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Media Coverage - Digital

Interview with Sheena Agarwal, Director of 'Urbanista Image Consulting'

Coverage Date: July, 2012

Sheena Agarwal, Director of Urbanista Image Consulting, offers workshops and individual coaching in appearance, behaviour, communications and presentation skills primarily to college students, executives, and women entrepreneurs. Her confidence, knowledge and passion enable her clients to develop and represent their personal brand and create a mark in whatever they do. Closely involving her clients through every part of her unique process she coaches them through issues of value and importance to them. They report major transformations in their appearance, attitude and behaviour and are amazed at the impact of their new persona.

Sheena quickly realized the value of a strong professional presence early in her career at Goldman Sachs. Initially brought into the firm with the Asset Management department, she worked internationally between New York Bangalore. On the strength of that experience she was promoted to the Trade Management team where she was the youngest member and unfortunately, not taken seriously. She learned the hard way that skills and talent are essential but overall branding and packaging attribute to a person’s success. Applying that lesson personally, she revamped her image and within six months she had secured a big project.

Education has always been an essential part of Sheena’s experience. She is a certified Image and Professional Development Consultant with the internationally known London Image Institute and Academy of Image Mastery. She is also a member of AICI, the Association of Image Consultants International.

At Christ College, Bangalore, where she graduated in Human Resource, she was a senior Human Resource Event manager and represented the college at a national level in various inter- college competitions with a flawless record. She also trained others in presentation skills and on-stage presence, all of which she offers to her current clientele.

Sheena attended Mayo College, Ajmer, one of the premier boarding schools in the country where refined behaviour, etiquette, public speaking and appearance, were stressed as essential attributes for success.

She speaks English, Hindi, Bengali and basic French and has a deep appreciation of varied cultures from many countries. She has done her Post Graduation from Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad. She specializes in Digital Media and Brand Management and has read and associated with cultures from all over the world.

While reporting for Urbanista, the team of KP interacted with Sheena Agarwal. She was asked few questions on image development, which she answered in a very interesting way. Below is the transcript of conversation.Have a look: Q. First off- Please tell us about Urbanista Image Consulting? Also how and when it was started?

Established in the year 2010, Urbanista Image Consulting is the premier image training and consulting group practice in India. Founder and principal image consultant Sheena Agarwal, is a certified Image Consultant, with a formal education in the field from world-renowned masters, Christina Ong, Academy of Image Mastery and Lynne Marks, London Institute of Image. She further fine-tuned her skills by attending specialized Masterclass by Carla Mathis, a colour and style specialist. Urbanista Image Consulting is committed to positively impact lives and deliver noticeable results for client, both Individual and Corporate. Our clients range from insurance companies to retail conglomerates.

An innovator in image enhancement, Urbanista Image Consulting helps clients maintain their professional and personal image through its unparalleled services that extend from working on identity creation, color analysis to suit the purpose, wardrobe audit to create a signature style, to managing external communication by means of etiquette, body language, networking skills and a lot more.

Q. How did you get to the position you are in today?

Perseverance. I started my training in the field while I was completing my study. Once I got done with my post graduation, I dint waste any time and went straight into getting my act together. And that’s when Urbanista was formulated. The journey has been very adventurous so far and I look forward to learn and deliver a lot more in this field.

Or in image enhancement, Urbanista Image Consulting helps clients maintain their professional and personal image through its unparalleled services that extend from working on identity creation, color analysis to suit the purpose, wardrobe audit to create a signature style, to managing external communication by means of etiquette, body language, networking skills and a lot more.

Q. Why did you choose this profession?

When I was working for Goldman Sachs, I saw the relevance of image to ones growth prospects in the company. And that got me thinking. There was obviously a need for a professional there and I started looking out for an answer. And there it was: Image Consulting. After being in this profession for a while now, I have realized this is where I always saw myself. I have dressed close friends and family for years and maybe it was time to translate my hobby into my profession.

Q. Have you sacrificed anything or taken any risks to get to where you are today?

I have loved every bit of this journey so far and am excited to see what lies ahead. So in that sense, there is nothing I look at as a sacrifice. Everything I do today is my investment!

Q. Where would you like to be in 10 years time?

Most certainly adding new dimensions to the image industry in India. The need for an image empowerment is evident all around us and I would want to make our services accessible to as many people as I can.

Q. How can choosing the right colours for a particular individual affect your professional image?

Colours communicate a particular language that is also termed as psychology of colours. When used in tandem with ones natural colouring and for the role they are to play, it can very effectively communicate the appropriate message. For instance, during an interview, you would rather look confident and energetic than look powerful. Or for an important presentation, would you rather be authoritative or approachable.

Colours can help you define your purpose.

Q. What can a woman, who is interested in enhancing her professional image, expect in a consultation with you?

A woman looking out to empowering herself with an enhanced professional image will be taken through a series of exercises that will enable us to understand her background, situation, profession and purpose at that point in life. Once we have identified the needful, we begin with taking her through her optimum colours. This further translates into her energy and style during the wardrobe and style consultation, where we design various looks for her role and purpose. We coach our clients on non-verbal communication as well and fill gaps in the process of transformation.

Our consultations are very educational and it enables a person to communicate their core values. It helps our client to build a story on what others should expect when they walk through that door!

Q. Do you need an image consultant? Or are they just for the rich and famous?

Image consultants are for everybody. It’s not about the rich and the famous anymore. In this highly competitive environment, it is important for each one of us to invest time and energy into creating a brand for ourselves. Projection of your core values can be achieved brilliantly by means of the way you communicate with your clothes, voice and mannerisms.

In my experience, people in the mid management level, entrepreneurs and women post childbirth benefit the most by consulting with an image consultant.

Q. Do looks really matter?

Does your first impression matter to you? If it does, so does the way you look. But just to bring in some clarity, your image is not essentially based how beautiful/handsome you look. It’s about the appropriateness of the look. So yes, in that sense, your looks communicate your purpose and hence it’s importance.

Q. What are the most common flops you see in peopleís professional wardrobe?

There is no clear demarcation between an everyday formal look and Friday casual or weekend look. More often than not, clothes that fall under different categories are used interchangeably. Also, the styling is more often than not inappropriate and makeup is either too muted or too loud. When clad in Indian attire the designing is too loud, the colours are confusing and too much jewelry. For men, belts and shoes don’t match, hair is unkempt, jackets don’t compliment etc. To say the least, there is a lack of attention to detail.

Q. What are your favorite shopping spots around town?

My personal favorites are FCUK and Mango. But when I am not shopping there, I am found hunting for the perfect look in stalls at Janpat and GK 1 M Block market. Of late I have started customizing a lot of my clothes and I thoroughly enjoy the freedom it gives me.

Q. What are the top interview image rules?

Keep to the story and your personal brand values intact. Market yourself well. Be in charge of your success by wearing clothes that communicate your core values, by displaying body language that inspires confidence and credibility. Do not be found tapping your foot or playing with an accessory. In all, allow the interviewer to interact with the skilled person you are and not get distracted by your appearance and behavior.

Q What wardrobe and accessory advice do you have for women going for a job interview?

Give the purpose a serious thought. The role you are to play has a significant impact on how you represent yourself on that particular day. Create the message appropriately but succinctly.

Dress codes for each industry varies basis the distinct nature of it, but generally speaking, women should always adorn the third piece when going for a formal interview. The third piece could be a scarf or jacket on western attire or your dupatta if they wish to dress in Indian clothes.

Either ways, keep the colours neutral and the accessories minimalistic. A simple stud, watch, formal handbag and clean shoes (preferably closed toed) work just fine!

Q. If you could only give our readers one piece of fashion advice, what would it be?

Don’t hide behind dated styles or wear black to look thin. Comfort food has never done anybody any good. Go teenage shopping on an off day and experiment with various garments. You never know what you will discover about yourself.

Also, looking current is not expensive. It’s all about having an eye for what would sit on you! So go experiment because everyone can do with some fresh perspective!

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