Kerstin Ochel shares with us an insight into her passion and the great work that she does with (mainly) women, to help them to look and feel their very best for special occasions, business meetings, or just day-to-day when they need that bit more confidence ...
Describe your business
Womens' confidence in their appearance (and outfits they wear) may be good, bad or somewhere in-between. My aim is to lift it to a very positive level, no matter what occasion, location or situation they find themselves faced with. I want my clients to feel great about themselves – at all times.
My business name is Fashion Fantasies and my clients can choose from my box of tricks to assemble a package enabling them to strengthen the confidence in their look. The box contains Image Consultation (women’s colour and style), bespoke dressmaking, artisan jewellery design and also 1-2-1 classes in sewing and jewellery making.
Image Consultants normally “just” offer colour and style consultations, however I take it a step further by designing clothes and jewellery to complement best colours and style requirements.
Offering a bespoke service to fit my client's shape and style is my motivation and I often say that “my client’s fantasy is my limit”. I love the diversity of projects I created over the last couple of years and converting a sometimes vague specification into a unique piece of garment or jewellery is very rewarding.
How does a consultation with you work?
When it comes to bespoke designs my clients usually have ideas in mind for a special occasion. We get together to discuss their ideas and I give advice on colours and style reflecting their lifestyle and shape. I will take all the findings from our meeting and work out a proposal so they can see what we have discussed. I usually provide sketches and /or photos to visualise the design. After the go-ahead I work on the design, we meet for fittings(s) if required and a bespoke garment or jewellery will be theirs to enjoy.
Image consultation sessions take place either in my studio or at my client’s place, depending on which service they book. If they need help putting it all into practice, I also offer personal shopper support.
Everything happens in a relaxed and confidential setting which is very important for my clients. I still remember how apprehensive I felt prior to my first meeting with my Image Consultation trainer and how she put me at ease to enjoy an exciting and very personal journey.
Who do you work with?
My female dressmaking clients contact me when they need an outfit for a special occasion, or look for properly fitting everyday clothes. They might be mothers of the bride or groom, brides-to-be, business women, really women from all walks of life.
I also work with men designing casual wear – shirts and outfits but no classic tailoring.
My jewellery designs suit both female and male clients but to date I mainly work with ladies to design pieces matching an outfit or incorporating healing crystals.
What did you do before?
I hold two Master’s degrees, one in Mechanical Engineering (Project Management) and one in Marketing. I worked in marketing departments of international engineering co-operations and managed training events, trade shows but also designed many types of marketing collateral.
I loved being the mediator between sales force and techies – helping them communicate and understand each other to design and sell products required and appreciated by a diversity of customers.
How does that fit with what I do now? Listening to clients to understand what they want to achieve is crucial in my business. Converting those ideas into a 3D object requires a lot of engineering thinking and when combined with over 30 years of experience in sewing and jewellery design it all comes together.
What have been the biggest challenges of running your business?
I cannot nail it down to just one challenge; it all melts into a package. Get the word out to potential clients, be confident in pricing – don’t we all underestimate the value of our services and fear to say 'No' if a job just doesn’t feel right? Being patient – business will come, being open-minded to other services which I can offer to my box of tricks.
What's in the pipeline for you?
I look forward to expanding my Image Consultation services, either as 1-2-1 or group sessions but also sharing my knowledge with larger groups as a speaker.
My box of tricks has so much more to offer and I look into promoting it in more depth moving forward.
I love learning new things so I will branch out into more intricate wireworking jewellery designs over the next months as well as new garment designs.
What are you proud of?
Every time I see a big smile spreading across the face of my client when they wear a bespoke piece or explore new colours & styles– that is one of the most rewarding moments for me. When I cannot prey them away from the mirror and then hear them say “that is me, that is so me, I feel so good wearing it”.
What advice would you offer wannabe entrepreneurs?
Writing my business plan helped me tremendously to get a grip of all those ideas swirling through my head. It might have been a tedious job but putting things into some kind of order was good.
Networking is also very important, getting used to talking about your business, gain confidence in yourself and your services and make use of the open support you receive from other business people. Don’t be too proud to ask for help – trading skills is a great way to give & get support without monetary investment.
Keep going, be confident and trust your gut feeling – it will work out.
Kerstin's contact information
Kerstin Ochel, Fashion Fantasies, Colours and Clothes to Suit your Shape and Style
Phone: 07533 300086