An image makeover is right now the most sought after change for people who have a very active social life and are at the top level in their organisations and have to deal with people on a daily basis. Image consulting is now a lucrative career option for those who seek something different and wish to impart training and knowledge to others. It is in line with the branches of personality development, including emotional, personal and professional well-being.
The personality and grooming expert Sapna prefers to call herself an image engineer. This coach dons many caps including that of an author with a book to her credit - ‘From Novice to Novus’, which in her words is “an essential toolkit for all those who are struggling in their journey from being nothing to becoming something.”
The daughter of Wg/Cdr BR Budhiraja, a VVIP helicopter pilot for Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, she is also a public speaker and dining connoisseur. Talking about the various nuances of the profession, Sapna says, “I have been in this profession for over 8 years now and I have met people who have low self-esteem. They are always in dilemma regarding their dress sense as they do not know how to dress up for professional gatherings. My job is to impart soft skills, training sessions in image building and dress and groom them, raising their level of confidence as clothing does communicate a message about you. And clothing has to be consistent with your roles and goals in the society.”
Sapna also helps deal with anger and stress management, alongside basic grooming that includes dining etiquette among others. The pertinent question here is, is it only the outward appearance that matters. Sapna explains, “When people come to you for image sessions, they want to groom themselves on the outside, but the journey will stay incomplete, if they are not groomed from within. If they are groomed just on the outside, they won’t come across as confident. My grooming sessions take you on an inner journey. Some of my clients are unhappy with broken marriages or relationship issues, some have problem in their professional life, some failing to communicate effectively".
Sapna addresses their inner being first and then starts working on the outer being. “When you sort out an individual from within, going deep into the fears and problems, you are actually taking them to a self actualisation level. That way you make them more confident to achieve their goals in a better way.” Sapna works on the conversational skills too. “Many of my clients are top-notch CEOs but they do not know how to make a presentation. I teach them how to do that, how to stand in front of the audience, how to speak with the right body language etc.” But the profession has not been easy. “Initially, people would take my work lightly but I would always have the answers to their questions. Once you become successful, whatever you wear becomes a style statement but when you are just starting your career, you cannot afford to dress down. You have to be in sync with what your role demands and once you become successful, your sense of clothing just becomes the style statement.” Talking about the client-professional relationship, Sapna asserts, “My clients have made me complete and added value to my life. Over the years, I have made a connection with them and not just contacts. Each of them had a unique story to tell me. And they have also educated and motivated me. I have played a role by being a catalyst in their lives.”