An image and colour consultant provides a service to the customer by analysing personal attributes such as hair, skin, and eyes, and suggesting what styles and colours will suit the individual. Colour consultants thus promote new fashions and co-ordinate outfits for the consumer. Colour consultants also provide information on current fashions, style trends, and the correct use of accessories to compliment an outfit. As in other jobs in the fashion industry, it is important for a colour consultant to study up-to-the-minute reports on the latest fashions in order to gain information on fashion trends and to give up-to-date advice. Consultants have to constantly confer with others who are in the fashion industry to know what information to impart about future and upcoming fashions. They may also conduct workshops for, as an example, models or teenagers, or even give demonstrations and talks at ladies’ breakfasts.
In 1980, Bernice Gerspacher-Tembo was encouraged (by her friends) to take part in the first ever Miss Namibia pageant – and she was crowned the first Miss Namibia! “An interesting and exciting time in the world of beauty, glamour and fashion followed, which convinced me that I wanted to pursue a career in the beauty industry.”
After studying cosmetology overseas, Bernice refined her skills through years of practical application, and in 1986 she followed her husband to Germany, and began training other people who wanted to pursue a career in beauty.
In 1997, Bernice returned to South Africa to teach and train those who want to become professional colour, style and image consultants; as well as to encourage students to start their own independent businesses.
The salary of a colour or image consultant varies, but a starting salary is generally in the region of R2000 per month. “But aim for your own business,” says Bernice. “Go big. Really big!” she emphasises. “The rewards are far greater than working for someone else.”
A colour and image consultant analyses people and gives positive suggestions on how to improve their image. “A career in this line is more than just advising a person on how to dress or how to apply make-up,” says Bernice. “Not only do we recommend what clothes, colour and style is right for each person, but we also assist people in developing their personalities – basically discovering oneself and learning how to present oneself in different situations. We teach people how to conceal negative aspects, and how to emphasise good features.”
Pros and cons
“The upside to this career is definitely that you will constantly be growing – personally as well as financially. There will always be something new to learn from each person you meet. It is also very rewarding to watch people who are usually very negative be transformed into someone who can approach negative aspects of life in a positive way.”
Required studies and experience
“One could start off this career by working in a cosmetics section of a department store. Imperative knowledge will be gained this way. But it is very important to get appropriate and thorough training through a recognised image consultancy training facility.”
“There isn’t really a specific personality type for this career. If the beauty industry interests you, you are sure to enjoy this career, not matter what personality type you have. In fact, we teach our students that everyone is a combination of personality types, and everyone can adapt and change to various circumstances.”
An average day
“The average day for a colour or image consultant involves seeing clients – often in the corporate world, such as giving presentations to employees of a company on appropriate work apparel; or helping the more wealthy with their wardrobe planning, and possibly even going shopping with them to help choose appropriate items.”
The best thing about the job
“People in South Africa generally like to look good, but a lot of people need help with this! I believe that people should not only look good, but should also feel good about themselves. Therefore, it is very pleasing to see someone ‘normal’ coming to us, but see a positively transformed, confident, and much happier person at the end of our consulting.”
The worst thing about the job
“There isn’t really a downside to this job, but the only thing that sometimes gets me down is if people come to me with a great deal of potential, but don’t make any effort to develop or grow. People are hardly ever informed of how important it is to develop a positive self-image. Everything today is about self-projection. Attending a course or workshop on image will help you in many areas of your life.”
“Everyone is different so you have to love who you are and make the best of what you have. Everyone wants to look and feel good, and if you know how to bring out the best in yourself, this will definitely build up self-esteem and self-confidence,” concluded Bernice.