children, but I was very happy to leave it."  In the article, by David Kaufman, she gets specific about an issue and pet peeve of mine - "There's no style, nobody dresses up - you can't be chic there.  It's all shorts and hiking boots and Tevas - it's as if everyone is dressed to go on a camping trip.  I don't think people really care how they look there; and I look like a mess when I'm there too."  Honestly, I can now breathe a sigh of relief because finally someone has said, out loud, what has been swirling around in my mind since I moved back to this city last September.  I don't want to belabor a point - but what happened?  Where did the fashionistas and the chic denizens of Union Square, the funky retro girls of the Haight Ashbury, the couture-luxe glamour girl of the Upper Fillmore go?  Have all the women 'round here collectively decided "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em?"  By which I mean specifically - the casual, shorts and hiking boots set that Danielle speaks about.  Did we, as women, give up on looking pretty and make a choice to be c.o.m.f.o.r.t.a.b.l.e.?  Have circumstances changed so much that we have determined it no longer matters what we look like when we go out in the world?

Obviously something has happened as I see the effects of it every single day.  My office is on Union Square and my clients are up and down this town and, as an image consultant and fashion writer, I am always scanning the crowd for trends and hot looks.  I find myself disappointed that I no longer see women representing their beauty through their appearance.  Every now and then I spot a woman who has fearlessly gone ahead and hit a high note with her styling, but the norm in San Francisco these days is that dreaded word - casual.

 I think I know what's happened - technology.  This city has been in a technology bubble, boom and bust (rinse, repeat) for well over ten years now.  First came the young guns hell bent on getting their tech products ready for the venture capitalists with money to burn.  In the fast pursuit of new money these (mostly male) kids stopped caring about what they wore because it didn't really matter.  They were going to their cubicles, working their asses off, sleeping in their t-shirts and jeans and repeating this cycle until they hit their gold mine.  Then they upgraded to a bigger cubicle and condo and along the way completely lost interest in looking fashionable.  Why would they need to dress up to show up in a cubicle while peering into a world of computer science?

Well, the girls around them accepted  them as they were - fashion failures but financial whizzes with fresh IPO's and money to burn.  Wouldn't you if you were a young woman in San Francisco as the internet boom exploded around you?  Many young women went to work for these new tech firms where the dress code was now - yep, you guessed it - shorts, hiking boots, Tevas (and jeans and sweatshirts when the fog rolled in).  The new uniform, the must have look if you will, became "camping trip."

Sigh, what is an image consultant to do when faced with the irrelevance of what she does for a living?  Is my profession doomed?  Will I be relegated to giving seminars on the best way to achieve camping trip chic?  Will I have to move to Paris, like Danielle, to find my tribe of extinct fashionistas?  Sadly I haven't found the answer yet BUT I am plotting a way to convince these tech tribes to dress up a bit more and it starts with taking a page from a Danielle Steel novel and posing this question to them (for women) "Want to learn how to attract a wealthy mate?" and for the guys "Want to look hot to get the girls?" - 'cause you know, it always comes down to looking sexy.  I think I might have a million dollar idea here AND a way to stay relevant as an image consultant in a camper world!!

Looking is the New Shopping

By Gillian Armour It's not funny!  Well maybe it is, and maybe that's what's called for - humor in tough times.  This economy is changing the way we do things.  I was sightseeing with a friend recently in San Francisco and we were marveling at the window displays all about us.  A girl can't help but drool at overpriced, luxury label gotta-have-it-can't-afford-it fashion!  And it occurred to me, and I said it out loud "Looking is the new shopping!"

As a certified Personal Shopper, with an established cadre of clients, I shop a lot.  I am in and out of showrooms, boutiques, department and luxury stores on a daily basis.  I make it a point to check trends, to watch customers, to listen to what staff are saying.  I am a retail detective of sorts.  I really do like researching what's happening in fashion at the retail designer level.  And, usually, my first clue to what's happening in the store starts with what's happening in the windows.

In San Francisco we are fortunate to have some of the biggest, brightest and best window designers.  I consider window display an art form and have been a long time fan of Simon Doonan (Barney's Creative Director) who elevated the job of the window dresser to that of window designer!  Creative displays abound year round and entice the shopper inward to discover more.  The goal of all good window design is to do just that - bring in the customers.  But I see a lot of people doing nothing more that window shopping these days and not taking that fateful first step into a store.  For economic reasons I think many of us are stepping off the hamster (shop-till-you-drop) wheel.

Personally I have curtailed my shopping habits dramatically in recent years.  A combination of events occurred that made me stop shopping and start looking instead.  First off I gained some weight and that made shopping such an uncomfortable exercise in trying to look good.  Clothes I thought would suit my body shape no longer did, my size changed and with it the tried and true clothing ranges I bought. I had to shift my choices toward bigger, looser and more comfort.  However, this body change has not dampened my passion for new fashion, in fact, I really enjoy just looking.  I don't have to try anything on, it doesn't hurt my wallet, I can get my fashion fix on and I don't take home a bunch of disposable fashion that will hang in my closet unworn for days!

So all of you who are interested - contact me and we will go on a "Looking is the New Shopping" trip.  You'll get my expert take on the ON and OFF of window design.  It won't cost you much and you won't have to cart around oodles of shopping bags either!  For this San Francisco Personal Shopper looking is the new shopping!

Here is a link to a personal favorite blog on the art of the window display.  Check out Zoe Bradley's Harvey Nichols display at