Irish Stylist and Creative Director Spotlight: Chloe Markham
This week on the blog, we hear from Chloe Markham and her passion for all things fashion. Chloe has since returned to the Emerald Isle, where she launched her Business at the beginning of 2019. From her Studio in the West of Ireland she hosts Photoshoots, Campaigns, Professional Content as well as Bespoke Styling services for various Brands and Clients. Learn more about Chloe with our blog post below.
What is your background/experience in business?
I have worked as a Creative Director and Stylist for a number of years in various countries such as Australia, London and finally the Emerald Isle and I am here to stay! I have worked in different areas within the fashion industry along the way which I feel has allowed me to better understand the skills needed to make each work effectively. I have area managed boutiques, worked as State Visual Merchandiser designing layout of stores as well as training staff. My role changes from Fashion stylist to Personal stylist on a weekly basis, working on shoots for bands and designers to styling clients through personal styling appointments be at my studio, on location or online.
Why did you start your business?
From a young age I had dreamed of working for myself and building my own business from scratch.The fashion industry always intrigued me and is where my true passion lies, so when the time came to return home for good I took the leap. I wanted to offer an array of creative services to brands and businesses at an affordable level and really wanted to build on an industry presence in the West of Ireland.As well as this I am extremely passionate on working with clients in defining their unique style whether that is for professional or personal reasons. I wanted to offer styling services that everyone could avail of no matter their budget, lifestyle or geographical location may be.
How has COVID affected your business?
Covid has stopped me from carrying out services such as group shoots, style consultations at my studio, personal shopping apps etc however this has made me refocus on what I can do remotely. I have been able to offer style consultations and styling services online as well as carry out product shoots, content creation, try on hauls etc with brands products in a way to keep not only mine but their business and online brand alive. I feel very lucky to be able to do this and it has definitely kept me busy.
What is your favourite part of running a business?
The creative freedom I get to have each week. I really cannot say enough about it.When I take on work there is a certain briefing from the brand, but they trust my work and are happy for me to come up with the finished project myself which is such an enjoyable process. As a personal stylist seeing the confidence boost clients get after an app is honestly the best feeling. I always say defining your style and putting that little bit of effort into your image is a form of self care and not vanity! If you feel good about yourself you will automatically be a better version of yourself. I get to choose when and how I want to work and that work/life balance is something that is very important to me.
What channels do you use for sales?
Social media is my life line for work and advertising what I do. Instagram would be my main advertising outlet but I am also part of some amazing networking groups which are extremely beneficial and I love getting to know other entrepreneurs.
How did you determine your business model?
I started off slowly sharing my styling tips online, and analysing the response and trying to find out do people trust me as a stylist and feel confident in my knowledge. When I could define exactly what areas were getting the most interest I began to develop the necessary services based off my experience and in particular if I knew these were not offered much at local level. I also could see that so many local retailers and boutiques had impressive product offerings but with little to none online presence and knew this was an area I could help them with. I sat down and started to write down my findings and the model grew organically from here.
How do you market your products?
Online and networking groups as well as speaking at local events were all the building blocks of getting my name and brand known to the public and sharing what I offer. I share styling content and knowledge for free through my online channels to help people get an insight to me as a stylist. I feel its from here they are then able to decide if they would like to work with me or not. This is gives them an idea of what I can do for them. What I offer often changes and I am happy to adapt to brands needs.
What are the top resources you’ve found helpful while running your business?
Free advertising outlets such as Facebook and Instagram. I have all my services on my website along with independent booking system for clients which works well. Networking channels like Boss Ladies and more, I feel are such an effective way to meet and engage with like minded people and build on a community that benefits all.
Is running a business different to what you thought?
There is definitely a lot more behind the scenes and admin that you do not think of beforehand but it is all just as important as the fun side. I would consider myself a very hardworking person so try to stay on top of all areas as best as possible.
What does your day to day look like?
Oh always different. I like to start the day with fresh air and exercise , it really sets me up for a productive day and I honestly don’t feel the same if I cant fit this in! I like to dedicate Monday entirely to admin to catch up on anything missed from the previous week and be clear on the plan for the week ahead. The rest of my week is usually a mix of style consultations, personal shopping or hosting shoots in studio. I carry out a lot of try on hauls showcasing diff brands/boutiques so I would usually have those booked in each week. I love working with Irish brands as much a possible. Covid really bringing a focus on supporting local is something I absolutely love and will be encouraging this throughout.
Who inspires you in business?
Other female entrepreneurs. I know a little cheesy but in recent years there has been a real jump in female entrepreneurs and females in business being such a support network for each other and I really find this extremely inspiring. I am part of a small group of local female entrepreneurs and we look to each other for advice, queries, if we are feeling demotivated, run ideas by each other and its such an uplifting little group that I am proud to be part of. I think when you reach out to work, support or collaborate with others then amazing things happen and new opportunities are presented.
Do you have any advice you have for someone looking to set-up their own business?
If it is something you have thought about for some time, done some research on and are truly passionate about, then absolutely go for it. Any business needs to be financially viable but this cannot be the main focus.I really believe if there is a genuine interest in that area that comes naturally I think this will be an amazing driving force for determination, leading to success because a passion isn’t something you jus give up on.