With 10+ years experience as a certified Professional Image Consultant trained by leading the Gold Investor the People award winning image consultancy in the U, Claire believes that clothes have a voice. She believes maximising one’s image and having a thorough understanding of the language of clothes, should be an integral part of every woman’s business plan. You only get one chance to make the right first impression and people buy people first.
Based in Brussels and bi-lingual, Claire helps individuals, especially women, have greater control over the impact they want to make to help them gain greater success at any business or social event.
She supports both individual clients as well as blue chip corporations such as AIG insurance, IMP DDP Advertising London, Chartis, Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, Procter & Gamble, FMC Corporation, Wella Studios, Johnson & Johnson, Continental Airlines, St John’s Internaitonal School. She has presented at the annual Jump Forum Brussels, the British Chamber of Commmerce and most recently at the European Council as part of the “Strategies For Success” event to mark International Woman’s Day 2013. She is also often featured in Elle Belgique.
What factors influenced your choice of career path?
My background is architecture and when working on the conceptual design phases I was very successful but when on site, it was a different story. I wasn’t taken seriously and I’m sure it was because I was a woman. When I moved to Belgium with a young baby I took a break and realised I didn’t want to go back to the same work fighting daily to be taken seriously so instead I trained as an image consultant. I know now what the mistakes were that I was making and chose to develop this career to spread the word and help other women.
Who has inspired you?
All the successful businesswomen I knew who managed to have a career and a family and be independent. These women still inspire me today.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I’m lucky to be able to help women look their best by showing them what flatters them most naturally and that’s a revelation for some women and wonderful to see. I also give them the tools so they can take control over the impact they want to make. I can see their selfconfidence increase instantly. It’s a very positive experience for both the client and myself. I literally see my clients shine infront of me and that happiness rubs off on me each time.
What are the greatest challenges?
My greatest challenge is spreading the word about what I do. There are many rubbish image consultants out there who are not professioinal which is why until now, I’ve relied on my clients coming to me through word of mouth recommendations which is the best of course. I offer so much more than your typical image consultant and need to work out how to get this message across to reach more women.
Tell us about one special success story
I would say my own story. I had little confidence when dealing with builders on site years ago but now know if I were to do that again, I’d have no problem. I’ve gone from someone who had no idea what to wear and who was too shy to read aloud at a family event to a woman who can present to an audience of 300 on stage with a microphone and be listened to. The training I received and the confidence I’ve gained from wearing clothes that suit me and knowing how to make the impact I want has changed my life. I feel I can do anything I want now.
What do your clients take away?
They take away knowledge and self-confidence that will last them a lifetime. They learn what suits them naturally and what to wear whatever the occasion. They take home notes and a leather bound wallet full of colour swatches which are all very useful but once you learn what suits you, you don’t need these long to remind you.
What should all women think about when they create their professional image?
Everything you put on says something about you. If clothes could speak, they must ask themselves what do they say about them. They need to take control over the impact they want to make and carry the appropriate amount of authority so they are perceived as somebody worth listening to whatever the occasion.
If you could give one piece of advice to any woman on their professional image what would that be?
Wear a jacket!
Don’t miss Claire’s webinar Build your Professional Image on Sunday May 26th at 9.00pm. Learning how to make the right first and lasting impressions should be an integral part of your business plan. Learn how to maximise your image and have more control over the impact you make. This includes a one to one personal professional image coaching session! 3Plus Members use your promotion code!
Don’t forget to read other interviews from our Women who Inspire series!