1. You have to be a lingerie expert.
So, what qualifies you as a lingerie expert? For starters, you have to understand what lingerie is, where it is made and understand the different levels of quality, style and fit. You can always start to research lingerie, but that’s just the beginning. The true knowledge comes from working hands-on with products and understanding what is appropriate for the unique needs of each woman who will be wearing it. Also meeting the designers, interacting with vendors and having relationships with boutique owners over time can also help you have a broad knowledge of the latest trends and innovations. The emphasis being place on the fact that real understanding only happens over a longer period of time. Like in any industry, you have to stick with it and absorb all the nuances and details that will give you the best solutions to share with your clients.. The lesson here, is that there are no shortcuts to becoming an expert in anything but if you’re determined enough, anything is possible.
2. You have to be current.
That is to say that you must be connected to what’s happening in the world of lingerie and fashion. You can read the industry magazines and attend the trade shows which will give you an abundance of current information. That should be a considered a routine part of your work flow. The best way to stay current is to connect with your relationships in the industry. Visit the boutiques, speak with the owners, pick their brains since they’re the one’s who have an more immediate need to spot the next trends. Their sales and ultimately their survival depends on it. Shop the specialty boutiques, the high-end stores and try things on. Experiment with your own lingerie wardrobe and make sure that you have tested all the new and hot products that come out.
3. You have to have a strong sense of personal style.
Developing your own personal style takes work and lots of it. Taking on the challenge of helping a woman you’ve never met before find her personal style takes almost a sixth sense. You have to own your opinion and be willing to stand behind it. It takes a certain degree of confidence to form an opinion about someone else. What sets you apart as a professional is the ability to deliver your honest opinion to your client. It’s always a risk. The client may find flaw in it and may judge you based on it but that’s where you earn your money. Not every client is going to be a match for who you are and what your opinion is so remember that all you can do is be true to yourself and your professional opinion. Don’t ever forget that the reason you became a lingerie consultant is because you have the gift, which is your sense of personal style and the ability to educate women. You just need to listen to it and build up the confidence to honestly but tactfully deliver to a client.
4. You have to be a “lingerie consultant”.
Depending on what your strengths are, you may want to begin with an approach that you believe suits you best in the eyes of the client. For example, you may have a technical approach, a value-minded approach, or a stylistic-centered approach. A technical approach would be to focus on sizes and fit first, making sure you know all the variation in measurements that the boutiques may have and matching that to your client. A value-minded approach would be to find out what top boutiques are having sales and emphasizing the idea of looking great while saving your client money. A stylistic approach would be to focus on a set style which usually is based on your taste level and educating your client to upgrade to the appropriate level of quality that suits her own personal style. Since you’re the expert and you have a client that is looking for a strong sense of what’s hot, you may want to lead with that strength. You are hired to consult, educate and guide the client based on her personal desires, needs and comfort level.
5. You have to be compassionate.
Compassionate lingerie consulting with a client is a dynamic experience. What solidifies the experience for your client is how well you “got” her. You have to have the observational skills of a detective and the empathetic skills of good therapist. What is she saying in between her words? You have to listen to her words but even more importantly hear what she’s saying in her body language. What kind of reaction does she have when you show her different sets? Are you genuinely feeling her out and learning about who she is? Can you gather what her vulnerabilities are to help her through the resistance that is sure to come up? Can you put together a picture of the excitement and level of satisfaction she wants to feel through her new lingerie wardrobe. Every client is a story and they’re coming to you to make the sequel of their sensual life better and more exciting than the original. Being a compassionate lingerie consultant will help the client feel more at ease in her own skin and also inspire her to be gentle to herself. Once a woman feels more comfortable, she can fully explore and even celebrate the beautiful reflection in the mirror as she begins to “play” and flaunt her unique beauty. Having a compassionate consultant can completely change the way a woman feels about herself and can have a lasting effect in regards to her self-esteem.
The term “Compassionate Lingerie Consulting” and “Compassionate Lingerie Consultant” was coined by Margaret Shrum in describing the practice of her business “The Lingerie Diet”.