The architects of confidence

Enhancing style

The architects of confidence

The importance of making a good impression can never be stressed upon enough. In today’s fast-paced world, you may get just a minute to make it or break it and one’s bearing and demeanour is usually the real clincher in most situations. And youngsters in the city are fast realising the potential of a little professional help that can give them a leg-up in their journey to the top.

Enter image makeover — a service where one can, literally, become a better version of themselves. It encompasses an entire gamut of factors like personality development, confidence building, wardrobe restyling and so on and has become a lucrative business opportunity in the city.

“I started this business in 2011 after quitting a regular, mundane corporate job,” says Shreya Dhingra of ‘Your Image & I’. “It was only after embarking on this volatile journey that I realised how many changes one can bring about in oneself. My first client was myself; I had to work quite a lot on myself before I could think of becoming a trainer,” she says.

Talking about the process, Shreya explains, “It is mostly a combination of coaching and counselling. We help people become confident and feel good about themselves. Initially there will be interactions with the client where we try to understand their personality and requirements. This will be followed by 6-8 sessions.”

“It is all about making a difference within the person,” says Babita Jaishankar, CEO and founder of ‘WSol Fashion & Image Makeovers’. “Maybe there won’t be a difference between the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures but the person would have gained enormously in terms of confidence. There is a notion of glamour associated with becoming an image coach. People think ‘I am good with styling and makeup so let me be an image coach’. That will make you a good stylist; for this profession you need to connect with people.”

Both of them agree to the fact that the number of queries and clients have gone up phenomenally over the past few years. Increasing awareness and an appearance-conscious populace is driving this demand. “When I first started, people had absolutely no idea what I did,” laughs Shreya.

“Individuals wouldn’t come and companies were hesitant. But now, there is huge demand for such services,” she says, adding that a cosmopolitan workplace and growing interactions with foreign counterparts is making young professionals realise that they need to work on their presentation and look.

Students are also realising the importance of becoming ‘employment-ready’. Recently, IIT-Kharagpur said it was grooming at least 100 students for one-and-a-half months to help them face interviewers to bag their dream jobs.

These are students who were not confident about facing campus placements on their own and were hence hand held by the institute, which had an special arrangement with a private grooming agency. Individual students are also going for image makeovers to ensure that their first step into the real world is on firm footing. But misconceptions abound.

“It is nothing to do with fashion and glamour,” says Babita. “We have often seen in movies that a makeover is synonymous with ditching a sari and picking up a flashy western outfit. That is quite misleading. If you are comfortable in a sari, then you keep wearing the sari. We just work on the way you carry yourself and pull it off.”

While clothes are not the only aspect, they are certainly an important factor in bringing out a new you. Says Lalita Rao,“I had just moved back from the US and had got a job in India. I was sort of in-between wardrobes and was having a tough time picking out some clothes to stock up my professional wardrobe. That is when I felt that it would be nice if someone could help me, tell me what looked good on me and advise me on what I could or could not pull off.”

After reading the above, quite a few must have let out a sigh of longing because don’t we all crave for such advice? After all, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

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