Inspirational Woman: Julie Hurst | Founder, Signature Style

Julie Hurst’s career background is in international business.  Her keen interest in fashion and style was a personal passion until a fellow short course student at the London College of Fashion encouraged her to consider personal styling full time.  After successfully completing formal style and image training at London’s leading image training centre at the beginning of last year, she launched SIGNATURE style consultancy.

Julie now works with private clients, assisting them with their individual styling needs.  Her range of services, which include Wardrobe Management and Personal Shopping as well as Personal Styling and Colour Analysis, are all tailored to suit each client, and appointments are available seven days a week to accommodate today’s busy schedules.

What made you decide to set up your company?

As Managing Director of a global consultancy firm, I often struggled, as many women do, to find time to invest in myself.  I can truly empathise with women who, despite having demanding careers, still want to enjoy fashion, and set up the company to help them look and feel their best whatever their lifestyles.

What have been your biggest challenges so far in the company?

The biggest challenge has been accepting the fact that it takes time to build contacts and establish yourself and your reputation.  I remember sitting at my desk on the first day and expecting the phone to ring off the hook!

If there was one thing that you could say was a great success, what would it be?

Being short listed as a finalist by The Federation of Image Consultants for their inaugural Spirit of Inspiration Awards.  I was nominated for the ‘Most Inspiring Newcomer’ Award by one of the leading figures in the image industry, which was an honour in itself.

How do you see the market performing in the next 12-18 months?

Increasingly, image is being seen by many as an essential part of a considered strategy to help them protect their jobs, and to maintain that competitive edge.  Wardrobe Management is also becoming more and more relevant, as women are looking for help to make the most of their current clothes – I have found that putting outfits together in general is an area where many women tend to struggle, and recently launched a special Wardrobe Styling service to help them create ‘new’ outfits from their existing wardrobes.  Personal Shopping for fewer, better quality clothes, rather than high fashion pieces, is now also in greater demand.  Many women have wardrobes full of items that they rarely or never wear, and in the current climate are looking to learn the secrets to ‘investment’ shopping.

If you could go back to when you started the company would you change anything?

I’m still building the business, so it’s probably a little too early to consider any changes at this stage.  However, if I had my time again I would have started the company much sooner!

When and if you get the time, what do you like to do to obtain a life balance?

Now that fashion has become my business, my life/work balance has become rather blurred.  I love learning, and still squeeze as many fashion related courses into my calendar as possible.  Living in London also means that there is a wealth of art and culture on my doorstep, and I’m first in the queue for any design related exhibition.

Can you share any tips for any members wishing to start out on their own?

If you are passionate about what you do, running your own business is extremely rewarding.  You do need to be willing to make sacrifices, but the pros will far outway the cons if you enjoy what you do, and have fun doing it.  I have also found the support of my family to be invaluable.

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