When I started my style consulting business in 2002, compared to now, technology was in its infancy. There was really no such thing as social media, blogs were only starting to become a thing and I had a flip phone. In fact, my first style newsletter was printed on paper and snail mailed. Suffice it to say, technology has come a long way, baby. Therefore when I was asked to write about Skype in a blog post I was thrilled to do it because, it is with no exaggeration, that Skype has helped me go from owning a local business to a global one.
When my business was in its early stages, I envied other entrepreneurs who could conduct client appointments from the comfort of their own homes over the phone. Not only did this seem appealing from a ease standpoint, but from a profitable one. Unfortunately, being in a visual profession as a stylist, I never had the same luxury. In order to work with my clients I had to see them in person. Unlike my colleagues who could conduct their business in their pajamas in their home office, I was always on the go, rushing to and from client appointments and wasn’t able to fit nearly as many sessions into my day as they could. However, this isn’t the case any longer.
Over the years, I have used Skype to work with clients all over the world to help them redefine their styles, clean out their closets, make better clothing purchases, and more, all without ever meeting them in person. Since starting to conduct virtual style sessions, I have worked with clients in such far away places as Korea, Indonesia, Canada, New Zealand, not to mention just about every state in the United States. Since using Skype to work with clients virtually, I now get twice as many requests for my virtual services than I do for in-person sessions. It stands to reason, my business reach used to be restricted to the tri-state area of New York and now it is expanded to the whole world.
Of course, it would make anyone wonder if the personal touch of working with a stylist over Skype is lost. Even I have asked myself this. Yet, when I questioned my client Ann, who lives in Austin, Texas, about her thoughts on it she told me, “We could see each other’s facial expressions, maybe even more than I would have noticed in person,” and another client, Debbie, from San Diego, California, who blogged about her entire experience working with me said, “I’m sure that the way that Bridgette communicates is the same. What you see is what you get with her. If you read her blog and talk to her, she’s exactly how you would expect her to be.” Debbie finished by saying, “Of course, I wasn’t able to give her a hug over Skype, but the rapport we had was probably the same as it would be in person.”
Affordability is another part of what makes working with clients over Skype so appealing. In my 12 years of styling clients, I can count on one hand the amount of times I have been flown in to a client’s home. While I have had some clients fly to New York to meet with me, this just isn’t a realistic approach for most. As my client Kendra, from Mobile Alabama, told me, “I did not have the time or money to travel all the way to New York for fashion advice. The Skype session provided the opportunity to interact with a real celebrity stylist without any of the costs and inconveniences associated with it.”
Lastly, and most interestingly, some clients told me working with me via Skype had benefits that outweighed working in person. Lesley Watson, from Atlanta, GA, told me, “The benefit of doing it online is that I got back detailed, written notes attached to my photos – almost like a little mini textbook for how to dress myself more effectively.” The other benefit to working with me via Skype is that the sessions can be recorded, which is something that Debbie, from San Diego, did.
Over the years of working with clients virtually over Skype, the process has definitely evolved, and I am always coming up with new ways to use the technology. One thing I am currently testing, with the help of my client Renee from Houston, who has agreed to be a guinea pig, is real time virtual shopping with clients. She’ll be taking me into the dressing room using Skype on her phone. We’ll see how it goes and if I’ll be able to roll out this sort of service to others. One thing is for certain, it’s going to be a blast. Despite having never met most of my virtual clients in person, Skype has allowed me to cultivate wonderful and close connections with everyone I have worked with.
Skype has truly helped me grow my business and connect with clients I would not have been able to otherwise. As the world becomes smaller, and connecting with your neighbor is just as easy is connecting with someone on the other side of the planet, I am grateful for the ease of use and flexibility that Skype has given me to work with amazing women all over the world.
Of course, you don’t have to be a business owner, or fashion stylist, to reap the benefits of Skype. Check out how this dad spends quality time with his son on nights he is working late.
Do you use Skype to work with clients or to stay connected with family and friends?