Planning To Be A Personal Stylist? This One’s For You!

It’s not all glamour and fun but it sure is rewarding.


If you’re reading this, I assume that you’re either a student thinking about a future career in the fashion industry, you’re looking for a career change or you’re just plain curious. Whatever your reason, this comprehensive post will inform you on things you need to be aware of before you commit yourself to becoming a personal stylist.

What Is A Personal Stylist?

Once you’ve gained knowledge in styling, you can work in different areas (i.e. fashion retailers, motivational speakers, public relation specialist and human resource professional). You may choose to also get clued up on hair, beauty and lifestyle if you like but it depends on your personal and professional goals. Personal stylists assist individuals from all walks of life with their fashion choices. They help their clients build self-esteem, confidence, body image and develop their personal style. You’ll need a good understanding on how to dress individuals with different body shapes, color theory, fashion trends and fabric types to help your clients discover their personal style.

Source: Write and Ramble

Who Will Invest In A Personal Stylist?

  • Those looking for career advancement or improve their confidence in the workplace.
  • Those who want a fun makeover session.
  • Those who are time poor.
  • Those who feel overwhelmed or intimidated when they’re out shopping.
  • Those looking to find a partner.
  • Those who lost their sense of self or style.
  • Organizations who provide professional development for their employees.

Decisions You Need To Make

The first question that you may encounter is whether or not you should take a short course or enroll in a university degree. I’m the type of person who needs to gain exposure before I decide if the job is for me. For that reason, I wouldn’t spend money on a university diploma. Weigh the pros and cons (as we’re all in different stages of our lives) and choose the one that would bring you the most value.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

What Will I Learn In A Typical Styling Course?

Please keep in mind that each university and private institution will offer something different (this goes for teaching methods as well). That said, the general curriculum would look something like this:

  • An outline of services you may offer.
  • How to conduct a professional style consultation.
  • How to build client/retail/alliance relationships and create a memorable client experience.
  • How to set up your own styling business (how to price your service).
  • How to conduct wardrobe audit.
  • How to create a seamless shopping experience for the client.

I’m not sure about universities but private institutions tend to offer online support after the course. Graduates can access online conferences and the institution’s private social media forum, where you’ll have unlimited access to advises and a supportive community of past graduates. Australian Style Institute offers a good range of styling courses depending on your career goals. Check them out!

The Realities Of The Job [Top 5]

In my opinion, we won’t know what a particular job is like until we personally experienced it. This is when reading about what stylists deal with on a daily basis becomes helpful.

  • You need to be business savvy. As a personal stylist, you are your own brand. You need to find ways to reach those who need your help and that means you’ll need to spend a considerable amount of time developing your website, engage with others on social media, network and more.
  • You need to be prepared to work with clients from all walks of life and body shapes. And I mean people with all sorts of personalities and values. If you know that you can’t work with certain types of people, try scheduling a get-to-know-you session (in person or through video call) before you decide to take them on. Keep in mind that learning how to deal with others is a good skill to have and being too picky won’t get you far. You may also need to work with clients who suffer from body deformation or disability, which can make styling a huge challenge. Do it anyway and treat it as another learning experience. The more people you can help, the better.
  • You need to learn how to make your clients open up and be at ease around you. Everyone has insecurities and baggage. Be considerate, take your time getting to know them and respect that they won’t share everything with you during the first few sessions.
  • Shopping for others isn’t always fun and easy. If you imagined all shopping sessions with your clients to be fun and filled with laughter, this job may not be for you. Unexpected scenarios can happen whereby clients can be very indecisive, they could end up hating every piece of clothing you pulled for them or they could turn up 30 minutes late and expect that you finish your job in less time. If you can deal with frustrating and tricky situations like these in a calm and professional way, you’ll do great. If you find that you can’t, you’ll learn!
  • You need to build good relationships with retail brands and salespeople. Once you have that it’s going to make your job a lot easier. They’ll accommodate you when you’re styling your clients. The best part? They’ll give your clients discounts.
amber sceats
Source: Amber Sceats

Will There Be A Demand for Personal Stylists?

Algorithms can now choose clothes for you and make you look as stylish as the Duchess of Cambridge. On top of that, customers can interact with human stylists online when they want to. It’s convenient, efficient and high tech. That’s the future of fashion right?

It’s undeniable that new innovative services are popping up, but remember, not everyone prefers to use online services when it comes to buying clothes. They’d rather get out of the house and spend time in the mall when they can. They prefer to head in store to touch and feel the fabrics. After spending so much time with technology on a daily basis, human interaction is seen as essential for some. Think about this: can algorithms help you declutter and organize your wardrobe (perhaps a robot can but that’s way beyond our time)? Do you think online human stylists could boost your confidence and inspire you to dress well the same way as when you’re having a face to face interaction with a stylist of your choice?

Facial expressions, tone of voice, body language and hearing someone say “you look good in that” are things the internet can’t replace. In fact, in an attempt to attract customers to shop in-store, brick-and-mortar retailers are starting to hire stylists to give their customers a better shopping experience. So yes, there’ll be demand for stylists in the future!

I hope this is useful for those of you who are looking to pursue a career in personal styling. If you need more insight or advice, network with personal stylists on meetup groups or LinkedIn. Remember, you don’t get what you don’t ask for.


At the PSA course

My Story

After I’ve graduated from university, I decided I want to start a career in the fashion industry (I have a degree in psychology). I thought about combining my knowledge in psychology/marketing with fashion and with that in mind, I did internships with a PR company and a footwear wholesaler and retailer in Melbourne. I did find out what I like and dislike as well as the roles that I’m interested in exploring in the future (VM assistant, buying assistant or PR account executive in the Fashion, Retail and Consumer team). But I realized I was craving for a job that would allow me to work directly with clothes and jewelry. That was when I started thinking about a career in styling. I spent the next few weeks reading up on articles and blog posts about the different aspects of styling and I have to say, I think I’d actually enjoy this.

I enrolled into the personal stylist certification course at the Professional Styling Academy in mid-2017 and I enjoyed it. Although my plan was to gain basic knowledge in styling so that I can work with fashion magazines, I’m actually planning to make personal styling my side job. As I’m leaving Melbourne for my home country in December, I have a few ideas lined up. I’ll write more about my journey soon!


Featured image by Vydia Rishie

Have a nice day (and smile).


The Vessel [3]

Is this my vessel? The one that’s made for me and me alone?

Throughout my life I’ve taken various journeys, been on different ships.

None of them would bring me to where I want to go and they never seem to sail far enough.

But where do you want to go? This I’ve asked myself numerous times.

When I was 15, 20, 23 and now, at 25.


Is this my vessel? The one that’s made for me and me alone?

No one knows. You just have to get on it, they say.

I may not know where it would take me,

but if I trust my heart, I would gradually end up where I want to be.

I just need to listen.


What is your heart telling you? This I’ve asked myself numerous times.

But I’ve lost my way because I never learned to listen.


Initially, I wanted to post this up as it is (in written form). But I thought I’d give Adobe Spark a try. Learning how to make my own videos is on my to-do list, and though I want to learn how to do it the hard way, experimenting through Adobe Spark is a good start. Check it out here!


A Shy Introvert In An Extroverted World // My Ice Breaker Speech

I put myself on a scary journey but I know it’s going to pay off in the end.

I’ve always wanted to be a better communicator. Throughout my life, I struggled to speak up because I was afraid of what others think of me and I have low self-confidence.

To stand out in this era, you need to be able to clearly express your thoughts, to think on your feet, and most importantly to be able to engage and influence others. Without these skills, you’ll face difficulties at networking events, job interviews or getting a promotion.

I first heard about Toastmasters at a dinner party 2 years ago. The guy I was talking to had great confidence and he never used “like”, “ah” or “uhm”. On most occasions, I’d start comparing myself to the stranger and think negatively about my ability to socialize (or give presentations). And what usually happens is I get overwhelmed with the negative thoughts and I start to stumble all over my sentences. I become the poor communicator that I wish to avoid.


It’s rare that I feel at ease with a stranger but for some reason, I opened up to him. I told him my desire to get better at presenting and telling stories and he suggested that I join Toastmasters at the University of Melbourne. I asked him what a typical session at Toastmasters is like and he explained with enthusiasm:

  1. You’ll be called upon to speak about a random topic for 60-90 seconds without any preparation. [If you’re a guest, you can pass but if you’re a member you must do it]
  2. Experienced members will evaluate your performance and give you feedback. [In front of everyone]

and the list goes on.  I felt fear creeping into my brain and my interest gradually waned.

The thought of standing in front of a huge group of students (He said the club is VERY popular) talking about a random topic without any preparation is enough to make my brain go NO! NO! NO! NO! I not only have serious fear of public speaking but I’m also terrible at thinking on my feet. To sum things up, I’ll have a very unpleasant time at Toastmasters. So I took the easy way out. I listened to Fear, didn’t join the club and kept wishing I was a better speaker while I was an undergraduate.

Then something changed in me as 2017 comes to an end. I realized that nothing will change if I let Fear dictate me. I will never grow.

Plus the world doesn’t give a f**k if I’m an introvert or if I’m shy. If I can’t perform in this extroverted world, I lose.


In September, I decided to challenge my good ol’ friend Fear. I went to a couple of Toastmasters meetings to gauge the atmosphere and it surprised me. The people there are so encouraging and helpful; it just feels like a safe place for me to fail. The other thing that motivated me to come back was the fact that most guests share my insecurities and I finally found myself saying thinking: “I’m not alone anymore“.

I’ve given two impromptu speeches (as a guest) so far and I did my first ice breaker speech (as an official Toastmasters member) last week. After the meeting, a few guests came up and told me they could really relate to my story and I was happy to hear that. When I wrote my speech, I didn’t want it to just be an introduction of myself but also to encourage other shy introverts to step up and take control of Fear.

Because why the hell not? Public speaking is scary but it didn’t kill me. Trust me, you’ll survive. 

*If you’re interested, read on to find out what my speech was about*

Mr Toastmaster, fellow members and guests, today I’d like to share my story on what is it like growing up as a shy introvert. First, you’ll get to a glimpse of my background, followed by short snippets of my life experiences as a shy introvert and finally I’ll end with techniques I use to cope in an extroverted world.

My name is Su Min Chan and I was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The first two languages I was exposed to were English and Cantonese and once I started kindergarten, I became familiar with Mandarin and Malay as well. For some reason, my Mandarin skills never go beyond a 10 year old but my older brother and I could still speak the language if we want to discuss something we don’t want our parents to know. I spent my secondary school years in an all-girls government school and at 18, I pursued my International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma at the International School of KL before moving to Australia for my Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Melbourne. Even though I majored in Psychology, I’ve decided to pursue a career in the fashion industry and I aim to become a part of the ethical fashion movement in the future.

For most of my life, I’ve been known as the shy and quiet one but that’s not always the case. When I was a young girl, I wouldn’t be the one to start a conversation during social outings or family gatherings. I prefer to sit in the corner and observe. Once things get boring, I’d start day-dreaming or make up random stories in my head. In middle school, I became less awkward at parties but I still wouldn’t speak in class. Due to my quiet and reserved nature, I tend to have a small but close group of friends. Much to their surprise, I can be pretty crazy and outgoing during our meetups. Our personalities occur on a spectrum. I’d say I belong somewhere between introversion and extroversion but I definitely show more characteristics of an introvert. 

I can get away with being a shy introvert when I was younger, but things started to change once I enter university. I was horrified when to find that tutorial are graded based on how much I contribute and presentations as well as group work are common throughout the semester. As an introvert, thinking on my feet is not my forte and I tend to focus and perform better on individual assignments. On top of all that, good leadership skills are highly regarded when applying for internships or a job. To fulfill society’s criteria for the best candidate, I volunteered to be the secretary of Melbourne University’s Tae Kwon Do club and a mentor to five international students for the student union. I may great at organizing events and providing guidance to a small group of people, but I’m not the best in convincing others to get involved in club competitions or events. Unfortunately for me, the ideal leader in today’s society is someone who is energetic, approachable and is able to influence a group of more than five. The situation may be more challenging for me but I want to work on being a better introverted leader so that I could guide those with similar difficulties.

Pushing myself out of my comfort zone on most days means I experience more anxiety and stress but the following methods have helped me strive. When I’m socializing I make sure to take quick “breaks” in the bathroom. Stepping away from the crowd helps me recharge and gives me time to think about topics to talk about during the get-to-know-you-sessions. I also try to be gentle to myself when things don’t go smoothly. Setbacks and the feeling of incompetence are common but giving myself plenty of positive self-talk has helped me stay motivated. Finally, and perhaps the most crucial, I try to stop worrying about what others think of me. Once you’ve learned to let go of that, you start growing and all you feel is empowerment. These three countermeasures have not only helped me reduce stress and anxiety but they also gave me motivation to seek challenges.

I hope I’ve used this time well to introduce myself. For the shy introverts in this room, know that it’s never too late to start challenging yourself. I urge you to find ways to help you cope and you’d be surprised at who you can become!