written by Carla Pattison – Image consultant and communication specialist
Artificial intelligence. The newest buzzword, the future…some would say. It is the one advertisement that is suddenly appearing on your screen without invitation. It feels like the age of computer programming has arrived with a whole new box of tools.
Leila is an image consultant with several years of experience in the industry. Her fountain of energy is filled with helping women discover the best version of themselves. She loves when a woman who feels lost in her appearance, struggling to love the image she sees in the mirror, finds that one element that ignites her heart and helps her to shine again. She invested a lot in her training - time and money; and continues to invest in staying up to date. She knows the value her clients receive during a consultation session is worth every cent.
One day Leila experienced something that never happened before. Two of her clients cancelled their consultation session. It was not the cancellation that upset Leila; It was what the consultation was cancelled for. Both clients informed Leila that they will be conducting their colouring consultation with a new AI Colour App. One of them stated that it would save her a lot of money and she could go shopping instead.
An AI Colouring App? Leila was intrigued because she knew how much time she would invest in determining a client’s colour. It is not just the overall appearance. There is so much more at play. The colour of the hair and eyes, the skin's clarity, the contrast levels between the hair eyes and skin, the hair colour at birth, the facial features, and the personality traits are but a few elements that she must take into account. The image industry has also been supporting apps for their clients where they get tips, advice, and store their personal consultation information pertaining to their colouring and silhouette. These apps however do not do the work for the image consultant. It is simply the storage space of the consultation’s results. So, how could an app, without spending time with a person, make the correct conclusion?
Leila believes in being prepared and seeing that the new AI trend is a possible danger for her future business, she decided to investigate. Finding a possible application to do the trick was too easy. Without spending much time searching for a solution, there were three options for her to try. It was not a great feeling that your skills could be replaced by an algorithm for a fraction of the price, however, Leila quickly followed the steps. Took a photo, uploaded it and within less than two minutes her colouring was identified and a sheet with colour swatches was presented as her best colours. Now, that was impressive. It was quick, it was not invasive, and it was almost accurate, almost! A second app presented the same steps, but the answer was not as accurate this time.
She determined that the issue clearly facing the user after getting the colour result was, now what? What to do with the colours at hand?
And that is where the difference will also present itself. An image consultant can connect on an emotional and intellectual level with a client that an AI cannot. Simply having a sheet of different colours does not help you understand how to wear the colours in the best possible way. When a client has been wearing the incorrect colours for a long time, convincing the client of the best colours is a big part of the consultation process. Breaking down walls of resistance and showing a new path with compassion and understanding is a skill that can never be replaced by a machine. While the information can be shared, the application of colours cannot be explained.
A month after Leila’s run-in with the AI app, her prospective client sent her a message that made her smile. The client felt more lost than ever before and asked whether Leila would consider doing the colour consultation as they had originally planned.
See, the value that an image consultant adds to a consultation includes more than just the colours. It includes listening, compassion, understanding, guidance, educating and planning a roadmap to a new look. She answers questions and demonstrates practical advice. A consultation session will always answer the “but what do I do now?” question. Step by step. It will explain what the new road is that the client will need to take, the changes she will need to make and all of that with a positive cheerleader on her side to keep her motivated and on track. Maybe some time in the future a very intelligent and expensive AI application will have the feelings and insight to fill the shoes of a well-trained image consultant. However, for now, we can believe that the day is not here yet.
For now, we can conclude – Leila = 1, AI = 0.
Contact your nearest image consultant now and make the change you always wanted to. A consultation with an image consultant includes any or everything of the following:
· Understanding where you are in your life and the style you need to support it.
· Determining and understanding your style personality - some choices will make a lot more sense once you understand where they come from.
· Analysing your skin, hair, and eyes to find the best colours for your hair, make-up, clothing, and accessories.
· Determining your face shape and body shape.
· Sharing advice and tricks for all the areas you think are challenges.
· Identifying the clothes you should have and not have in your cupboard.
· Training in putting a wardrobe capsule together and how to mix and match.
· Extending your wardrobe with accessories.
· Motivating you and answering all the image and style questions you might have.
· Offering a hand of support, understanding and sisterhood on a journey to find yourself.
An image consultant can do all of that. Can your AI do that?