Faye Speddings has always been something of a clothes horse.
It all began when, as a little girl, she would borrow her mum’s washing up gloves to glam up her outfits, and ask her parents for fashion magazines instead of Easter eggs.
As a teenager she would drag her sister around Meadowhall shopping centre for hours, pouring over the rails of gorgeous clothes, and wondering if she could possibly turn her passion into a career.
Fast-forward ten years and the 24-year-old fashion-savvy lass has done just that. She is now working in the city as a personal shopper and freelance stylist.
“It doesn’t even feel like work,” grins Faye, who lives in Totley.
“It honestly feels like I get to spend time doing my favourite hobby every day - and people pay me for it! It’s an absolute dream come true.”
The dream began when, after finishing her degree in English and education studies, Faye landed a personal shopper position in one of her favourite department stores, spending her days pulling outfits together and playing dress-up with anybody that asked.
“It was fantastic, I could have stayed there forever,” admits the Sheffield Hallam University graduate.
“But every so often people would ask me about doing some fashion consulting with them at somewhere other than the store where I worked and I began to think, ‘there may be something to this!’
“In June last year I decided to take the leap and went freelance.”
Faye contacted Sheffield Hallam University’s enterprise team and received £1,800 from their graduate self-employment programme, as well as free office space in The Workstation.
Faye explains: “They went through my business plan with me and helped me put it into action. They thought it was a great idea and that validation was just what I needed.”
Faye now offers a range of services under the name Faye Speddings Styling - everything from ‘wardrobe styling’ and ‘special occasion dressing’ to ‘experience days.’
The experience days are incredibly popular, involving a consultation before a full or half day shopping with Faye. In a nutshell, it’s like spending the day shopping with your best mate - if they happened to know everything there was to know about fashion.
“I love the experience days, because I feel I can pass so much on,” says Faye.
“On the full day sessions, I meet the client at their house and do a wardrobe consultation before we head out. People always think they need lots of new things, but quite often they’re only missing a few staple items that could draw everything else together, like a pair of black jeans, or an evening jacket.
“These days it’s all about a capsule wardrobe - having a minimal amount of items you can mix and match to create endless outfits. I have a good rummage to see what is missing from a client’s wardrobe and then we hit the shops.
“I focus throughout the day on showing them what works best for them, which shops they should try, what colours, fits and silhouettes they should be looking at. The idea isn’t to get them spending lots of money, it’s to give them as much information as I can and help them understand exactly what is best for them for the next time they go shopping.
“After the shopping day, I send each client a specially-tailored document with all my recommendations for them.”
For this full day service, Faye charges £350 - which includes lunch on her and as many coffee breaks as required. This is, she insists, an extremely competitive price.
She says: “I’m the only stylist currently offering this service locally. Stylists in the big cities charge at least double that for the same thing, but I wanted to make it an affordable service.
“The experience days have proven really popular - particularly over Christmas when lots of men bought them as gift vouchers for their wives and girlfriends.”
And she’s aware that some people might find the idea of shopping with a stranger intimidating.
“I think some people worry they’re going to be standing there in their underwear while I critique everything about them, but it isn’t like that at all!” she smiles.
“I’m so passionate about fashion and how clothes can make us feel good about ourselves. I’m there to share my knowledge and experience, and I’m not some intimidating fashionista who’s going to flounce in wearing perfectly on-trend dungarees and high heels. I love block colours and keep my look quite simple.
“I think fashion has to be practical too and there’s nothing wrong with working a pair of jeans and a T-shirt if you’ve got the right shapes and colours going on and you’re wearing it with confidence.”
Faye also publishes a blog on her website three times a week, something she says she find incredibly satisfying.
“I love to write too, fashion journalism was something I always considered pursuing,” she says.
“My blog gives me a chance to put my thoughts and views out there and I’m really enjoying the outlet it gives me to speak to people all across the region, and pass on everything from wardrobe styling tips to seasonal make-up recommendations, as I continue to grow my business.”
Visit Faye Spedding Styling to check out her blog.