Okay, so I know it sounds crazy and you're probably sitting there right now saying you can't afford to work for free as you've got bills to pay and mouths to feed. But, believe it or not, offering your services for free is actually one of the best ways you can boost your styling business. Now, of course, I'm not saying work just for free, but volunteering your time and offering pro-bono services is such an effective marketing tool that I recommend you give it some serious thought.
Personal stylists rely heavily on word-of-mouth to promote their services and attract new clients. In fact, you'll find that the majority of your clients will find you through hearing from someone else rather than any paid advertising you may do. Offering your services for free is a great way to get your name out into the community and attract paying clients. Now obviously I'm not saying that you work just for free, but here are a few ways that you can do this to boost your business.
Volunteer for a local charity/event - Look for local charities in your area that you can help with. many charities hold fashion shows and this is a perfect thing for you to offer to work on for free. In exchange for your time, most charities will add you business name to their event promotions so you'll get some free advertising. There are also charities such as Dress for Success that provide clothing and styling for women looking to enter the workplace. This is a fantastic charity to get involved with and not only may it lead to referrals, but it's also great to include on your resume.
Offer free workshops for local groups - If you look in your local community you'll find that there's a group for everything, and within those groups are potential clients. By offering to run a free workshop at a group meeting you get the opportunity to show off your skills and expertize to those potential clients. You could maybe run a workshop at a local weight loss group showing how to dress to hide those problem areas and how to create proportion and balance. Get creative and think about where there may be potential clients.
Team up with a local boutique - find a small clothing boutique in your town and offer to provide a couple of hours free personal styling/personal shopping event for their customers in exchange for being able to promote your business. Many small boutiques will love this idea as it's also a great way for them to attract more customers. If the event is successful then they may even want to hold it on a regular basis at which point you can actually negotiate a percentage of sales for your services.
So, now can you see how working for free can actually boost your styling business? Not as crazy and idea as you thought, is it :-)
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