Are you championing independent businesses?
Through my feature, Lula Belle Meets, I'm championing independent businesses and finding out what drives people to become self employed.
Lula Belle Meets: Beth Goodrham, founder of Beth Goodrham Personal Stylist
You'll remember that I attended the first Buy My Wardrobe event held outside of London, in Birmingham, and it was here where I caught up with Beth, who was on hand at the event to give ladies advice on how to get the best out of their wardrobes as well as advice on the purchases they were making that day.
Where did the idea for Beth Goodrham Personal Stylist come from?
In 2009 I decided to retrain as a Personal Stylist. Up until then I was a successful lawyer, being 1 of only 50 in England who specialised in reviewing Miscarriages of Justice. I felt that I wanted to do something that was more creative. As much as I loved my job, I also wanted to explore the idea of running my own business and where, being a stylist, it could take me. I had a light bulb moment, realising that for me, being a stylist ticked all of my boxes, both professionally and creatively. From thereon in there was no stopping me.
How did you develop your idea?
I attended a personal styling course with the NHJ Style Academy in London, which is run by Nicky Hambleton-Jones. Through the course I developed my knowledge and skills around personal styling, so that I could be confident when selling my services to a client.I'd always wanted to run my own business and doing this with something that I am passionate about, such as fashion, seemed like the perfect idea.
Was it easy to set up the business?
Well I have three children and so it was never going to be easy, but I felt that the course really gave me a good grounding and I felt confident I had a business concept for which there was a demand. So no, it wasn’t easy especially as I was providing what was seen then, at least, as a luxury service, during a recession.
What are your philosophies?
I want everyone to be inspired to create the wardrobe that works for them! It doesn't matter what age or size you are, my drive is to give my clients the confidence to make informed choices in order to develop a unique wardrobe that can work for any season and occasion. Not only that I want them to step out of the door and feel confident that they are wearing the clothes rather than the clothes wearing them. My philosophy is to style each client according to their figure, their lifestyle and their budget.
What is the USP of your business?
Well there is only me and so it is up to me to make my clients feel relaxed and to teach them how to style themselves. It is important that I really understand their style dilemmas, which my legal training has really helped me to do. They need to be able to relate to me and given that I have worked in a professional environment, that I have three children that I am a working Mum and juggling lots of balls, I think clients are able to do that. I also hope that they realise that my fashion feet are very much on the ground!
Who would you say are your competitors?
There are quite a few people who provide personal styling services, but I feel I bring a more personal touch. For me it is about building and maintaining a relationship with my clients, which is what sets me apart from the department stores who offer styling services. My background also means that I have a structured and analytical approach to styling, which brings results – and hopefully my blog demonstrates my creativity.
What is your strategy for telling people about your Personal Styling business?
I started a blog in 2009 after reading an article in Woman & Home magazine. I was on holiday at the time but when I got back I immediately set up my blog, Style Guille. I thought it would be a great way to tell people about my styling business. I use it to take daily photos of my outfits and describe the style and how my readers could achieve this. I also use other social media including Twitter and Facebook. I have also had a number of press and magazine articles written about me, which is a great way for people to find out about me and my business.
I also run events where I give personal style demonstrations, showing how people can put outfits together for their shape, what the trends are for the season, how to dress themselves slim, how to accessorise and so on.
What have been the highlights so far?
I was overwhelmed at being nominated for the Marie Claire fashion blog of the year award this year. Compared to other blogs, I didn’t have a large readership and so I thought I didn't stand a chance, but I was shortlisted to the last ten out of several thousand entrants and for me that was a great achievement, considering I hadn’t been blogging for that long.
It has also been great to have been featured in a number of top glossy women's magazines, including the May edition of Women & Home.
What does the future hold for your Personal Style business?
I hope my business continues to grow and expand, and with the opportunities that have come my way the future is looking very exciting.
What would you say to someone who has a business idea and wants to set up their own business?
Starting a business is so much harder than anyone would ever imagine. It saps your time, your energy and your resources but, in my view there would be nothing worse in life than looking back and thinking “what if?” So if, having created a business plan, having looked at the financials and all other variables you are convinced that is the way forward for you then I would say go for it. Just don’t expect to run before you can walk and be prepared to put in the hours! Most importantly, try to enjoy it too!
Thank you Beth, it just goes to show that you can always change direction, even if you already love what you are doing. There's never a right or wrong time to follow your dream, just do it when it feels right for you.
I'm championing independent businesses.......I hope you do too!
Lula Belle x