In celebration of the New Year and the top Style Coaches™ to watch in 2020, we interviewed Style Coaching Institute® graduate, Janine Coney, to see how her career as a personal stylist has developed since her graduation from the Style Coach™ Diploma Course in April of last year, and since starting her new personal styling business, ‘Own Your Style’…
Hi Janine! Could you start by telling us a bit about yourself and where you live?
Hi Kate, I live in Milton Keynes in the UK. It’s an easy drive into London and Birmingham, so I am nicely central and of course MK has its own brilliant shopping centre too, which is ideal for personal shopping with my clients. I live with my husband, two children (both teenagers now) and my gorgeous dog. I have worked creatively in Marketing and Events as an Events Manager, organising, styling and managing events worldwide for over 25 years. I also ran my own business as a Wedding Planner when my children were much younger.
Can you tell us about your love of style, and what inspired you to begin a career in personal styling?
Since my childhood, my passion always revolved around fashion and trends, and as child I was inspired so heavily by my aunt who owned a successful designer boutique and my mother who was a dressmaker. I’ve always been the person to spot something different in a shop or to adopt a trend before it becomes mainstream. I just love fashion, and my friends and colleagues always said I have a natural flair for styling and should become a personal stylist. When I lost both my parents and my aunt, this became the catalyst for me to finally follow my true passion.
How did you first discover the Style Coaching Institute® and what made you decide this was the right course for you?
I found the Style Coaching Institute® online after doing lots of research into personal styling courses and training for image consultants. I felt that a career in Style Coaching™ was the right choice for me because I liked the holistic approach of helping people from the inside with the additional life coaching skills that are unique to Style Coaching™. Also, the course looked really thorough and the reviews from past students were all really good.
What are you most looking forward to in your career as a Style Coach™?
Helping as many people as possible; it’s amazing to watch as my clients’ confidence in themselves and their personal style starts to grow. For some, it’s a total transformation of how they feel about themselves. It’s becomes so much more than just gaining confidence when it comes to their wardrobe choices. It makes a difference to their whole life.
How would you describe your own personal style?
Well, I am definitely a cross between all the style personalities, but for the most part, I am a ‘romantic’ dresser with a touch of ‘dramatic’! I love anything that sparkles, has diamonds, or glitters, and I love ruffles, frills and lace. But I do love some drama in my wardrobe too – so you’ll often see me adding something a little different to my outfit or wearing a bold colour!
Where do you tend to buy your own clothes, and why?
This year Zara and M&S have been my absolute ‘go-to’ shops. Zara get it spot-on every season. Sizing can sometimes be an issue there, as it’s very random… but on the whole, their collections have been great throughout the year. Similarly, M&S have had some fabulous collections online and their dresses this year have been amazing quality too. For online shopping, I head to Boden, where I am also a brand ambassador. I love their designs and the quality of their clothing never lets me or my clients down. I do love shopping in some of my local boutiques too. They offer pieces that you can’t find anywhere else on the high street. As for high-end designer, I am totally in love with dresses from Needle & Thread… they are everything my style personality calls for! In fact, I get a bit emotional when I try a beautiful one on!! That’s when you know you really love an outfit.
What key items do you consider ‘wise investments’ in your own wardrobe?
Jeans, blazers and coats. They rarely date, and can be dressed up or down depending on what the occasion requires. I have a wardrobe full of blazers, jackets and coats… and I love them all! When it comes to handbags? I love a designer handbag! But I choose wisely so they don’t date.
Do you have any fashion rules when putting an outfit together?
Yes: “Don’t over do it”. My mum used to have a saying, “Don’t over-gild the lily”, which means not to over-exaggerate something or someone that already looks beautiful… So I often refer to that as a reference point. Don’t over do the look by adding too many accessories… Don’t over do the look buy adding too many trends together all at once… etc!
Where do you find the inspiration for your outfits?
My inspiration for outfits often comes from following trends, being aware of what’s in the media, catwalk shows and my presence online – especially on Instagram where I follow others and also post my daily outfit and inspirational posts to my followers too.
Is there a person that is a fashion inspiration to you, or someone who inspires you in your career?
There really isn’t one person who inspires me, but over the past year since launching my business I have worked with some incredible female entrepreneurs who have inspired me in my business and in expressing my personal style. It’s about finding your tribe: the people who support you and those people become your inspiration in your personal styling business. My celebrity style icons over the years have been people such as Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and how can we ever forget Princess Diana, who was (back in the 80s and 90’s) a massive style inspiration at a key time when I was growing up!
What areas of personal styling do you cover in your business and do you have a favourite service that you provide?
Although I love all the services I provide, I absolutely love colour analysis! It’s so inspiring to share the beauty of wearing colour with others.
Have you always known you wanted a career in personal styling? Where did your dream start to turn into a reality?
Yes, I have always wanted to be a Personal Stylist but something was holding me back. I used to think it was only for the rich and famous. This seems so strange now that I am actually doing what comes so naturally to me and I am now qualified as a personal stylist as well.
What’s been the thing that’s surprised you most about starting a new career as a Style Coach™?
It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. There is a lot to learn and you need to really invest your time into your business for it to work for you. I have loved every moment, but I honestly have never worked so hard with such dedication in my life! I am determined to do what it takes to make my Style Coaching™ business a success.
Your website photos are beautiful… do you have any advice for people preparing for their first photoshoot?
If you’re a personal stylist who is just starting in the field, get a professional photographer to take photos for your website. In the grand scheme of start-up costs for a personal stylist, it is not a lot to spend. Keep your photos for your website in line with your brand and your personal style.
What is the biggest challenge you think you will face as an Style Coach™ in your area?
I think it’s the same everywhere: getting your name and brand out there. With social media now as the main advertising, there are competitors wherever you look. However, nobody is YOU and that’s what makes you unique!
Have you had any especially memorable moments (good or challenging) with your clients so far?
The most memorable moment has to be dressing a client for collecting her OBE from HRH The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William at Buckingham Palace. I cried when I saw her photo, knowing the journey we had been through together to find the perfect outfit for the special occasion. Other proud moments include running three successful personal styling events in my local area, including a catwalk show and also being featured in magazines and online as a Style Columnist. Also being selected by brands for campaigns including JD Williams. In the summer, I was invited to London to Pineapple Studios for a private lesson for their ‘try something new’ summer campaign and I was interviewed for a promotional video. There have been lots more but those are some of my highlights in 2019.
Where would you like to see your personal styling business in the next three years?
I am still in the infancy of my first trading year as a personal stylist and I have achieved more than I could have imagined in that time! But, I hope to keep growing onwards and upwards, and helping people rediscover their style and grow in confidence.
If you could share one piece of career advice with our readers who are thinking about becoming professional Style Coaches™, what would it be?
Know your audience and serve them. As my business coach and celebrity stylist taught me ‘the riches are in the niches’.
To find out more about Janine’s personal styling work and to follow her career journey in the future, visit her website www.ownyourstyleuk.co.uk. Be sure to check out her blog along with details of all her styling services and upcoming styling events. You can also book a discovery call. It’s a great way to discover how Janine can help you with your own style and confidence challenges!