Hayley Cooper – Fashion Stylist & Personal Stylist
Posted September 20, 2017, by Jenny Sakr
Since starting in retail at a young age Hayley has loved sharing her expert styling tips to build others' confidence. Nearly eight years ago she established Hayley Cooper Styling, a Sydney-based personal styling and fashion styling company helping others find their style, love their wardrobe and shop smarter.
What is your current job title and how long have you had this role?
My title is a big mix of things! I do all the styling services myself, manage customer service, marketing, sales, admin… But to sum it up, if I gave myself a title it would be “Director/Stylist”. I’ve been styling and running the business for nearly eight years now.
How long have you been in fashion?
For the past 10 years I’ve been working in various areas of the industry across styling, marketing, digital media and retail.
What did you study to get into fashion?
I completed a two-year Fashion Business course at FBI Fashion College. It’s basically a business course applied to the fashion industry. Highly recommend it if you want to enter the industry and know all the bits involved. Formal training in a creative field has huge advantages for your personal career growth in a competitive industry.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
I actually wanted to be a Fashion Editor of a magazine…. Bu at the same time I wanted to work in real estate and property! I found fashion was what I loved the most and what felt right for me.
What was your first job?
I worked at Subway when I was 14 before getting my first fashion-related retail job at an urban street-wear store.
When did you first know you wanted to be in fashion and styling?
I always wanted to work in fashion - I loved helping people and wanted a career that gave me diversity and that had a creative feel to it. When I was working in retail I realised how much I loved helping people feel confident in themselves and it was through their outfit that they got that confidence boost. I wanted to merge the “superficial fashion industry” with people and their lifestyles. It was after working in retail and doing work experience with stylists that I realised this was definitely what I wanted to do.
Explain a typical day at Hayley Cooper Styling
Each day varies, depending on what client I have that day, there’s never a typical day. Some days I’m working with an individual personal styling client, some days I’m doing admin work and writing style documents for my personal styling clients, other days I’m prepping for or working on an event or photo shoot.
If I’m doing personal styling, I’ll typically start the day at the desk - responding to emails, sending invoices, receipts or gift vouchers or doing prep work for later jobs. I’ll then head to the Wardrobe Consult or Personal Shopping Session with my client to do the session. I can see up to four clients per day if it’s a big day, and I’ll finish in the night, but it’s usually two clients per day. At the end of the day, I’m back at the desk, repeating what I had done in the morning and making a start on any styling documents I need to create for my personal styling clients.
If there’s a photo shoot or event on, it’s a full-on day and often starts at 6am and finishes in the evening. Each photo shoot/event is totally different; they’re always fast-paced though! I make sure all the prep work is done well in advance to ensure the styling/wardrobe department runs smoothly on the day.
What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened to you in this career?
For me personally, it’s the growth of myself and my business. It’s such an interesting, challenging, enjoyable journey of ups and downs. I’m enjoying seeing my business progress.
Name the best and worst parts of your job and running a small business?
The best parts are working with my personal styling clients, helping them build their personal style with confidence, see their wardrobes in a new light and enjoy fashion and getting that confidence boost. We develop great relationships because it’s such a personalised experience so I’m really grateful to have that in my job. I also love the positive feedback I get from them after their style session or a few months later when they’re feeling awesome about themselves.
I also love taking on new projects with new clients, hosting fashion events and styling fashion parades. It’s also been lots of fun creating some digital content for Westfield this season. I like the creativity that comes with the job.
The worst parts are the ups and downs any business faces, sometimes we have quiet periods, other times it feels insanely busy and there’s no work-life balance. The paperwork involved isn’t too fun, there’s a lot of that involved.
What’s the most important career tip someone has given you?
To be persistent. It’s not always easy to stick to something, but it pays off!
What do you wish someone had told you before starting in fashion and styling?
That learning how to do face to face networking is important. I was terrible at networking when I started internships and my first fashion jobs!
Where do people have to start to get into styling and what is a standard salary package for this role?
Fashion retail is a good starting point and doing work experience with stylists. The salary would vary depending on the area of styling you’re working in and your experience.
Name a career highlight
Working on The Living Room on Channel 10 as an Assistant Stylist in Season 1.
What’s next for you?
I’m about to launch some really cool Online Styling Services – it’s exciting!
How do you unwind?
I don’t have much spare time but when I do I grab a glass of milk, a handful of choc chip cookies and watch home renovation shows on the TV haha!
Want to make your mark in the fashion world? Start by enquiring about a course in Fashion Designing.
Jenny found her way with words while interning during uni, since, she's produced articles on it all – from hair and beauty to homewares, travel, career advice and study tips. On a weekend you're most likely to find her lining up for a table at the latest cafe or restaurant.