Personal Consultant Spruces Up Images

By Cindy Larson The News-Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Ind.)

Nobody is perfect, but most of us want to look our best.

That's where Leslee Hill comes in. The entrepreneur has started Hill Image, a consulting business that helps women and men improve their appearance through a variety of services.

Hill specializes in outfit styling and wardrobe evaluation. She can take measurements and determine body and face shape, and then offer suggestions for the best wardrobe, hairstyle, eye wear, accessory and print choices. She will come into your home and evaluate and streamline your personal wardrobe, determining what works, what doesn't and what you need to add. She can create full outfits using your own clothes, shoes and accessories. And she will go with clients as their personal shopper, meeting at stores of the client's choice and picking clothes and accessories with the best color, fit and style for the individual.

Other services include hairstyle and makeup consultation and color analysis.

"I really wanted to help people," Hill says of her choice to start an image consulting business. She has a bachelor's degree in fashion merchandising/apparel design with a minor in marketing from Ball State. The Fremont native has worked for Ann Taylor, Spiegel Catalog, Icelandic Design, Vera Bradley and The Good Ones. Her 20 years in the fashion industry include jobs such as apparel and accessory fashion, technical designer, and forecaster.

When she took some time to step back and reevaluate her goals, she realized she liked working for herself, wanted to help people and wanted a better work-life balance. She is the mother of a 2-year-old and 5-year-old.

With help from an organization called the Mentoring Women's Network -- "it changed my life," she says -- and training to become a certified image consultant, she started her business in June, first "practicing" on nonpaying clients. In August she started accepting paying clients.

She already has surpassed her goal this year of having 10 clients by three. Her clients include women over 60 with very little discretionary income who want to spruce up their look, a person who lost a lot of weight, a 35-year-old who feels she looks too "dowdy," and two men.

Hill works within her clients' budgets, so she will do personal shopping anywhere from Jophiel, a high-end women's clothing store, to Clothes Mentor, a women's resale clothing store.

She selects clothes for clients based on body type and coloring.

"Everyone has problem areas," she says. And for most people, that problem area is extra weight in their midsection.

"I can't work magic," Hill says.

However, she can help people gain confidence by selecting clothes that complement their skin tone and body type.

"It is critical for the fit to be correct," she says.

Women tend to wear clothes too small, whereas men "want everything bigger," she says.

With this new venture she still struggles with work/life balance, but the flexible schedule is making life easier, and she feels more fulfilled.

In addition to providing individual services, Hill offers her services in packages. She also offers corporate training packages.

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