After many years in Melbourne, professional stylist SIMONNE JUNIPER and her husband headed to Asia for work opportunities. With 25 years of experience in the fashion industry, the affable Australian started Styling by Simonne, where she dresses up people and homes for a living. We chat with her about the life of a fashion and property stylist.
Simonne, a professional stylist in Singapore
Tell us about your business and how it started.
Having had extensive experience in everything from product development and design, to buying, merchandising, retailing and styling, it made sense to “set up shop” here in Singapore for fashion and property styling services as the expat demand is strong. At this stage of my life, I have decided to focus solely on styling as I find this most rewarding, helping people feel more confident through personal expression.
How many times have you shopped, only to return home and not really love what you’ve bought, or not actually ever wear what you purchased? Money is wasted and clothing items often become corpses in your closet! This is a common theme for a lot of people as they lack an understanding of what really suits them in terms of colours, silhouettes, accessories, sizing and more. That’s where I come in! I’ve found that, particularly in fashion, it’s a wise and worthy investment to hire a professional who has training and experience. When you shop under the guidance of a stylist whose only aim is to make you look and feel your best, you’ll save money in the long term because you’ll only buy the right pieces that suit you.
I’ve also noticed that a lot of expats aren’t sure where to begin shopping in Singapore, whether it’s for themselves or their homes, as they’re not used to the retail offerings here. Inevitably, they end up buying products online from the brands they rely on back home. Sometimes this is a worthy exercise, but it often results in annoying returns and unsuitable choices. We all want to look and feel our best, and we can do this through the expression of fashion, and by feeling at ease in the new homes we live in.
Run us through a typical day of yours.
Most days start relatively late as retail outlets only open from 10am. I work flexible hours, so I’m better able to work around my clients’ timing needs. Some prefer to meet initially during the day because they may not be working, while others work during the day and can only meet at night. A lot of the time, I spend my days or nights researching, looking for whatever pieces I need to fulfil each client brief. It can be exhausting being on my feet most of the time but with a bit of planning I cover a lot of ground quickly! I also spend time storyboarding so I can offer my property-styling clients different options for choosing the most suitable theme for their home.
What do you enjoy about your job?
For me, the best part of styling is helping people feel more confident through personal expression. Fashion can be perceived as a superficial and materialistic industry – and, at times, it can be. However, it’s important to recognise fashion as a valid and important form of human expression that has stood the test of time. At its core, fashion is a projection to the world of who we are, and how we feel about ourselves.
I always make a point of saying to my clients, “Know yourself, know your style”. It starts with you. You’re already beautiful, unique and inspiring – my job is to help shine an even brighter light on you! I’ve had many memorable experiences in my line of work because I care so much. I won’t stop until I’ve made a difference to my client’s self-esteem and happiness, and I always ensure I’ve covered everything they were expecting from their styling session with me. Whether it’s someone looking to put together an updated “work wardrobe” for a new job, or a mum who needs a “fresh look”, every moment is rewarding.
It’s always exciting hearing my clients make comments like, “I didn’t even think about putting that top with those shorts!” or “Wow! I didn’t realise I could accessorise this way – what a difference it makes!” It means that they’re hearing and learning. I want to give them knowledge so they have the tools to look and feel great without always having to consult me. That’s what you get with a professional stylist – an education. It’s the same with property. Often clients will shriek with delight when I come into their homes and make only a few minor changes to the layout, furnishings or lighting, but these changes make all the difference in the world.
How has the COVID-19 situation affected you?
It had a huge impact because I was unable to meet clients in person, and visitations to properties outside my own weren’t allowed. While some stylists have chosen to try a more virtual approach by using video calling for demonstrations or meetings, this doesn’t work for me. I want my clients to get the most out of my services and I can’t justify this without an in person meet-and-greet and follow-up appointments as I work best face to face. Thankfully, I’m currently back at work with new clients coming through again and I look forward to the months ahead where restrictions in Singapore will continue to ease.
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