I have been extremely fortunate in that I decided to start my business whilst I was at University. I pretty much gave myself a two year lead in time to get established with a reputation – the crucial time in any business start up.
Essentially I have a business head, finance skills and a strong work ethic. University was there to help me refine my industry skills, become more fashion focused and get me contacts. Additionally, it has meant I haven’t had to survive exclusively off the income of my business which is just as well because TF (time for….) has definitely kept me productive and means I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented people I have ever met.
Many of the industry people I work with have other employment – whether it be related to their creative work, another career direction or as a stop gap income. I have been surviving off a student loan, which though far from substantial has at least kept a roof over my head and just enough meals on the table to see me through.
The thing is, this has to change. In May I am no longer a student. This means that the business will have grown its wings and flown from the nest and I must live off the earnings that come from it. Essentially it means my TF work is, in all likelihood, going to dry up, which will be a sad thing because many of the people I work with are not going to be able to afford my rates. I am still going to be take on selective TF work but it will be limited to the ones I can’t afford to turn down.
Design wise I have never had to work for free. But I fear the styling projects, the bit I enjoy most, are going to have to take a backseat as the design work becomes my main income. The reason is because there is always someone behind you willing to do the same job for little more than portfolio images – even if they aren’t as good as you are.
It seems to be a standard part of this industry – like so many others – that you will have to work for nothing at some point or almost wholly to keep yourself up to date, circulating and competitive within your chosen field. Hopefully I will get enough design work to continue with selective styling projects but equally I know I am going to have to turn down some work.
But if you do decide to book me for hard cash what are you going to get for your £20ph?
Well for a start you will get someone that won’t let you down. I have a strong work ethic. I do NOT cancel shoots except in the case of the most life threatening unavoidable situations. If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing properly, that is my motto. It comes from years of experience as a professional PA in London working for Directors and CEO’s. I work hard and I work to high standards and I take it very seriously.
If you want a stylist to turn up on the day with clothing, accessories and hair styling pieces I will do this;
If you want a stylist to create the whole look pre-shoot, I will do this;
If you want a stylist to organise the admin of the shoot, book the venue, the models, the MUA, the photographer and coordinate everything in advance as well as the above, I will do this and do it well.
If you want references, you can have them. If you want proof of my work, look at my website.
I can’t say much more than that. I hope that the results speak for themselves. Many of my shoots aren’t just me turning up on the day with a suitcase. It can be weeks, sometimes months, of pre-admin communication and coordination to make sure that everything runs smoothly on the day.
So that’s what you get for your £20ph. Still don’t think I’m worth it?