Interview with Philadelphia Personal Stylist and Image Consultant Rachel Nachmias, Best Dressed Consulting
I find your line of work very fascinating. How did you get involved in style and image consulting?
I went to Parsons in NYC for fashion design and had every intention of becoming a designer. As it turned out, 2009, when I graduated, was a hard year for the industry and I ended up kind of taking a turn into freelance costume design. I really enjoyed it and I felt that it capitalized on one of my greatest skills which is communicating something about a person (or in this case character) visually, so that in a blink of an eye you get what they’re about. But in the end, I found the industry itself, with all the negotiating unions, director egos, and endless waiting to see if something was going to go on as scheduled or not, frustrating.
At the same time, I had been dressing my friends and family and helping them go through their closets for years, even before fashion school and I found it really rewarding. My mom was my first client, she had this moment when she reached out for help and we threw away 75% of what she had and spent $5000 on a new wardrobe and it totally transformed her life. After that, I felt confident that if I could do it for a tough customer like my mom, I could help anyone with their style who needed me.
But I never really understood how stylists met their clients (the ones they weren’t related to!), until I found out about Personal Color Analysis, and the online following around that service. I figured if I got trained in it, clients would seek me out for that and I would be able to create a relationship and keep helping them. To make a long story short, that’s exactly what happened, and how Best Dressed was born.
You just released your latest book “The Curated Wardrobe”. Can you give us some insight on what the book is about and how the response has been so far?
The huge trend we’re seeing in fashion and personal style these days is minimalism. Women are overwhelmed, they have too much in their closets and yet not enough that works. Probably there is no symbol of this movement towards less more pervasive than the Capsule Wardrobe. But a lot of the reference material out there on the topic is totally counterproductive. It ends up having women trying to squeeze themselves and their wardrobes into a highly formulaic equation that -get this – almost always ends up with them buying more!
So I wrote this book to help women crack the code and discover their own personal wardrobe formula that works seamlessly with their lifestyle, their personality, their preferences, and their physical features. I wanted women who have tried and failed to create a Capsule to know that dream of being able to just roll out of bed and grab an outfit that looks great with minimal effort and no drama is in reach, and that all they need is the right strategy.
It’s not every day that someone wakes up and thinks “I need to hire an image consultant”. How do you go about finding potential clients and what kinds of strategies do you use to market your services to them?
Perhaps they don’t think “I need to hire an image consultant” but they sure as heck think “I need to DO something about my wardrobe – I just can’t live like this anymore!” Usually after an hour of throwing everything they own on their bed and taking more outfits on and off than they can count just trying to get out of the house in the morning.
My clients are simply those that don’t have the time to try to solve their wardrobe problems by trial and error and endless reading and research over the course of many years. They just need to get it solved so they can move on and stop spending all this time and energy. I’ve already done all the leg work and have a process that gets them there much faster.
There is some truth to the notion that a lot of women don’t realize hiring someone to help them is even an option. Many women assume this is something exclusively for celebrities and the people who get picked for tv makeovers. So there is a certain amount of education to be done. Beyond that, marketing works how it normally does – of course social media is huge. You would not believe how much women love talking about their style problems on social media. Their husband doesn’t care (or at least doesn’t have much to add that’s helpful) and they’re embarrassed to tell their real life friends, but get them in a facebook group that’s a safe space and they are riveted. One amazing thing about this field is that it’s fun and entertaining, so getting eyes on what I’m doing is fairly cheap and easy.
Explain to our readers what one can expect when hiring you – what are the steps required to get started and how long do you typically work with your clients to transform their fashion and style choices?
So the one thing that’s a constant is that I take my clients by application only. I know it seems a little out there for a stylist to have an application process, but I’m always overbooked and so I need to make sure that I’m only working with the top percentage of prospective clients who I can get the best, most transformative results for. It’s nothing super intensive, basically just a questionnaire and an interview so I can get a feel for whether I can help that person.
Beyond that, if I decide to offer a woman a spot in my practice, I offer them whatever will best fit their needs and get the most direct solution to the problem for that particular person. I am all about expediting the transformation process, but it’s a partnership with the client. I recently had a client who happened to be at two marketing events with me a week apart. We worked together over the weekend in between and other people who were at both events couldn’t get over the change. They didn’t know she was working with me, but just kept saying “You look great, what did you do??” I’m not saying that there wasn’t more to be done after that in terms of making the transformation sustainable long term, but that’s how fast huge shifts can happen when the client shows up fully committed.
What’s in store for you and the Best Dressed brand in 2018?
Some very exciting stuff! As always, I’m upleveling what I’m offering to match with the clientele that’s coming in. As a service professional I think you have to be open to constantly taking in feedback and tweaking to make things that much better, faster, and more impactful for your clients. I have some women who are getting more and more in the public eye that I’m working with, so that’s exciting.
Beyond that, starting this year some of my methods are going to be in use in Europe by style professionals there, so it’s really exciting knowing that women who don’t speak my native language and who I would never have access to are going to be able to get the benefit of everything I’ve been creating for the first time.