Finding your niche

“Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important.” – Jaachynma N.E. Agu

 

Image: Chen Man

 

As the Vancouver fashion industry is so small and paying work hard to find, there is an ever-growing segment of people who are attempting to maximize their potential by claiming multiple roles: blogger/stylist/PR/photographer/MUA/etc. Obviously, people can have many talents simultaneously; it is just very difficult to become the best in any field without dedicating yourself to your craft and leaving the other space to live out your personal life. (The irony is not lost on me as I am a stylist AND writing this blog - but I would not profess to be a blogger.)

 

Image: Chen Man

 

In going to different fashion-related events around the city, I have almost always heard people discussing the dilemma of quitting their day job and pursuing a fashion-related vocation (usually blogging) full-time, but they don’t know how. (The struggle is REAL!)

 

Image: Chen Man

 

The best way to get to the top of your game, and score a fighting chance at a career in this field, is to find your niche and focus your efforts there. Be honest with yourself about what you are good at and most passionate about. Surround yourself with people and content that is relevant and inspiring to you. Plan to get in plenty of practice before anyone ever takes notice of you – create what you want in the early days because that is when it is easiest (if no one is looking, no one is judging.)

 

Image: Chen Man

 

If you don’t yet have your niche, definitely try different things to find out what you like. For example, as a fashion stylist, everyone thinks I’m a personal stylist, but I prefer to work on editorials - I learned this by attempting to personal style someone, and found the experience quite vexing, yet while working on editorials, my enthusiasm and passion explodes. That’s not to say I can’t or won’t do personal styling in the future – I clearly need to challenge myself in this area. But I have colleagues who excel at personal styling and, depending on the client, I would not hesitate to refer people to them. Again, just be honest with yourself and your potential clients! I don’t know that “fake it ‘til you make it” is best applied here.

Calling the headshots

I was involved in my first headshot photo shoot in March and became enlightened to the fact that not many people consult a stylist for this critical part of a professional image. LinkedIn is rife with photos of highly-skilled people in ill-fitting  or over-embellished garments, in an image that they clearly paid a lot of money for. It's time to face the truth: your overall image is being seen by any curious person before a potential meeting in today's workplace.

Image: Google search for "head shots". One of these things is not like the other...

Image: Google search for "head shots". One of these things is not like the other...

If you are already working with a personal stylist/shopper for your business wardrobe, kudos. Listen to their advice when it comes to the headshot and if they understand proportions, chances are you will look exactly as you need to.

 

Image: Erin Cebula by Linda Mackie Photography, styled by me.

 

If you are not already working with a personal stylist/shopper (like the majority of non-executives), it would be worth your while to find a stylist for your headshot, or get a recommendation for one from your photographer, just to ensure you are putting the necessary effort in to look your best. A good headshot can last you for years, and a good stylist will ensure that your wardrobe reflects that, without looking dowdy or out of date.

 

Image: Erin Cebula by Linda Mackie Photography, styled by me.

 

Shameless plug: If you need this, I can help you. After a brief meeting to go over your professional situation and personal style goal, I can find an outfit (or outfits) that would look great on you, and on camera. After fitting, you purchase the outfit from me (plus my fees), and you're set.