How To Make Money As A Personal Stylist

Do you ever look at people and think “She’d look better if she wore this colour shoe with that style shirt”?

Have you ever dreamed of being in the fashion industry?

Do you have a passion for fashion?

If you said yes to any of the above, then becoming a personal stylist might just be the career path for you! A personal stylist refers to a driven person who gets paid to carefully curate outfits and looks on a variety of people for various occasions. Furthermore, they help people look and feel their best. If you love fashion, then why not make money off of it!

We share our tips and tricks to make money as a Personal Stylist:

‘What Do I Need To Become A Personal Stylist?’


Besides having a passion for fashion, there are a few other essentials required in this line of work:

An Eye For Fashion

You need to have a flair for fashion! One of the most important skills you need as a wardrobe consultant is knowing what looks good on people of all shapes, sizes, ethnicity as well as taking their personal style into consideration. After all, that’s what they’re paying you for.

Every client has a unique personality and style that they want to translate into their ensembles. Therefore, a personal stylist needs to know what looks good on all sort of personalities and styles.

According to styling specialists, you need to be educated as well as have some sort of experience before claiming your crown as a personal stylist.

Becoming accredited through different courses is a great way to broaden your arsenal of styling knowledge. Try enrolling on courses including fashion styling, men’s styling, bridal styling, fashion business start-up, fashion illustration courses and so much more! Check out Academy of Fashion Styling for more information on great in-studio and distance-learning courses.

These educational courses are not only good to broaden your understanding of the fashion world but they also look good in your portfolio for your clients and other fashion industry-related work.

These days, an eye for fashion simply isn’t enough! Employers are more likely to employ people who have formal training. Even if you’re a freelancer, your clients want to see that you have in-depth knowledge and the best way to do that is by showing them your qualifications. Styling specialists also recommend having 1 to 3 years of retail or other fashion-related experience which can also boost your personal portfolio and profile.

People skills

Although having an eye for style as well as having a qualification is good for your career path, without good people skills it’s going to be tough finding as well as pleasing clients.

To be a good stylist, you need to be able to communicate effectively with people of many different personality types. Sometimes, you’ll even need to counsel your clients through their insecurities. Many people think that you’re just involved in changing and trying on clothes. However, personal stylists see the scars (sometimes emotional, other times physical) which require some empathy to understand what you’re dealing with.

For example, a client may want their personal stylist to dress him/her in such a way that conceals specific insecurities of theirs. This is why an in-depth fashion knowledge as well as being able to assess the client’s wants and needs is important.

A Business Mindset

Being a personal stylist isn’t just playing dress-up every day. After all, it is a business! In order to become a successful personal stylist, you need to have a business and entrepreneurial spirit.

As a personal stylist, it’s important to treat your work as a business. This includes networking and marketing for your business. We recommend advertising on social media as well as spreading information about your business via word-of-mouth advertising.

Furthermore, like any small business owner, you need to be flexible and adaptable to your client’s requirements.

See more on our Fashion Business Start-Up course for more comprehensive knowledge.

‘How Do I Build A Client Base?’


Family & Friends

Start small by assisting your friends and family, after all, everybody knows somebody that could improve their personal style. Offer your services for in-depth consultations. We also suggest asking to style them for an event or night out in exchange for spreading the word about your services.

It also helps to create professional business cards, utilise social media platforms, consider starting a basic website as well as advertising amongst your intimate network base.

Work In Retailing

Working in your local clothing stores will help you familiarise yourself with clothing brands and styling. It can even help you build a client base in your local community.

Reach Out To Other Stylists

When we say networking is key, we mean it! If you’re just starting out, try reaching out to other local stylists you admire for advice, meet-ups and perhaps even working with them.

We also recommend that you research people in your field that align with your values and learn how and why they pursued fashion.

If the freelancing life isn’t for you then consider reaching out to online personal styling companies. There are a few online wardrobe consultants that welcome personal stylists from all around the country! It never hurts to try.

‘Can I Make Money As A Personal Stylist?’


Yes, of course you can!

Although, there is no concrete number for how much you can earn as a personal stylist. This solely depends on how much work you’re willing to put in!

Another benefit of freelancing as a personal stylist is that you determine your own rates. You can either charge per hour, per day or by each project. According to, the average annual salary for stylists in 2016 is on average $50,000 (R762 000) per year. Other professionals say that they charge anywhere from $20 (R 300) to $120 (R1 900) per hour.

However, it is possible to make even more than this! Stylists who work for politicians, celebrities and movie production companies often end up on the higher end of the spectrum. Other personal styling work includes helping restaurants come up with a uniform for their team, dressing sales-people and helping busy professionals with their shopping and style wants and needs.

There is a wide range of rates depending on who your clients are and what services you’re offering. You can, in essence, earn as much money as you’d like. Thereafter, the sky’s the limit. You can also raise your rates with experience once you’ve established a good networking base!

Final Thoughts…

Personal styling isn’t always glamorous, it can also be challenging. You need a strong work ethic but if you’re really passionate about helping people look and feel their best then this is a good career path for you. Follow your passions, build yourself a good support system around you, never stop learning or give up!

For more information, check out our website for our comprehensive fashion-related course offering.

Have you made up your mind already? Then enrol at AFS here!