Posts Tagged ‘business’

May 9, 2013 8:30 am

Why Cost Per Wear is so Important

why is cost per wear so important

You’ve likely heard of Cost Per Wear in the past, but have you ever stopped to really think about it, or apply it to your own shopping habits? Cost Per Wear is a time-old budgeting technique used by consumers and personal shoppers alike. We talk about the concept quite in depth within our new Personal Styling course, but would like to discuss it in this post as well. Let’s get to it and talk about just what makes CPW so important.

Cost per wear (CPW) is a concept used to plan and justify a purchase. It’s a good starting point for deciding whether something is or isn’t worth the purchase, but it should not be used as the ultimate decision maker. To calculate cost per wear, take the total cost of an item and divide it by the number of times your client plans to wear it. For example, if a pair of shoes costs $100 and your client plans to wear them 50 times, they cost $2 per wear. The $2 figure is the target for the ideal cost per wear but, as you can imagine, may be a challenge for certain “shop-a-holics”.

The concept sounds simple, but there are a few things you’ll need to think about before calculating an item’s CPW. First, you need to take into consideration the actual total cost of the item – not just the number on the price tag. Take into consideration the sales tax, the interest the purchase will accrue if a credit card is being used, the cost of any alterations that might be needed, and regular maintenance such as treatment sprays or dry cleaning. These sorts of additional costs can take a silk shirt you found on sale for $10 and make it cost much, much more over the course of its lifetime.

Second, you’ll want to be realistic when planning how often you’ll actually wear an item. It’s easy to tell yourself, “I’ll use it every day!” when you experience love at first sight for a new luxury bag or pair of designer shoes. But, will you actually do this? The answer is almost always “no”. Consider a trendy pair of neon orange heels. The shoe might have been all the rage when you bought them, but trends come and go in a matter of weeks and you likely won’t want to wear the shoes when they’re considered to be old news. Plus, you’ll probably find it difficult to match the shoes to many outfits, further limiting how many times you’ll honestly wear them. If that pair of shoes cost $80 and you ended up wearing them four times, you essentially paid $20 per wear – ten times more than the recommended CPW amount.

Third, you need to take risks into account. Although you’ll of course try your best to avoid scuffing a new pair of patent leather boots or spilling coffee on a gorgeous white silk blouse, accidents are a part of life and can happen to anyone at any time. If an item is likely to become stained or scuffed, it’s best not to take the risk and to avoid spending too much of your budget on the item. Finding easy-to-clean items that are also easy to care for is often difficult, but is better than choosing something costly that can easily be ruined. Simply speaking, items that are more likely to have a short life should have less money spent on them than items that are sure to last a while.

After creating a budget for your wardrobe, taking cost per wear into consideration will help you make better purchasing decisions. It’s also an easy purchase planning technique you can pass along to your friends and family.

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interior decorating jobs

The life and career of an interior decorator, or any design-enthusiast for that matter, is always changing. No two days are quite alike, and that’s part of the fun of it all. Whether you’re tackling a paint job, redesigning furniture placement in your living room, or undergoing a complete home overhaul – there are many different interior decorating jobs you may tackle. Read on to learn more.

Color Consulting

Color selection and pairing is one of the most difficult tasks for a home owner. It can be overwhelming to consider all the options, and downright impossible at times to narrow it down. That’s where an Interior Decorator would come in. You may even find people hire you to simply help them choose colors and nothing else – and this is totally normal. A large part of your job as a decorator will be working with color theory and creating spaces for clients that reflect their own personalities, wants, and needs.

Complete Overhauls

Certain clients may hire you to take on an entire room or house overhaul, meaning you’d be in charge of everything from color selection and dealing with contractors to selecting fabrics, textiles, and arranging furniture. These sort of projects are very time consuming, but typically pay quite a bit of money. This sort of interior decorating job requires a lot of careful planning and budgeting, so be sure you’re ready to take on this large a task before you say “yes”!

Furniture Placement

Furniture placement, either initial or re-arranging, is actually a very fun part of working as an Interior Decorator. You get to play around with the placement, positioning, and angle of furniture pieces to create different effects and feels within the same space. Sometimes, an Interior Decorator will be hired to work with a client’s existing furnishings in order to achieve a little change or give the illusion of “something new”. This is often the case with a client who has a fairly tight decorating budget and isn’t willing to purchase all new furniture, or just wants a little freshening up for their space and not something entirely new.


You know how rooms always look gorgeously accessorized on TV shows? Well, a lot of thought goes into the selection and exact placement of any accessory. This can be difficult to do if someone lacks a trained eye, but a great way to make some extra money as an Interior Decorator. You could offer clients the chance to have you come in and put the finishing touches on one room or many, and leave them feeling like they have an entirely new space – even though you only made a few tweaks and added some stand-out accessories like throw pillows, vases, picture frames, or other decorating pieces.

Of course, there are plenty of other interior decorating jobs available to you as a working interior decorator. You’ll encounter them gradually and naturally within your career, but these are a few you’ll probably encounter frequently. What do you think? Which would you be most interested in doing? Let us know in a comment below! If you’re interested in learning more about Interior Decorating, check out our course from QC Design School.


careers in interior decorating and design

The opportunities for someone interested in a career within the field of interior decorating and design are plentiful. In this post, we’ll go over the different opportunities available to you regarding careers in interior decorating and design.

There are several different paths you may choose to take when considering a career in professional design. The most popular and lucrative choice is to start your own decorating business. As your own boss, you’ll have the greatest level of organizational and creative decision making power. You’ll also be able to choose which projects you take on and which you don’t. Plus, you’ll get to work with your clients face-to-face. When starting your own business, you have a lot to consider – but we outline the process clearly for you within our courses at QC Design School.

A second option would be to work for an existing decorating company or consulting agency. If this is the option you choose, you’ll be an employee of someone else and will have less control than if you were to own your business. Working for someone else, however, does have its perks. For one, you are not liable if something happens to the business. You will also work more set hours and may benefit from other things like vacation time, medical benefits, and not having to pay for your own computer equipment or office space.

Another option would be to take on design work on a part-time basis and continue working at your existing job. This could be a permanent option, and a way to make some supplementary income, or a temporary solution until you build up a large enough client list to start your own business with a little more security.

As you can see, it’s quite easy to incorporate a love for design into your life with a little help from QC. There are many people pursuing successful careers in interior decorating and design, and you could join them. Visit QC Design School today and start your own journey towards success!


March 23, 2013 9:07 am

Weddings: My Styled Shoot

Over the past few years, we have seen the emergence of styled shoots within the wedding industry. They provide an opportunity for wedding planners and other vendors to share their creative talents on wedding blogs and within print publications. Styled shoots are also beloved by readers, who use them as inspiration when planning their own weddings. However, they also serve many purposes for the participating vendors. They allow us to:

  1. Showcase our talents in order to attract potential clients
  2. Affirm our company brand to help establish our place within the market
  3. Reach out beyond our own local market into the international arena
  4. Build additional portfolio work
  5. Garner respect among fellow vendors who can then refer our services
  6. Establish relationships with other vendors involved with the shoot
  7. Support local vendors and help them get their name out in the market
  8. Push the limits of creativity
  9. Learn from our mistakes and successes

Last year it became increasingly obvious to me that I needed to design and coordinate a couple of styled shoots, since I had never done it before. My particular focus was two-fold:  I wanted to refine my portfolio in order to redirect my brand to a certain clientele, and I wanted to create more publishing opportunities for my company outside my own immediate market. With that in mind, I set out to design two shoots, one of which I’d like to show you today! This shoot was hosted in one of the suites at the Westin Ottawa; we had the most fabulous team pulling everything together.

When I designed this shoot, I took inspiration from the main lobby of the hotel. There are large potted birch trees in the window and an incredible fireplace and crystal globe chandeliers (pictured below), which made for a great winter shoot backdrop. I wanted it to feel warm, intimate, understated, a bit urban, sexy, and very classy. These are all attributes that fit my brand as well as the blog on which I wanted the shoot to be published. So instead of going with a typical winter color palette like blue/brown or silver/blue I went with a warm, inviting palette of oranges/pinks/reds. Another consideration when assigning the color palette was the existing orange already in the suite. I knew I had to integrate that strong color if we were to use that room or else it would just look too misplaced!

With my color palette in mind, I then began to focus on the details of the shoot. My jumping off point was an image I had seen on, featuring a variety of really cool white vases. I’m a sucker for juxtaposition, and wanted to feature something sleek, smooth, and urban paired with a more natural, earthy element, like wood.

With my inspiration board created, I began by DIYing wooden risers and white vases for the dining table. With the help of a second-hand store and some Tremclad white paint, I was able to create some lovely, contemporary vessels. I used styrofoam blocks and wood veneer planks to build the risers for the cake, candles, and vases to sit. Next I gathered our fine vendor team!

Other than the design itself, gathering the team is the most crucial step. The team I assembled had to mirror my own brand, exhibit exceptional work, be reliable and professional, have a strong reputation, be easy to work with, and be available for the shoot date – three days after Christmas. It took several hours each day to pull the vendor details together and coordinate everything. It was almost like planning a wedding. The level of commitment was huge and I don’t recommend this to anyone who isn’t able to devote the time required to pull it all off to perfection. Coordination efforts included vendor meetings, proofing stationary, DIYing vases and dishes, sourcing and purchasing supplies, and much more. Despite all that, the payoff is so worth it and we are thrilled with the results of our shoot!

At this point, I should mention the importance of choosing the right photographer. Not only do you need to find a photographer who reflects your own brand and style, you also need someone very adept at capturing details. The photographer will need to capture close-ups of the small, sensory-rich items you’ve created for the shoot, and the simple fact is that this is not most photographers’ strength. Barbara Ann Cameron shot our images and we couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. She did an amazing job and really captured the feel of the shoot that I had envisioned all along!

I’ve featured a few images from the shoot to share with you today. After editing and selecting, we ended up with between 150 and 200 final shots that we submitted to our blog of choice. When designing your shoot and choosing where you’ll submit, be very aware of their submission rules beforehand. The blog to which we submitted demands exclusivity, meaning that we couldn’t share these images with anyone until the blog post went live. They also suggested a range of shots, so we were mindful to ensure that we provided them with enough images so they could make a solid selection from their end. Also, knowing the publication, we were aware that they like multiple shots of the same detail, shot at different angles and orientations.

This is the lobby shot I referred to, which sets the tone for the winter shoot. Barbara is highly skilled at posing models and this was a huge plus for me so I could achieve the sexy, urban, polished look I so wanted!

I love the polished , urban look we achieved.

I love the polished , urban look we achieved

The tablescape included a variety of flower types all in the color range of the shoot. The repetition of the white vases, service wear, and place card holders created continuity in the shoot while the multitude of flowers used created variety and visual interest.

We kept the color scheme to white, red, pink, and orange

We kept the color scheme to white, red, pink, and orange

I wanted the cake to be an understated, contemporary design and I think we achieved it beautifully! The very talented florist created these beautiful carnation beds for the shoot and we used them several times in a multitude of ways, including a cake plateau.

Our contemporary cake design

Our contemporary cake design

Over the table in the suite were these fabulous boxed fixtures that were just screaming for decor. We hung Mokara orchids from the center of each fixture to achieve this amazing floral canopy over the table. You can see the wonderful repetition of the fixtures captured in this photo as well!

A gorgeous floral canopy

A gorgeous floral canopy

We featured letterpress stationery in this shoot. I chose letterpress because it’s stunning, tactile, and high-end. We wanted a finer paper product that was simply stated and modern and I think that was accomplished with the square motif and bold font. They’ve also incorporated the wood-grain element in the invitation, again to achieve continuity, and carried that same motif throughout the various pieces.

This letterpress stationery kept to our theme

This letterpress stationery kept to our theme

The florist we worked with is very imaginative and created something contemporary and a bit edgy for the bridal bouquet. When I first showed her the inspiration board, she knew that something like this would work very well for the feel we were creating in the shoot. She was so right!

We topped it off with a creative bouqet

We topped it off with a creative bouquet

There are dozens more images that I could share with you, but I hope these give you a feel for our shoot and some inspiration for what you can achieve in your own. Looking back at both of the shoots I did last year, I am really pleased with the end results. They both reflected my brand, allowed me to connect with vendors whose work I adore, and were both publishable, which was the end goal! Before entering into a styled shoot commitment, remember that it takes a lot of to pull it all together effectively. There are also costs involved that you must be aware of. For my shoot, costs included:

  1. Decor details
  2. Half of the flower costs (the florist shared the other half)
  3. Lunch and refreshments for the vendor team on shooting day
  4. Parking
  5. Thank you notes for the vendor team and gift cards

Fortunately, many of the direct costs involved in the shoot (e.g. stationery) were absorbed by the various vendors in return for credit within the publication, which is great. But there are still costs involved and a huge commitment of time and effort, so be prepared. Also be prepared to be very pleased with the results of your efforts after the shoot! It’s a lot of fun allowing your imaginations to come up with concepts that you might not otherwise be able to achieve within your usual contracts.

With wedding season upon us, I’m back to my usual routine. No time for styled shoots for me, but best of luck with yours!

Happy planning!

All images courtesy of Barbara Ann Studios.

Wedding planner Lynn LeeWritten by Lynn Lee

Lynn Lee has over 10 years experience in the event and wedding planning industry. These days, she’s focusing her attention on her growing wedding planning business, Weddings Unveiled. Her weekly blog posts include business tips, wedding trends, and expert advice.


March 6, 2013 3:24 pm

How To Become a fashion stylist

We are so excited to announce the upcoming launch of our newest course in Personal Styling. If you’ve ever wanted to become a fashion stylist, now is the time. Our online course will have you studying from e-books, DVDs, and completing hands on assignments. You’ll submit them to your Style Mentor – a professional and established fashion stylist.personal styling course

You’ll learn about topics such as working with body types, maternity styling, bridal styling, fashion over forty, second hand shopping, styling for men, and more. We’ll also provide you with the business savvy you’ll need to succeed. You’ll learn all about topics such as networking, how to network online, how to use social media for your business, marketing, promotion, and more. We teach it all.

You’ll also be learning from NYC fashion stylist, Alison Stewart of She’s styled for endless print and ad campaigns, worked with celebrities, and has a roster of editorial and personal styling projects that will inspire you. Alison is actually one of the style mentors, too, so you may even be paired with her when you enroll. Your Style Mentor will provide you with audio feedback on each assignment you complete so you can move forward with confidence and keep improving all through the course.

Click here to learn more now. Be sure to sign up for the newsletter, the QC Style Report, so you never miss an update from our style HQ.