Over the past few years, people in all walks of life have become increasingly aware of their “personal brand.” The image you present to others has a direct impact on their opinion of you. Though a large portion of your brand centers on what you can do for others, such as strategic planning or creative marketing, there is another facet. Just like products on store shelves, packaging plays a role in personal branding, and this is where a personal image consultant can help. Personal image consultants transform the outer appearance of their clients with the goal of making them more marketable.
Beauty Has Its Price
Back in 2005, the Bureau of Labor Statistics profiled the career of image consultants in its Occupational Outlook Quarterly, estimating wages at $50 to $500 an hour. If you contract 20 hours a week, you’re looking at a salary of at least $52,000 a year on the low end. The Image Consultant Style Academy, which offers classes and certifications for image consultants, provides a slightly higher range, placing the average between $74,293 and $104,390 annually. However, the job-seeker’s site, Indeed, places salaries more in line with the BLS, estimating the average at $53,000 per year, as of 2013.
Where Image Counts
Personal image consultants in New York earn roughly 20 percent more than the national average, bringing home a salary of $65,000 a year. Those working in New York City earned even higher salaries, at an average of $69,000. California-based consultants averaged $58,000, while those in Connecticut earned $60,000. In Minnesota, salaries were roughly 12 percent lower than average, at a mean of $49,000. Those working in South Dakota earned $41,000 -- 26 percent lower than the national average.
Disparities in Earnings
The disparities in earnings has a lot to do with the fact that most personal image consultants are self-employed, so it’s up to the consultant to set his or her own fees. Someone just starting out in the field may need to keep rates relatively low until she’s gained enough experience and developed a large enough network to support a raise in rates. Without having a guaranteed 40 hours of work per week, this also contributes to the disparity in pay. If you’re only able to book 10 one-hour consulting sessions each week, you won’t earn nearly as much as a consultant booking 15 one-hour sessions each week.
Future Outlook Uncertain
Employment opportunities for personal image consultants are uncertain, as the BLS doesn’t track this occupation as a whole. However, looking at similar occupations could shed light onto its future. For example, cosmetologists should see a job growth of 14 percent between 2010 and 2020. The BLS expects similar employment opportunities for supervisors of personal service workers, with a job growth of 14 percent. Both are in line with the national average for all U.S. occupations.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Quarterly – You’re a What? Image Consultant
- Image Consultant Style Academy: Image Consultants
- Indeed: Personal Image Consultant Salary
- Indeed: Personal Image Consultant Salary in New York
- Indeed: Personal Image Consultant Salary in New York, NY
- Indeed: Personal Image Consultant Salary in California
- Indeed: Personal Image Consultant Salary in Connecticut
- Indeed: Personal Image Consultant Salary in Minnesota
- Indeed: Personal Image Consultant Salary in South Dakota
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook – Barbers, Hairdressers and Cosmetologists
- Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images