Lisa Talbot, Personal Stylist
Your Name and Age:
Lisa Talbot, 40.
Tell us about your family:
I have a wonderful husband of 10 years called Dave, he is my best critic and best friend. I have 3 children, Robert ( 21 ) and twins Thomas and Maisie ( 6 ) and my gorgeous rottweiller Max.
We live in rural Maidenhead where we love spending time in the great outdoors.
I am so lucky as both of our parents live close, I love spending time with my family.
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
Before the twins were born in 2004 I had worked for a large telecoms company as their EMEA HR and Recruitment Manager for 15 years. Robert had grown up with me always working in a corporate environment. I was made redundant in Jan 2005, took a year off enjoying my new babies and then worked in a ladies clothing party plan business until Jan 2009. This was perfect for me as I worked around my family.
I have always been a lover of fashion and I love people so in Jan 2009 I decided to train as a Personal Stylist.
When did you launch?
I launched my business in June 2009, I laid all the ground work so that when I finished my training I was in a position to start my consultations.
How did you get started?
To get started I wanted to find a reputable training provided so I went directly to the International Federation of Image Consultants and was so lucky to find a registered training provider only 5 miles away and she was ones of the best! This was great for me as I was able to go to my training days and and still do school drop off and pick up.
I borrowed the course fees from my husband with a promise I would pay him back by Dec 2009 and started the course in March 2009. I paid him back in October!
During my course I worked every spare minute to build awareness of my new job, I pulled together a business plan, identified my target market, developed a website, printed business cards and flyers.
I approached local health clubs and spas with business proposals as to what I could offer their members, I knew this would add value for them and it was a way for me to meet potential clients.
I went to Style events, spoke to other Image consultants and asked for any hints and tips ladies they would be kind enough to give me. I had the most amazing help from Sarah Brummitt, a Personal Stylist in London who became a great friend and mentor.
When the course was finished I was in a position to hit the ground running. I am a firm believer that if you plan anything is possible.
What research did you do before launching?
Before I launched I researched all the fashion/trend websites, existing fashionista blogs to gain more knowledge of the world I was about to enter. I wanted to know everything and made it my mission to learn as much as I good from my laptop and my lounge at nighttimes when the children went to bed.
I also brought loads of the high street fashion magazines to understand what the world of fashion and trends were doing.
How have you funded the business?
I funded the business initially with the loan from my husband, everything else I did in the first few months cost me a maximum of £50 which was stationary etc, everything else I made sure I developed for free ( website, postcards, flyers, business cards )
I think because I laid the ground work during my course I was in a position as soon as I finished my course to start my consultations so immediately had cash flow.
How do you promote your business? What has worked best?
I have always promoted myself through my website and just talking to people. I am now using social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Linked In.
When I received my award for ‘Most Inspiring Newcomer’ from the Federation it was a complete shock but a wonderful surprise that all my inspiring business ideas were recognised as innovative.
The events that I have held at the local health clubs and spas, school pamper evenings have been super and have been a great source for self promotion.
During these events I have built a great number of people who have asked me to keep them updated on all style related subjects, I send out a monthly newsletter which keeps me in their thoughts!
I write for various magazines as their Style expert, I am the Style expert for BBC Radio Berkshire and the Esporta Health Club chain which is a wonderful opportunity for promotion.
I have built great relationships with expert hairdressers, make up artists, I have developed Style evenings where all 3 experts deliver advice to a full audience.
I now run Style workshops throughout the South of England which are fabulous opportunities for everyone to come along and learn about Style and Image.
What has worked well about your business?
I think my business has worked because people see me as a ‘normal woman’ who they can relate to, I am a working mum of 3, I love my jeans and am a firm believer that we should all have a capsule wardrobe that relates to our personality and lifestyle.
I love the high street brands as well as designer brands and I know we can all look and feel gorgeous without breaking the bank.
Style and Image is all about looking and feeling good.
What has been your biggest challenge so far? How have you dealt with it?
My biggest challenge so far was not understanding that January and February are quiet months financially for many people To overcome a couple of quiet months I pulled together some fab promotions. If I had known then what I know now I would have run the promotions in December for bookings in Jan and Feb.
How do you fit in work with the family?
I am very lucky Thomas and Maisie are now at full time school so I can work from 9am to 2.30pm, this works in beautifully with my job. I always work during this time, always stop working after school pick up and then spend the evening when they have gone to bed on my laptop looking for new areas where I can grow my business.
I do have a problem with my brain ticking all the time so relaxing is not my best asset, spending time with the children swimming, playing golf or just playing allows me to switch off.
What advice would you give to someone else wanting to work in this area?
My best advice would be to plan,research your market, work out a delivery strategy and then go for it.
Special promotion for Family Friendly Working readers:
I would like to offer a 10% discount to all Family Friendly Working readers on any of my consultations.