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22-10-2011
  91
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Hi Bette T-- If you are styling someone for an event or are a personal shopper for someone for an event or even a personal stylist, do you charge even if you are just starting out? I know I read somewhere in this blog how you can get labeled as cheap and taken advantage of, does it pertain to this or would this be considered marketing and bettering your portfolio and services? If I did charge, how much is considered average for someone just starting out?

Thanks!

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22-10-2011
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Setting a cheap price will usually get you labled as a "cheap" stylist. Here's what usually happens:

A client hires you because they can't afford a more experienced stylist and they are looking for a "bargain". They like your work ... and refer you to other friends ... but they tell them that you "only chrarge $xxx per day". So you may get calls because of your rate, not your expertise. Fair enough ... if that is what you want to be known for.

Or, your previous client wants to hire a stylist again ... but this time they can afford more. So ... they don't consider you ... they think that they can get a better stylist if they pay more ... so they look for someone "better" and pay them a "better" rate.

Or ... they can't afford more, and call you again. But, by this time you have raised your rates ... so they don't hire you, because you prices went up.

It's almost impossible to raise your rates to the same client, at least very much .... so you really need to ask for what you are worth from the beginning, without appology.

In the begining it's very, very difficult until you build a reputation and have great references and a stong body of work.

So, you may have to start with bottom grazers paying a minimal amount. But don't expect bottom grazers to be a source of future income for repeat business or for referrals. You might not even want to name them as your references, because the new client (whom you are charging more) might be told that the old client likes your "cheap rates". So, consider it a one time deal and know that you must market yourself elsewhere when you are ready to raise those rates.

You don't develop your portfolio with clients. It's a marketing tool which represents you and your work. It's a cost of doing business, along with a professional looking web site, comp cards, mailers, advertising, etc. If you are develping your portfolio, you do it for free (as in a test) or you pay a good photographer and makeup artist, and use a pro model or someone who looks like a pro. You pick the best people you can find so that your portfolio looks professional.

I don't know what rates are for personal stylists in various places ... it varies, I'm sure.

What I know is the more or less average rates for a commercial photo stylist ... which is mainly what I do. I do some personal styling on the side ... but like most stylists, I don't want to quote the rates .. it's private.

But I will tell you this .... an experience working commercial photo stylist averages about $500 to $1,000 a day for photo shoots with good clients (stores, lines, designers, etc.). Assistants on these shoots usually get paid $100 to $150 a day. Personal stylists like Rachel Zoe charge as much as $6,000 a day ... for celebrities.

So ... a couple of things to consider. First ... who will you be working for? If it's for society women with wealth attending important affairs where their image is very important, then your rates should be pretty high ... they expect to pay a lot. If it's for middle class girls going to the prom ... well, they won't be able to pay nearly as much.

Secondly, consider the dollar value of the clothes they will be wearing. If it's from H&M and TwentyOne, that would indicate that you should be charging bargain rates, to match. But, if it's Chanel and Hermes ... well, top rates are in order.

So, you have to price yourself to get work from the clients you want ... find your niche and work towards that.

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Last edited by BetteT; 22-10-2011 at 02:30 PM.
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23-10-2011
  93
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Thank you for always taking the time to respond!
You definitely gave me a lot to think about. I know people who want me to shop for them, put outfits together for them that kind of thing after they saw my work. I'm just starting out but at the same time I don't want to be known as the stylist who is going to do all this for free because she needs more experience. These people could potentially help me bring in some good work so I don't want to turn them away because they don't want to pay so much for my service since they might be thinking I will do it for the experience. Do you think I should charge them still? Does it make sense to maybe, instead of a day rate, just take a percentage out of how much they are willing to pay for clothes or would I still be low-balling it?
This is so tricky!

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24-10-2011
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I think you need to charge them something reasonable. Charging a percentage won't work well ... because if it's a percentage of what they actually buy, they can work it out so they don't pay you for all the work you did. How? They just will tell you they don't want to buy anything that day or only buy one or two things, then go back to the store and buy what you brought to them, on their own.

At lease consider an hourly rate with something like a 3 or 4 hour minimum. You charge for time to look at what they already have (in their closet) in addition to time spent shopping and trying on clothes ... and returning, too.

If you shop for them, it's tricky. A lot of what you purchase will be returned (you need to pull about 4 or 5 times the amount of clothes, because of fit and to give your client a choice). So most stores will want your clients to buy at least 20% of what you pull and if they don't they will charge you the difference as a "restocking" fee. Espeically ... if they know you are a stylist.

At first, you can get away with it, if you don't return everything all the time and you don't tell them what you are doing. But computers keep records of the credit cards you use and how much you return. So, if it's the store's credit card, they will be alerted very quickly to the fact that you are becoming a serial returner and they will cancel your card for this ... unless you've made arrangements in advance, and agree to restocking fees. And they will even notice it sooner or later if you use bank credit cards. So ... if you shop in the same stores and want to avoid a restocking fee or a refusal to sell to you, and you have not made arrangments to pull for a client, it's best to rotate your cards. You'll need several.

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Last edited by BetteT; 24-10-2011 at 02:02 PM.
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28-10-2011
  95
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The buying and returning thing is so tricky. How does it work if a stylist has clients in other states, cities. Must they travel there or is there another way?
I was also wondering, when does a photographer pay for the stylist or is it always the client?

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29-10-2011
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Buying and returning when you go to other states ... you have to make arrangements in advance, advise them you are a stylist and ask what their policies are regarding pulling and returning. And you need to know the places to shop ... their merchandise ... in advance. And you have to stay long enough in that city, to do the returns, of course.


AS far as getting paid goes, it depends on the client and the arrangements the photographer has with the client. And it depends on who hired you for the shoot. Some photographers charge a flat fee to the client, then hire crew and pay them himself. (Hewill often make a profit from this, so it's important to get him to pay you your regular rates ... and if he wants, he may pass along a hight cost to the client.)

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06-11-2011
  97
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I urgently need your help and advice - I am going to make business cards for myself now and I do not know exactly what to write there.
I am studying now to become an art director/stylist. I was told I should get my business cards already, even though I am noone yet. But maybe that is true - I am meeting various people now and I never know who would maybe need an assistant one day or so.
I do not really have a portfolio as a stylist yet, but that's what I am working on right now. So, but this means, I do not have any website or blog to show my works yet, and I do not have anything to write on my business cards.
I also do some personal styling on the side for private clients, but that is really a word of mouth thing and whole i am still learning i do that cheaply, but i think it would be great to have business cards for that as well.
So, what do you think I should do and write on the cards? I was thinking about maybe making 2 different ones? but thats a bit stupid, no? I have no idea what to do! Or maybe i should just make a card for personal stylist right now and make for stylist/art director, when i will have built up my portfolio viewable online??
what would you do?

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06-11-2011
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oh and another thing - I am reading a book now "Mastering Fashion Styling" by Jo Dingemans - it is very useful. Most of the things are written on this thread already, but the book is just way more in depth. Definately recommending

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06-11-2011
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I think that until you are doing it on a regular basis (styling of any kind) it's best not to exaggerate too much ... or it could make you look bad.

I am not an expert on this ... it's just my personal opinion ... but it think a vey nice white card with your name and contact information (phone number, email and probably the city you live in) is sufficient and it can be used for any purpose.

If you meet someone after you have a conversation about any topic, such as the fact that you'd love to assist them or that maybe they might want to call upon you to do some personal styling, you can add that on the back of the card at the time you give it to them. Of course, make sure you always have a pen with you.

So your card might say something like this:

Gian-Franco
London
Call .... xx-xxx-xxxxxxxxx
Email ... gianfranco@email.com

And you would write something on the back like, "Fashion student, available to assist." or "Personal Styling" .... and also add a note about the date and where you met: "Talked with you at the Fashion Spot party on 06 Nov., 2011."

This you write while you are standing and talking to that person and then hand them your card to remember you by. They should remember you this way because it's unusual and personal, ... which is a good thing.

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Last edited by BetteT; 06-11-2011 at 07:58 PM.
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07-11-2011
  100
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Thanks for answering my questions BetteT! I have a question about crediting the photos that we style. Do we put our name and logo on the images when we post them on our website or fan page? How would you go about that? A friend even pointed out that the website should be placed on the photos as well in case the photos get shared. What do you think?
Thanks!

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07-11-2011
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Ask the photographer about crediting him on your site ... he owns the copyrights which means he owns and controls the use of any photos he took. You are not the copyright holder ... nor is the makeup artist or the model ... only the photographer.


Do not put your name or logo on any photo unless you took the picture. That is altering his photo ... and unless he said you may do that, it's bad form to put your name on his photos. It's very unprofessional and could cause a photographer not to want to work with you again.

Sometimes a photographer will want to be credited on your site or will place their own watermark on the photos for you ... so you must follow their instructions ... since they own the photos.

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09-11-2011
  102
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Hey BetteT, have you ever done pulls from department stores? Do you ask a manager or go through corporate?

Also, Ive been using pull slips but one line asked for a letter of responsibility -- I thought they were supposed to be the same thing, so does a pull slip still fully protect the stylist (and designer I guess) when pulling for a magazine?

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09-11-2011
  103
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you usually go through 'studio services' to pull at a dept store---it's the same as the personal shopping dept in most stores...

what is a 'pull slip'...?

a letter of resp is a letter from the mag that states that you(the stylist) are commissioned by them to do a shoot and that they will be responsible if the clothing is not returned in the same condition that it was loaned in and by the time it is supposed to be returned.
*this protects both the showroom and the stylist
that is what is usually expected at showrooms for an editorial loan...

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09-11-2011
  104
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^Oh is that what studio services means? I've seen it a ton of times when researching labels.

With that said, we don't have a personal shopping department at any of our stores, so would we go through human resources or something?

Oops, I meant pull letter. I took a couple of pull letters I've received from magazines, and one I found online as an example, and fashioned one for the magazine I work for now (which is brand new). I sent this to one jewelry label and they said they wanted a letter of responsibility. I haven't had trouble with any other labels accepting it, so it made think pull letter and letter of responsibility are two different things...

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10-11-2011
  105
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well- i still don't know what a pull letter is...
can you post one here for an example -?

then i can tell you what the difference is...
it probably has to do with the wording...

i think you should just go to the store and ask a floor manager who you would speak to regarding borrowing or renting clothes for a photoshoot-plain and simple.

i don't think the people in human resources would have a clue...
they basically just handle stuff like health insurance and vacation days, etc...
they barely know what anyone actually does at the place...

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