Is image management for good looking people only? No, affirms Suman.
Priding herself on being the only master image consultant (certified by the Federation of Image Professionals International, UK) in the country is Suman Agarwal, who describes image as “all that an individual reflects consciously or unconsciously — who you are on the inside, your personality, values, attitudes, interests, abilities, uniqueness, roles, and often your goals. We call this ‘image from the inside out’.”
Her partner, Rakesh Agarwal, has over 10 years of experience in recruitment, grooming, training and establishing customer service standards. Carrying her expertise in image consulting and Rakesh Agarwal’s management skills, they founded the Image Consulting Business Institute (ICBI) with branches all over India. They offer one-on-one consulting to clients, corporate and retail consulting, which includes employee training, uniform designing, policy designing and follow-up.
They are also known for the three programmes they provide in image management (IM) — four-month diploma in IM, six-month advance diploma in IM and a nine-month image consulting partner (ICP) programme.
“The diploma is meant for people who would look for jobs in premium fashion and luxury industries, while the advance diploma is for people working in or having a business in an image-related field and desire to enhance their existing job or business. The image consulting partner programme is a business incubation programme, which is meant for people who desire to start an independent image consulting business/practice,” she elaborates. While the diploma costs `70,000, the advance diploma is Rs 1,20,000 and ICP costs Rs 2,68,000.
“ICBI was started with a vision to create an eco-system for an image management industry in India. We realised that image management is the future of India with competition increasing day by day owing to India being a young country and return of many Indian professionals who view India as the land of opportunity now. Once the business model was envisaged, we went ahead and got Judith Rasband, the world’s first master image consultant, and her image consultancy brand, Conselle Institute of Image Management, as curriculum partner and launched,” says Rakesh. Their alumni have established their own firms in image management across the country. He has also co-authored Impress: The Science and Art of Making a Positive First Impression with Suman.
So is image management for good looking people only? No, affirms Suman. “Packaging and presenting yourself in the most appropriate manner is the key to IM, because not everyone is good looking, but everyone can look good by managing their image,” says Suman. The elements that add to an image are mainly clothing, grooming, body language – the whole package — that are vital for personal, private and social situations. “India has the brains, but lacks finesse. Most Indians need appropriate guidance so that they are able to differentiate between makeovers, personality development and image. My passion and deep interest to change people’s lives for the better has brought me to this position,” she shares.
Maybe you doubt if this is for you or if your age is right. It doesn’t matter if you’re an actor or business woman, a software engineer or a housewife. Age, too, is no factor in wanting to transform your life. “Anyone whose existence matters to themselves and others need to manage their image in personal, professional and social situations,” adds this 37-year-old master consultant.
“Self-application of concepts is the key. If you do not believe in the concept, it would never work. IM starts from home and then it can be practiced outside,” opines Suman. So what does it take to become a consultant? It goes without saying that one must “look the part” first. Practicing what they preach is another must.
Their training sessions involve mock sessions, consulting material and providing complete support throughout, even after the completion of the programme. Suman promises that they provide complete hand-holding to their image consultants till they’re ready to go out on their own.
The IC partner programme is unique in the sense that, “Not only are participants trained to become consultants, but their logo, stationary designs and website, etc, are created by ICBI. All the consulting material and a back-end business and sales process-tracking system called Image Consulting Operating Systems and Tools are provided. ICBI also markets the consultants for them to get business. These consultants also get training assignments from ICBI to train further batches of courses,” says Suman.
Passion, confidence, hard work, being an example and certification are crucial to establish credibility, they believe. For details on workshops, programme schedules and alumni, visit www.imageconsultinginstitute.com.