Who do you know? And I’ll tell you who you are. Let’s set the stage: No matter your business, if you are building any kind of brand that aims to be affiliated with celebrities, tastemakers, and the most influential figures in the world, you’ll have to know a thing or two about NETWORKING. There’s one thing celebrities love more than products, pitches, or pictures: it’s their stylists. Stylists work on carefully structured networks of referrals that only the most high-caliber and on-trend entrepreneurs maintain. We have brought in three of those stylists to impart wisdom to anyone out to thrive in this competitive market! Let’s meet them: Jordan Foster, whose clients have included Ashley Graham, Lily Aldridge, and Karolina Kurkova, Lisa and Tyler J. (Styling duo), who have dressed the likes of stars as big as Elton John, and, rounding out our powerhouse list, Ariana Weisner, routinely styling stars like Elizabeth Chambers and finding herself on sets that include Kate Hudson, Nicole Kidman, and Penelope Cruz, just to name a few!
You see, these experts know what they’re doing, which is why we’ve asked them to share their insight with anyone looking to build a business that appeals to the mainstream industry of Hollywood:
1. Hard Work Will Get You Started (There Is No Substitute for It)
- “Who you know can get your foot in the door, but hard work will build your reputation and sustain your career.” (Styling Duo: Lisa & Tyler J.)
- “You can’t solely rely on your network; you do have to have the talent as well. If you do beautiful work and you have real talent, then you will somehow find your way to the top.” (Ariana Weisner)
2. However, Knowing the Right People Will Speed Up That Hard Work (Maybe Even Shave Off a Few Years)
- “Take every meeting.” The meetings, the outings, and all of the opportunities to meet with people who “might” have access to the next step in your career: take them all. “You never know which is going to lead you to your new favorite thing,” or separate you from the millions of other brands like yourself. “There is also no substitute for face-to-face interactions.” Get used to being a busy bee in this industry. (Jordan Foster)
- “Everyone gets nervous or becomes socially awkward at times.” Remember, meeting people is an actual skill that needs sharpening, so don’t get down on yourself if, at first, you don’t succeed! “The more you put yourself out there, the easier it becomes to socialize.” (Ariana Weisner)
3. Social Media MATTERS
- Social proof and social capital make a huge difference to prospective clients. “Social Media allows you to connect with people more easily than ever. In the world of ‘celebrity,’ maintaining your platforms as well as engaging with others is a non-negotiable when it comes to networking. “Always interact with and maintain your relationships online; it’s where a big part of this fast-paced industry lives.” (Styling Duo: Lisa & Tyler J.)
- In particular, on Instagram, you need to post every piece of your work. You need to show brands (and partners) etc. appreciation on social media, and you need to tell a story that a person wants to keep coming back to. (Jordan Foster)
Disclaimer: Beyond the Glitz and Glam
Whether you’re working directly with celebrities or just trying to appeal to them: all three of our stylists answered the same when asked about styling as a business:
“The constant Emails, organizing, and time put in to put together fittings (called “schlepping”,) FAST PACED environments, often 10 things at once and a few interns quitting along the way. It’s NOT as glamorous as people think! It takes countless hours to perfect the systems involved. That is not unique in this industry; it is the norm.”
As a business owner wanting to break into mainstream media, be prepared for the pace, follow the above advice, and, as a bonus: “Be nice. Being a nice person gets you further than you think. And also…. It just feels good!” (Jordan Foster)Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.