Written by Staff Writer-Blog Events Now
When it comes to Networking, many people may fear approaching, talking to, or even looking at a complete stranger. Some would classify those individuals as “introverts,” whereas you have a plethora of people out there who’s not afraid to speak to anyone; in fact, their confidence is so to the top that they’ll speak just about to any and everybody.
Now, talking to someone when you are at a Networking is always the key. Still, one of the many important things people tend to dismiss or put effort into is their appearance or a better language, their “IMAGE.” When stepping out to present yourself to the world, your image is everything; it’s equivalent to pitching yourself to an investor, your elevator pitch when letting someone know who you are, or if you get that big break to go in front of a television, your appearance to all the viewers watching. Some have the gift of a sense of style, whereas others might need a little bit of Help, which is where Image Consulting might come into play, if necessary.
We had the opportunity of interviewing Courtney O’Neal, a local Image Consultant and Media maven based in the Washington, DC, Metropolitan area, who owns and operates, Courted! . Ms.O’Neal, company, stands on the premise to “provide image consult through traditional communications support, creative direction, and personal styling services.”
Courted! Beliefs are that of; “Personal style is not just about our fashion. Instead, it’s about how we show up daily and present ourselves to the world. Our brand is the fabric of our lives woven by messaging, imagery, and our personal style. At Courted, we help clients develop their style and court their audience.” This is evident due to the many partners Courted has worked with ranging from, Cosmopolitan, Today Parenting Team, WUSA Channel 9 News, Fox News Channel, ABC 7 News, and the list.
As a millennial CEO, and founder, Ms.O’Neal, understand the importance of one’s appearance, especially if you’re someone who likes to go out, enjoy festive activities such as Brunches, Happy Hours, and the nightlife scene that DC’s has to offer; staying on top of your image is one of the many keys to conversation starters, self-care, and creating an identity for yourself.
We had the opportunity to engage in a short Q&A with, Courted, Founder, Ms.O’Neal, to get more insights about her brand and future plans of what a post-pandemic might look like for event-goers looking to get out of the house and attend their favorite social spots.
Q: What is the purpose of Courted?
A: Courted is an image consulting firm that provides fashion styling, communications strategy, and creative direction services to individual clients and businesses.
Q: Where did the inspiration of wanting to create a company such as Courted come about?
A: My inspiration first came from my passion for fashion as an “everyday woman” who lives and works an everyday life but must look and show up as their best.
Q: The company name is straight to the point and easy to remember -how did you come up with the name?
A: It honestly came through a vision, but as I thought about it deeper I asked what does everyone appreciate the feeling of? A: Courtship; being courted by another person, a job, etc. That is the feeling that our clients leave with after going through our consultation.
Q: What are the benefits of getting your service at Courted?
A: The benefits are receiving fashion styling, communications strategy, or creative direction from an expert(s) industry. One misnomer that many people make is not recognizing that fashion is communication!–Through our services, we empower people and make people feel good. And ultimately, everyone who is public-facing wants their story to be told, seen, and heard.
Q: Media professionals love to look fashionable in their work environment. Is Courted beneficial for media professionals, and if so, why?
A: Absolutely. With experience in the control room, I understand the daily challenge that reporters face in figuring out what to wear on-air and what does and does not work, down to colors and prints. As a stylist, I can say that I have that experience.
Q: Many photographers in the area provide photoshoots. How would a photographer benefit from partnering with Courted when they have clients for shoots?
A: Our shoots have landed in advertisements for retailers such as Nine West; received reposts from media outlets and designers, and that is off of the strength of our relationships and the creativity and our client’s brand story displayed in those images.
Q: For someone who’s not too fashionable nor into fashion, how would Courted bring the best out of them?
A: At Courted our motto is ‘it’s more than fashion, it’s a lifestyle.’ That said when it comes styling, we focus on the client first and brands second; our fashion styling service is about the client’s lifestyle and goals — The fashion echoes their story.
Q: What makes Courted different from other companies similar to yours?
A: Our services are bringing lifestyle to real life through the art of communication.
Q: What is your background in entrepreneurship? My background is working in politics.
A: If you’ve ever worked on a political campaign or in a start-up environment, then you have an entrepreneurial spirit and background.
Q: As an African American-woman-owned business, what message are you trying to send for aspiring stylists in the area, especially those in the entertainment business?
A: My first message is that a person’s image has power regardless of the podium that they speak from. And when it comes to what’s on-trend, that’s dictated by the stylists and the consumers.
Q: Creative directions seem to be one of the services you offer; could you expand on what it entails? And how it benefits event-organizers who’s curating unique theme of events?
A: Creative direction is a service that Courted provides, and what it includes is ideation for clients on engagements such as for photoshoots, space set-up, or experiential activations. The benefit for a company or event to use Courted’s service has an industry-experienced team who offers a fresh perspective that identifies with your target market.
Q: The Washington, DC Metropolitan area is known for its happy hour, brunches, politics, and social outing for event-goers; what is the rule of thumb for styling when attending any of the listed social outings or industry for men and women?
A: Fashion has no rules. However, depending on that individual’s personal goals, , to stand out or to possibly network in these spaces, we recommend slightly overdressing for the occasion or dressing for that particular audience. The goal is to always be content with your reflection.
Q: What are the rates when it comes to styling experience?
A: We charge $100/ hr and require a minimum of 3 hours depending on the client’s style service need wardrobe restoration vs. personal styling.
Q: When partnering with a local brand, what are the criteria Courted looks for?
A: In general, we look for brands that we know that our clients will love, and we always seek to develop mutually beneficial partnerships.
Q: If a pop-up event wants to partner with Courted, how would they benefit?
A: The event will be exposed to our network of prominent influencers and global retail partners. To that end, brands and event curators alike are also paying more attention to their representation. We recognize the power of imagery and know that our brand brings added value to potential partners’ bottom lines.
Q: How was social media used to promote Courted?
A: We are a visual business so the use of visual platforms such as social media is where Courted promotes its brand message and portfolio.
Q: What is Courted website?
Q: What are the plans Courted intends to create a pipeline for other creatives, especially those of color?
A: To help them turn their creative activity into a functioning business and/or career.
Q: Can you see Courted hosting events of their own that revolve around fashion in the future?
A: Yes, I see a lot of opportunities for Courted in the future. While we have co-hosted events in the past with partners such as DC Funk Parade, I see growth in this space. People now more than ever want to feel, see, and touch what they intend to buy, so I definitely see a growth opportunity for us here.
Q: What are some ways the pandemic improve Courted, and before the pandemic, how was Courted connecting to their intended audience?
A: Courted has always been a virtual business. The pandemic has elevated the value of our services because consumer and brand perspectives have pivoted — meaning that self-care is more important than ever, DEI is a top agenda, and most importantly, people want to feel seen and heard. As I’ve shared my story more and image, so follow the requests from clients and partners.
To learn more about Courted! follow them on Instagram at: