Alexandra Suzanne Greenawalt makes people look good for a living, as a personal stylist. It’s a job that plenty of girls playing dress up would love to aspire to, if they only knew it was an option.
Greenawalt didn’t originally set out to start her own styling business. But she was once one of those girls playing dress up, and knew that she wanted to be involved in fashion somehow. She said in an email interview with Small Business Trends:
“It took me awhile to figure out that it could be an actual profession. I would read fashion magazines but I couldn’t figure out how I would fit into the equation.”
Prior to starting her personal styling business, Greenawalt worked in the public relations field, as publisher of an online style magazine, and as a fashion stylist for photo shoots. She also majored in French in college, even though she had no real intention of using that degree in any conventional career oriented way. She just knew that it would get her to Paris, where she could try to break into the fashion industry.
Now, she focuses on working individually with real women (as opposed to fashion models) to help them look their best.
Though her days vary, Greenawalt said that working with clients normally involves several steps. First, she helps them define their style. Then they sort existing items, shop for clothing and accessories, go to fittings and style outfits and accessories together. She even has clients who fly to New York from all over the world to shop with her.
But it’s not all about playing dress up, though that is certainly part of her job. She said that other skills, particularly business related skills, are essential to making it as a stylist:
“Most stylists starting out don’t realize they need business skills to survive, and a killer website… Just posting your hourly rates doesn’t bring clients rushing to you.”
She recommends that anyone interested in building a career as a stylist should get savvy in things like marketing, SEO, sales, promotions, and building a Web presence.
Aside from learning about business, Greenawalt also received formal training in color and shape analysis, which helps her more scientifically determine what looks good and why. But she does admit that having a natural eye for style helps.
Though it’s been a long road from a young girl playing dress up to a professional stylist, Greenawalt said that helping women find their style and confidence makes it all worth it.