Your Name and Age: Gail Morgan, 48
Tell us about your family: I have been married to Gareth for nearly 21 years and we have two children – Katy 16 at school and Tom 19 who is at university.
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition? I had a career in retail management which became impractical after the birth of my first child. I knew about fashion and design so I trained in colour analysis and style – setting up an image consultancy business which I have managed around family life. It was tough at first with a colicky baby and Gareth working away from home but with support from my Mother-in-Law and a lot of hard work I rapidly grew a strong client base – many of whom I’m still in contact with today. Over the last 19 years I’ve built up The Image House – working with thousands of private and corporate clients. At the same time I have also trained other people to become image consultants and helped them to set up their own businesses. I saw a gap in the market for a home based study option and decided that a DVD-based course that could be studied at your own pace, in your own time would be the obvious next step.
When did you launch? I launched The Image House 19 years ago but Study in Style, the comprehensive Image Consultant Complete Foundation Course which is accredited and audited by The Federation of Image Consultants (TFIC) is launching this month.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business? There are three – the freedom to organise the business day around my family, the satisfaction of knowing that I’m helping women become more confident with their clothes and being able to support my consultants as they realise their own potential by running a fun, flexible and fashionable business.
What’s the thing you least enjoy about running your own business? Catching up on the admin!
What has worked well about your business? I’m the perfect advert for developing a business that can be wrapped around family life. After many years in retail management I did a colour analysis course whilst pregnant with my first child, with the intention of starting an image consultancy business. I’ve been there, I know what it’s like to juggle small children and still focus on creating a business so I can really empathise with the Study in Style students and provide them with the support they need.
What’s been your biggest business mistake? How did you deal with it? My biggest mistake has been paying too much for print advertising. Because what I do is so 3 dimensional it really doesn’t work in a small black and white advert! So I concentrated on networking and building a referral network with other small business owners.
How do you fit in work with the family? Is your partner supportive of your business? Image Consultancy and Personal Styling is very flexible as you can choose your own hours. I have worked around sleeping babies, nursery and school schedules as well as being able to take December and August off. Gareth is very supportive of what I do and is a great sounding board for my ideas.
Are you working towards a financial goal for your business? Yes, my team and I have great plans for the next few years, building the profile of the company.
Would you ever give up your business to do something else? I don’t think I could – I love it too much!
Do you have an exit strategy? Yes – but I’m not ready to go just yet!
Have you had your ‘I’ve made it’ moment? Tell us about it. If not when do you think it will come? I have had a lot of “I’ve made it” moments – the first time I appeared on TV; the first time I saw a client who had followed my advice and was positively glowing; when I became President of our professional body; and every single time one of my trainees gets their first client.
Where do you hope to be in five years’ time? In five years time we will have a growing network of consultants all over the World that we are supporting and mentoring. I am also planning to develop an online coaching/consulting programme, a personal shopping agency and a branded make-up range. On the personal side I expect we will have moved nearer to the coast and we’ll be taking every opportunity to travel.
If you have a flexible working business opportunity, please explain briefly what you offer and how people find out more.
Study in Style offers a range of accredited image consultancy training modules in an affordable, distance-learning package. Our face to face training courses are very popular but we had numerous requests for a home study course. I knew that using just books and photographs wouldn’t be enough so I transferred the training experience onto DVD and created the programmes. Wherever you are based, you now have the opportunity to train and learn how to run your own style business – we build your confidence and give you the knowledge and skills necessary to help your clients find clothes that suit them, their lifestyle, personality and budget. The Study in Style modules mean you can start earning immediately which allows women to start their own business, doing a fun, interesting, rewarding and profitable job with the flexibility to work around family commitments.
Your website link. www.studyinstyletraining.com
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As a special offer for Family Friendly Working readers, Study in Style will offer an interest free easy payment plan until the end of July.