as you may know from reading my blog, one of my dreams (well, more fantasy than anything!) has always been to be a magazine stylist. of course, it takes much more than dreaming - it takes a fantastic eye for design and the ability to create gorgeous images which south african stylist extraordinaire, kim gray, has in spades! kim’s amazing eye for style & design has landed her in the pages of oprah, cleo, and shape to name a few and that’s only the beginning! read on to find out how kim started, the ups and downs of being her own boss, and where she sees herself and her business in 5 years…very inspiring!! (and i’m thinking we’d all like to share her “perfect day”!)
Can you share a bit about yourself…what’s your background? How did you get started?
I interned at Marie Claire Magazine and took that as my ‘Study’. It was the most invaluable experience. I learnt so much there until I was able to find my feet and go off on my own.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I love blogging and find most of my inspiration through other blogs and magazines.
I’m always fascinated by those who are able to take the leap…what hurdles, if any, did you have to overcome? Are you able to pursue your dream full-time?
It was really scary starting out. I am a freelancer and work on my own, I don’t belong to an agency. So I had to set up all my own meetings to go and see Ad Agencies, photographers etc.. and that’s always a little daunting having to sell yourself. There is also the worry of ‘When is my next job’ being a freelancer. I have been lucky enough to survive on word of mouth eventually and to be able to style full time. I haven’t gone to show anyone my portfolio in a while..thought I probably should.
Can you give us an idea of what a typical day is like for you?
I usually first type up a brief to all my suppliers and e-mail them in advance as for them to organize me the appropriate merchandise for my shoot. I then trail from shop to shop, shopping center to shopping center sourcing and pulling product for my shoot. On the shoot day, we usually start early – taping shoes, steaming clothes.. dressing the set if need be and then dressing the models after each shot, making sure not get any product damaged. After the shoot, all the clothes,shoes, jewelry and props get sorted and neatly packed up to be returned to all the stores. And so the cycle begins again on the next shoot. This cycle isn’t all in one day I might ad, this would run over a few days..
Creating work and running a small business can be time consuming, can you share how you manage to balance home/work life?
I try not to shoot over weekends, I believe down time is important. I am unfortunately guilty tough of not being able to balance work and play very well.. being a freelancer you are often subject to Very busy periods and quieter ones, there is no routine involved. You just have to roll with it. Also managing my blog takes up serious amounts of time… so my husband often has to pull me to bed
What one piece of advice can you share with other aspiring stylists?
Assist at a Magazine even if it’s for a short period of time. It will give you the full scope of the business – and it’s important to understand the other integral rolls behind the shoots. i.e leaving copy space for the copy editors when planning your shots..understanding deadlines etc.. Understanding everyone else’s rolls in the shoot will help you to be a better stylist. oh, and be organized!
What is the most glamorous part of running your business?
Every now then one gets to attend glamorous launches and with glamorous goody bags.. Least glamorous? Returning merchandise after a shoot. No stiletto’s involved here, you look more like a disheveled packhorse
Just for fun…what’s your idea of a perfect day?
Coffee with friends, shopping, cooking and sharing a glass of wine with my husband and blogging about my favorite new finds.
What are some of your favorite blogs or websites?
There are so many now days, but if I have to go back to the first few inspirational blogs I ever came across, they are probably Design Sponge, Decor 8 , Style Files and Oh Joy.
Any guilty pleasures?
Shoes and cheesecake
Where do you see yourself and/or your business in 5 years?
My Dream is to become one of South Africa’s favorite fashion and design blogs – I see myself styling less and blogging more – thought the two go very much hand in hand. So I hope to be able to balance them well.
Thanks for sharing a picture of your workspace. It’s such a bright and colorful space – I love your red laptop!!
thanks kim for stopping by one sydney road and sharing with us!