Meet Kath, a seasoned stylist whose journey from organizing glamorous events for top cosmetic brands to embracing her lifelong passion for fashion has been nothing short of inspiring. At 40, fueled by a love for image and a knack for pairing colors effortlessly, Kath transitioned into personal styling, where she found not just a job, but a true calling. Now, with over a decade of experience under her belt, Kath’s mission goes beyond simply dressing her clients—she aims to empower and uplift, one outfit at a time.

Q: Hi Kath, great to be speaking with you, am really looking forward to hearing all about you and how you juggle everything with your stylist business.  I would love to know, what did you do before becoming a stylist?

A: Office manager – I worked for a colour cosmetic manufacturer. As our head office was based in Milan a large proportion of my role was to organise travel to and from Milan for the marketing team and also organise hotel and chauffeur’s for our UK customers when they were visiting our production sites. Clients included: Charlotte Tilbury, M & S, Boots, Soap & Glory, Gerrard International, Topshop, Ciate, Virgin, Body Shop and many more. As the UK office was based in North Devon (South West) and our customers were mostly based in London or Nottingham we had to take our products to London (more central) twice or three times a year to showcase the latest innovation in make up and skincare.  It was my responsibility to find and book venues, and to organise the whole week, including the shipping of products, ordering lunches and booking restaurants and travel. Following this the customers would make a list of things they needed to see again before deciding what products their brands needed. I would then ship this to the customer.   This was the part of the job I enjoyed most as I got to see and try all of the latest innovations in skin and make up before it went to market. I also had to file away the products by formula and categorise and catalogue everything.  This very much highlighted the love I had for make up and skincare and it has continued to grow.

Q: Wow, your journey from managing the bustling operations of a colour cosmetic manufacturers to becoming a stylist is truly fascinating! What age were you when you decided to become a stylist? 

A: 40, I have always loved anything to do with image. I was always doing my hair, looking after my nails, my skin and loved make up and colour from as far back as I can remember. I had a reputation (even at school) for always looking put together and co-ordinated! In the 80’s I remember wearing headbands around my forehead and not on my head, I had a cool pair of bright blue cobalt ankle boots with chains on them that I loved. No-on else had a pair! I always liked to consider my skin tone and hair colour against the clothes I was wearing and I have always liked putting certain colours together it seems to come naturally to me. It also makes me feel better. I do the same in my home too. A friend of mine showed me an advert in the back of a magazine to study to become a Style Coach and the rest is history.

Q: It sounds you were are a natural Kath from the get go, colours & style were a big part of your life from a young age. I am intrigued to know how does this fit in to your life?

A: I was doing my business full time but now I fit it around my part time job . I am lucky enough to have a degree of flexibility in my employed role so that I can move things about to accommodate a client that can’t fit into my client days.  But ordinarily I work on my business Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays and work in my employed role Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.  I check my emails every day and respond within 48 hours at the latest. I am more productive having set times. I also find it very important to fit in exercise as this is where I can clear my head.  I generally do this several evenings a week and on a Sunday morning.

Q: Kath your ability to seamlessly integrate your passion for styling into your life alongside your part-time job showcases your dedication and organizational skills, you do so well.  What do you think is the best thing about being a personal stylist?

A: It doesn’t feel like work, it’s my passion.  I feel like I can really be myself, it’s my chance to be creative.  Most importantly I get to help people and I can see the difference it makes to each and every person I have helped.

Q: Your enthusiasm for personal styling is truly infectious! It’s evident that you’ve found your calling in a profession that allows you to express your creativity while making a meaningful impact on others. What’s been the greatest challenge in your styling career so far?

A: Probably myself!  (Imposter syndrome) I get concerned that where I live restricts where I can take clients shopping. Also, finances, not enough of a regular income from it however I have adapted and evolved my business a lot over the years and especially since Covid, so far I have managed to make it work as a business for 11.5 years even if I have had to go back to a Part time job to help give an extra boost to my income.  This only makes me enjoy the business more.

Q: It’s inspiring to see how you’ve turned obstacles into opportunities for growth and continued to thrive in your styling career. So, now for more of a personal question, how would you describe your own style?

A: VARIED!! a mix of classic and dramatic most of the time and casual when I’m off duty and even then I will always wear a touch of make up and have a tidy hair style!

Q: Your eclectic style, blending classic elegance with a touch of drama, love it!  Now turning to the community, you’re part of our stylist community, what do you enjoy the most about this?

A: The community as a whole, the support and encouragement and having like-minded ladies to bounce ideas off, share tips and experiences with.  It’s great to know there are other ladies out there who struggle sometimes too and we all come together to support and encourage each other.  I never feel alone despite working alone.

Q: That’s great to hear, Kath, the sense of camaraderie and mutual support within our stylist community is truly invaluable. Knowing that we can lean on each other for advice, encouragement, and shared experiences creates a supportive environment where we all thrive and grow, united by our passion for styling. If you have completed any training courses with The Image Consulting Company, how did you find it?

A: I did the colour analysis, virtual wardrobe and virtual shopping sessions after lockdown, I think they were in May and Sept 21. I really loved the training and the handouts that went with them were invaluable too. I especially loved being part of the face to face fashion shoot that we all did in 2022 although this wasn’t a training course!

Q: It sounds like you had an enriching and fulfilling experience with the training sessions post-lockdown Kath thats great to hear. What advice would you give someone who was considering personal styling as a job? 

A: I would say if it’s your absolute passion then go for it BUT make sure you do your customer research first, KNOW your niche and don’t expect instant success……also be resilient.

Q: Your advice speaks volumes Kath, to the aspiring stylists out there. Pursuing your passion is key, but coupling it with thorough customer research, a clear understanding of your niche, and a resilient mindset is what sets the foundation for success in the dynamic world of personal styling. What do you know now, that you wished you knew at the beginning of your journey?

A: To have confidence and belief in myself, if you don’t then others won’t! Plan and prepare for everything don’t try to wing it.

Q: Your words resonate deeply with me, highlighting the importance of self-belief and thorough preparation in this industry. For the last question what does the future hold for you?

A: I have never seen this as a HUGE money maker but more importantly (in my opinion) I just want to share my passion and love of clothes, style and image with others who will benefit from my advice.  I’ve learnt a lot over the years about style and can give some really great advice about how it feels to be middle aged but still look good. I’d like to think that at some point what I have earnt has helped to live in a lovely detached house with a nice garden, nearer to some great ‘boutique style’ shops but close to the sea and a good pub!!

Kath’s journey is a testament to the power of passion, resilience, and self-belief in shaping a fulfilling career in personal styling. As she continues to inspire and empower others through her craft, Kath looks forward to the endless possibilities that lie ahead, embracing each challenge as an opportunity for growth and creativity.

To connect with Kath, you can follow her on Instagram here @stylesisterdevon