When over three decades ago, Evelyn left a promising career as a systems analyst, major challenges and unexpected wins were in store. Her first challenge was surviving her dramatic change from a secure role with CBA to retraining as a beauty therapist and starting her first business venture, Belle Ange, a salon on Sydney’s northshore. After nearly going under, within 3 years the salon became a profitable, award winning business and employer. The wins were sound lessons in all aspects of business, and after 6 years, a sizeable return on investment when the business was sold.
Evelyn’s next venture was La Deuxieme Fois (‘second time around’), Australia’s first recycled clothing store for upscale and designer clothing. It opened in the mid eighties to full media coverage and instant success. Despite a fit-out that resembled a high-end designer store, an exciting challenge was the notoriety of being a recycle store in Sydney’s most socially conscious suburb, Double Bay. However, there were multiple wins when designer frocks moved from society event to shop and then to their second life with the next wearer. The sellers, buyers and the business, all won.
One of the services Evelyn provided was helping the selling clients to rationalise their often extensive designer wardrobes. Almost by default, Evelyn became an advisor on wardrobing, image and style. By design, this became a foundation service for her next business.
La Deuxieme Fois was sold in early1990 and is still a successful enterprise to for the current owner. Directly after the sale, 2 trips to the US convinced Evelyn that her next career and business was in the emerging field of image consulting.
Over several months, she completed courses in America, Australia and the UK. She found that her instinctive understanding of style, and her extensive experience in wardrobing were a natural fit with colour assessment and image management.
First Impressions was formed soon after. Evelyn and her consultants enabled individual clients to project the most positive image for their lifestyle and aspirations. An immediate win was the growth of the Colour Consulting service, given greater depth and broader application by Evelyn’s complementary skills in NLP and communication training. An early challenge was bringing image training into organisations, well before Tom Peters coined the term ‘personal brand’. Perseverance, client service and continuing self- development contributed to the growth of First Impressions into the training and consulting organisation it is today.