Susan Axford: personal shopper extraordinaire
The stylist in the upcoming episodes of hit TV show, ten years younger, Susan Axford is an A-lister stylist with a dedication to making her clients, whose ages range from teens to 70 plus, feel better about themselves by knowing how to look their best.
Axford began her career as a cadet reporter with the New Zealand Herald, specialising in fashion. “They used to call them the ‘Women’s Pages’ back then,” she laughs. She initiated the Herald’s first stand alone fashion lift-out, Style, when she held the title, Fashion &Beauty Editor for 11 years. “That was almost 20 years ago,” she says. “Isn’t that scary?!”
During this time she developed an interest in colour systems, matching people to their right colours. They were complicated, and Susan sort to simplify things. “It’s not rocket science, but it is a science, and it can be made easier,” she believed. So, she trained as a style and colour consultant in 1998 and soon after her company, ‘Your Style’ was born.
A personal grooming company, ‘Your Style’ helps with clothing and grooming from top to toe, for both men and women. As well as working with colours that bring out the best in you, Susan co-ordinates wardrobes, creates a style to suit each client and then takes them shopping in Newmarket.
Susan’s studio is a downstairs suite in her home with a changing room and bathroom close by. In the centre of the room is a desk with a mirror and chair. A selection of fabrics and colour swatches drape over a chaise longe. Placed on one side of the room are shelves housing accessories form jewellery to shoes and on the other a two-seater settee. This is a very professional setup, the whole area being warm and inviting. French doors lead to a wonderful garden, the centrepiece being an artificial banana tree with its large leaves painted by Susan. Certainly this is a wonderfully inviting environment.
With many clients having busy lifestyles, she sometimes goes shopping alone, selecting what she knows is going to look the best. “I see it very much as a service industry, not a glamour industry,” she says. “I teach life skills.”
Susan not only shows her clients what to wear and how to wear it, she explains why they should be wearing it, pointing out good features rather than bad as an eye-opener to many. What Susan sees, some clients have never noticed and once they recognise their good points, they understand exactly what she’s talking about. Hence, her work is not just a one day make over, but a life changing one.
Being a personal shopper and stylist means Susan establishes a close rapport with her clients. She listens to them and many confide in her.
“A person won’t feel good in the clothes they’re wearing if they don’t feel good in their head”, she says. “As a journalist, I learned to be a good listener and that quality has followed through to my business. I’m here to help people, and make them feel better about themselves. This is where I get the greatest pleasure in my work. Seeing the end result, the confidence return to someone who has perhaps had a rotten lot, makes it all so worthwhile.”