Where dream jobs are concerned, putting together red carpet looks for celebrities sits at the top of the list for many. Yet for celebrity stylist, Casey Paul, that dream is a now a reality. But how can a mere mortal transition from simply thinking about a styling career to actually being paid to dress celebrities for a living? With a client list that includes TV presenter and former pro cricket player Freddie Flintoff, singer Peter Andre and the iconic luxury department store Harrods, there’s no one better than Casey to answer this question. Here she shares her thoughts on what you need to know to launch a brand new career as a fashion stylist.
TAP: Working as a celebrity stylist is a dream job for many. Does the reality live up to the dream? And can you tell us a little about what your typical day involves?
CP: It is super exciting! At times it can be very stressful, especially when jobs come in at the last minute, but it’s always fun. The great thing about fashion styling is that every job is completely different. One day you might be styling a Barbie-themed shoot for an advertising campaign and the next shoot might be for a leading magazine on a superyacht in the south of France for a billionaire entrepreneur… like I did this week.
A typical day preparing for a shoot involves emailing PR companies and brands to pull in the clothes I’ll need or shopping for the clothing myself. I’m usually given a mood board to help me get a feel of the shoot ahead of time. But for some shoots I will be given free reign.
On the day of the shoot I will put all the clothing out onto a rail and steam everything. Then, the client will try on the pieces and I will decide which ones work best. I always take more items of clothing than needed as this ensures that I have many options.
Quite a few of the celebrity shoots I do are for couples, which means there’s double the work to be done! For example, I’ve styled my client Peter Andre and his wife for OK Magazine, and John Caudwell (billionaire businessman and co-founder of Phones4u) and his partner Modesta Vžesniauskaitė. I usually have an assistant to support me during shoots, which is invaluable. After a shoot, I’ll arrange for most of the clothing to be sent back, unless an item was pre-agreed as a gift.
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TAP: How did you get started as a stylist?
CP: I had my own women’s clothing brand in department stores before I started working as a stylist. I decided to train as a personal stylist and fashion stylist because I could see that so many people were struggling with knowing what styles and colours worked best for them. I wanted to be able to help them more. I thought it would be a really good skill to have to compliment my clothing brand so I trained one-to-one with a London based stylist on her intensive coaching programme. I know there are some stylists who are self taught but I really don’t think I could have done it without training as I wouldn’t have had a clue where to start!
I trained as a personal stylist and fashion stylist because I could see that so many people were struggling with knowing what styles and colours worked best for them and I wanted to be able to help them more.
TAP: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in getting into fashion styling now? What do you wish someone would have told you when you are starting out?
CP: Learn from somebody who has already done what you want to do. I see SO many women trying to figure it all out themselves and making a heap of mistakes. It’s also important to be aware that you will probably have to do a lot for free to work your way up in the industry when you first start out.
What do I wish someone had told me when I started out? I think it would be to not panic so much because things always work out. When I was in the early stages of my fashion styling career, I would get stressed about preparing for a shoot so much and I would always worry that it would go wrong. Now it’s just a breeze for me as I have done so many!
TAP: Let’s talk about money. What kind of income can someone expect to earn working as a fashion stylist?
CP: It’s very normal to do a lot for free while you are building up your experience. This means that you should have some sort of contingency plan for supplementing your income when you first start working as a fashion stylist. However, when you gain more experience, you’ll notice that your income increases. An experienced stylist can charge thousands for a job like I do!
It’s very normal to do a lot for free while you are building up your experience. This means that you should have some sort of contingency plan for supplementing your income when you first start working as a fashion stylist
TAP: There are many ways to break into the industry. What are your thoughts on setting up your own styling business versus finding employment working as a stylist for a company?
I think it really depends on the person. I have always loved working for myself. If you have more of an entrepreneurial mindset and don’t mind having uncertainty about how much you will earn from month to month as you are building your business, then go for doing your own thing like I did. It’s great to be your own boss – it gives you the freedom to work on your terms and it allows you to charge what you want.
For someone who likes to have more structure and enjoys the security that comes with knowing what they’re earning each month, working for a company may be a better fit. I’m all about empowering women to run their own businesses though, as the impact and income you can make are both limitless.
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Sneak peak of some behind the scenes shots from my shoot with Peter Andre yesterday! Yes smart arses I know the trousers are too long but we shot above! Can’t wait to see the final images with @houseofsparkles_ . . . . Work on your personal brand and the value you have to add and this will serve you no matter what you decide to do in your career. . . . I choose to split my time between coaching, consulting for corporates and styling and I love it. Oh and I have a passive income stream through my digital products so I can snooze and not lose! It’s ok to mix up your passions and revenue streams! . . . That’s success with soul to me. The income is just a bi- product of doing what I love ❤️
TAP: You’re a very busy lady as you don’t just run your styling company, you also work as a business coach for women. Tell us more about the type of coaching you do.
CP: Yes, it’s my absolute passion to help women create limitless success and personal power through my private and group coaching programmes. I work with women with service-based businesses who want to create more impact and income.
My coaching work actually began very organically. I would coach stylists on how to start and grow their businesses and this lead to other women approaching me to help them too. I realised that the key strategies involved with running a service-based business are exactly the same whether you’re a stylist, a coach or consultant of some sort, so I expanded my focus to include different business niches.
So many women have amazing gifts and value to add to the world but they don’t know how to get themselves out there so I help them to do this. I am blessed to have been able to positively change so many women’s lives – it lights me up!
My coaching work actually began very organically. I would coach stylists on how to start and grow their businesses and this lead to other women approaching me to help them too.
TAP: As a successful business woman in your own right, you clearly have a lot of expertise to impart as a business coach. What’s the first step that other women who want to start coaching others on their area of expertise should take?
CP: Definitely get support from the beginning to make sure all the fundamentals you will need are in place. When you’re starting out in business, you don’t know what you don’t know, and this can lead to a lot of avoidable wrong turns. I wasted a whole year when I started my online business because I tried to figure it all out myself and made a heap of mistakes. People think that the first step is to get business cards and a website, but that is such BS! I made 6 figures in my coaching business WITHOUT a website or business cards. The first step is to learn how to get customers as customers are the life of your business and without them you don’t have a business, you just have a hobby.
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With some of the lovely women at Harrods today where I was hosting mindset training for a team of their staff . . . Grateful to this group for being so honest and open with me, and willing to go all in with tasks (I know it’s scary being vulnerable) Big thanks to my girl @kimia_zara for the fab meditations and I can’t wait for the next workshop! ✨
TAP: Do you have any resources you can share for anyone who wants to kick start a career as a fashion stylist?
- First up is my free e-book bundle for people wanting to start a career as a personal or fashion stylist
- I also recommend the book The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. It isn’t specifically for fashion stylists but it’s a book that made such an impact on me when I was growing my business
- Finally, I have to mention my own 5-day Become A Client Magnet Challenge for anyone who wants to do what I did and run their own fashion styling business (or any other service-based business). It’s completely free and it begins on September 23rd 2019.
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