Score Your Dream Job: Become a Fashion Stylist

Wendy MakWendy Mak is a Success Stylist™ who helps women entrepreneurs get the successful mindset and realize their full potential. Wendy is a well-known fashion stylist (as seen on The Morning Show, Channel 10 and Today Tonight), coach, and regular media commentator on all things stylish.

When I started my personal styling business there was no training available and I struggled to find a mentor and coach in this industry who was willing to teach me what they knew.

Fast forward to today and I’m proud to say I lead one of the most amazing styling agencies in Australia.

Now I’ve packaged my knowledge in running a successful styling business into an easy-to-understand, fun short course on how to become a personal fashion stylist, so that you don’t have to go through my experience when starting out.

A personal fashion stylist is quite a unique profession. How did you come up with the idea to become one?

When I first decided to start my own business as a personal stylist, I saw a gap in the market. At the time there really were only more traditional image consultants or very expensive fashion stylists for celebrities / someone with lots of money to spend. No one was offering an affordable service to help the every day woman with her wardrobe and style dilemmas.

What were the main challenges you faced as a starting fashion stylist without reputation?

Because personal styling as a service wasn’t very common in Australia at the time, a lot of my focus was on educating people to understand what a stylist is, how we can help and why they should hire one.

You are an advocate of “more is less” when it comes to clothes. Can you explain us your wardrobe philosophy?

A good wardrobe that gives maximum bang for your buck needs balance. I always tell my clients it should have enough of the basics so you can mix-and-match your everyday wear and enough of the “frills” – stuff that’s fun, interesting, colourful and on trend so you can add extra flair to your basics.

Where do you find inspiration for styling your clients?

My inspiration is really from the client herself. I dress every client to reflect their personality, what they are comfortable with and to show off the best of their body shape.

How does an average day of a fashion stylist look like?

It can vary so much! Some days you could be out with clients, in their homes doing a wardrobe review or in the stores helping them with new outfits. Other times you’ll be working on things like your newsletter, social media or following up bookings and appointments. It’s never routine and never dull that’s for sure! You’re always meeting new people too which is most of the fun!

What is the most important skill a fashion stylist needs to have?

Communication skills are THE most important. You need to understand what a client wants, work with their feedback and communicate why you have chosen to dress them in a particular way. So you’re listening, talking and trying to draw out information from your client all the time.

You now train others to become a personal stylist. In a nutshell, what can we expect to learn in your course?

In a nutshell, mine is a 3-day express course for those that love fashion and helping others. In the course you’ll learn how to style women of all shapes, sizes and ages . I also give you step by step instructions on how to conduct a successful wardrobe consultation, shopping trip and how to set up and market your personal styling business.

Fashion Stylist Course

What is the one piece of advice you would give anyone who wants to follow your steps?

Just give it a crack – I think that’s my philosophy for most things in life! If this is what you want to do, get out there, get some training and then DO IT. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you!

More information about Wendy: www.wendymak.com
Enrol in her course Become a personal / fashion stylist course (women’s styling)

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10 Unconventional Ways to Improve Your Memory

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Memories

Image by philip.bitnar via Flickr

Do you ever find yourself staring blankly at ATM screen not remembering what your PIN code is? Did you ever forget your girlfriend’s birthday and got into serious trouble? These are some of the signs that your memory might need some exercise to get into a better shape. You might find the following tips how to improve your memory useful.

You should notice an improvement in you short and long term memory after practicing these exercises for some period of time. They are truly simple tricks you can start doing today! Choose the ones that best suit your needs and personality, you don’t have to apply them all at once.

1. Visualize information

Try to convert boring information into a picture. Most information we consume every day is abstract and that is why it is difficult for our brain to latch onto it. For example you have an appointment with your tax man today at 3 Bridge Street. Try and convert the abstract information into a familiar image. You might want to imagine three bridges or a three-column bridge to remember the address. Later in the day when it comes to going to the location, your mind will recall the information faster and you won’t even have to take out your phone and look it up again.

Prague bridges

Image by Martin__V via Flickr

Images work like mental hooks that will help you retrieve the information form your memory. They work well for both short and long term memory. You can use this technique to remember something as banal as where you parked your car or something more complicated as the capital cities of European countires.

2. Chunk it

Affinity of information

Image by Yale Law Library via Flickr

Chucking information increases the number of arbitrary items our memory can process. You can remember “chunked” information easier by remembering the group as opposed to every individual item separately. It has been scientifically proven to be a faster way of remembering things. Break up big pieces of information into small logical chunks and try to remember those. Organize the information based on its meaning.

Don’t make your brain lazy by writing a grocery list. Instead, put each item you need to buy in a mental product sercion (dairy, bakery, deli, etc.). When you physically get to the particular area of the store, you will be more likely to remember all the items you needed in there.

Another good example is a phone number. We tend to remember a phone number better in three chunks: 0423 859 569 than in one piece like this 04023859569. It is much easier to remember groups of numbers than each of them individually.

3. Make associations

Relating new information to something you already know is a great way of remembering it. Try to look for connections between different facts and pieces of information. Find a link between what you try to memorize and what you are familiar with.

Great way of making an association is to connect information in a story. We tend to remember stories better than individual fragments of information. You might be trying to memorize some historical information for a test. Make up a story that connects the dates and people to help you remember the facts.

Imagination of a little boy

Image by Juliana Coutinho via Flickr

4. Do something strange

This is probably my favorite trick so far. Do you also run around the house looking for your keys every other morning? Try and do something wacky when you are placing them somewhere the night before. This will activate your memory by breaking an everyday routine.You can stomp, whistle or cry out, whatever occurs to you 🙂 The point is you will remember doing this the next morning and you will recall where you did it. As simple as that.

5. Pay attention to detail

Exercise your mind when you can. Try to remember details of places and situations that are important in your life. The more details you remember the more likely you are to recollect the moment later. Make an effort to register as much information as you can. Pay attention to what people say and how they say it. Stay at present and pay attention to the task ahead. Your mental presence is important when seeking to improve your memory.

I found a fantastic practical tip related to this point:

When you are ready to go to sleep, go over what you did that day from the time you got up until you get into bed. Start with the time you awoke, got out of bed, follow your entire day step by step until the time you went back to bed. Try to recall as much detail as possible, visualizing in your mind each and every step from beginning to end. In the beginning, you probably wont remember much detail, and you’ll probably move rapidly from task to task or think of the day in large periods of time.  However, try to slow down and remember as much as you can to take in as much detail as you can. ~ Source: Forbes

6. Be active

Your body and mind are interconnected. Your brain works better when your body is active. When you start exercising, you brain recognizes it as a stress moment as if you were in danger. You body starts releasing a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor)  which not only protects your brain and body form the stress, but  also repairs your memory neurons. Exercise also triggers endorphins, which help prioritizing functions of your brain. That is why your ability to remember things and sort out your priorities improves after exercise.

Memory execrise

By Illustration: Sapna Khandwala, Public Library of Science [CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Don’t forget to exercise your brain too. Any intellectual activity is good for you. Find things you like and try to do them at least once a day: read, play sudoku, meditate, write a poem… You can also start a brain fitness program consisting of different memory games and exercises.

Active lifestyle will not only improve your memory but also help increase your productivity!

7. Live a healthy life

Exercising often is only one part of living a healthy lifestyle. Another important factors that affect your memory are what you eat, and drink and how much you sleep.

Eating IconThe food we eat has an enormous effect on our brain activity. Recent studies have shown that eating antioxidants is beneficial for our memory function. Two great foods for improving memory are apples and blueberries, so make sure you have enough of them in your diet.

 

Drink IconYou might think alcohol has negative impact on memory. Well, not quite. Research actually demonstrates that drinking in moderation helps improve brain function as well as short-term memory. There are other studies suggesting that people who drink in moderation are less likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Sleep IconA good night’s sleep may improve your memory and help consolidate recently encoded information in your brain. It also plays an essential role in learning new information. Your memory simply needs to be well rested to operate optimally.

8. Use your environment

This technique is also call the method of loci or a memory palace and has been a popular mnemonic device since the Ancient Greece. You use an environment you are familiar with, a location you spent a lot of time in and know well. It can be your house or your daily drive to work. You then imagine walking through that location or journey and selecting places, objects and landmarks. You put the objects you need to remember into these places walking through the location in a set path. You can combine this method with the visualization method mentioned earlier and visualize a connection with an item you need to remember and the familiar place.

Memory Palace

Image by kham via Flickr

This method requires some practice but once deep-routed, it can serve as a powerful tool for your memory and help you remember information you would normally forget.

9. Involve multiple senses

One of the most common problems people have is to remember names. They have an abstract meaning as we cannot associate them with anything familiar, if we don’t know the person yet. Try to use your senses when you are introduce to someone new. You can focus on their voice or the taste of the drink you have when you meet them. Again, you can use visualization method to make an association with their name. We all have different preferences when in comes to how we learn and process information. Use the sense that best suits your learning style to remember new names, numbers or addresses.

10. Don’t rush yourself

Repetition is the mother of all learning.  If you study for an exam, you will most likely need to go over the information a few times before you can safely say you remember it. Work slowly towards your goal and review the material progressively. It will be stored in the long-term part as the brain. Take your time and practice your memory. Don’t forget to relax your brain in the meanwhile and take a break from study to revitalize your memory function.

“Memory has its own special kind. It selects, eliminates, alters, exaggerates, minimizes, glorifies, and vilifies also; but in the end it creates its own reality, its heterogeneous but usually coherent version of events; and no sane human being ever trusts someone else’s version more than his own.” ~ Salman Rushdie

There are probably other great ways to improve your memory. What are your favorite tips? I’d love your insights on this.

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What Makes Us Want to Learn?

I recently learnt that, according to Malone and Lepper, the factors that enhance intrinsic motivation are:

Afghan students learning English.

Afghan students learning English. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Challenge allows a person to work toward a meaningful goal.
  • Curiosity stimulates the desire to learn about something.
  • Control allows one to control what happens to them.
  • Fantasy turns learning into a game by using mental images rather than things actually present.
  • Competition lets a person feel satisfaction by comparing their performance to others.
  • Cooperation and recognition  bring satisfaction and appreciation from others to the motivator.

I think it is quite interesting to see what actually drives us to learn more in our lives. For me personally, I would say it is mainly the challenge and curiosity factors that motivate me to gain new knowledge and skills.

What encourages YOU to educate yourself?