Zabeth van Veen, founder of ImagoMatch

“When people are happy with themselves, they’re happier in more aspects of their life — it’s a ripple effect.”

Tammy: 15 years ago you started your company Imagomatch. You give trainings, workshop and coaching on Personal & Team Performance to male and female professionals, do public speaking and make media appearances. When you look back on your image consulting career to-date, what do you see as the biggest challenges that female leaders struggle with?

Zabeth: They’re underdressed. Men have it easier — they basically have a very simple uniform that’s almost seasonless. A suit puts men visually into the highest status. It’s hard for women to compete with this and stay true to themselves. They can try to be equal by dressing very businesslike in a suit, but this doesn’t work for all women, or in many industries.

Women need to develop their own style so that they can be seen as equals and stay true to themselves. But also they often have no interest or time to shop next to having a family and career. They resent the fact that they’re judged on their appearance in addition to their intelligence. Women aren’t taking the time to shop properly, so they can buy the wrong things, which may be trending, but are made of cheap fabrics and don’t fit properly. Or they buy something that’s OK for the office, but doesn’t flatter them at all. Also, because men have a uniform, it’s accepted that they usually look the same. Women are expected to always have something different on.

Because women are also busy before and after work, they are grateful for having a nice job and forget about profiling themselves. If you know that you can earn a 20% higher salary if you profile yourself better, than your great clothes are almost for free 😉  Read about the whole theory here

Tammy: What is your advice for dealing with these challenges?

Zabeth: One solution is of course to hire a professional to advise you on your image — how to present yourself verbally and nonverbally to get the results you want. And things like shopping and organizing your closet are easy to outsource.

Tammy: What is your “why”? What’s your mission in life and how does Imagomatch fit into that?

Zabeth: I love working with people and helping them become the best they can be. When people are happy with themselves, they’re happier in more aspects of their life — it’s a ripple effect. I like making the world a better place. The psychology is also very interesting — reading people. I started in 2005 with the way people dress, and the past 10 years I’ve been doing much more with facial expressions, body language, etc. I analyze someone technically from the outside and use the enneagram model to analyze a client’s personality.

Tammy: What is your biggest challenge in your career to date, and how did you deal with it?

Zabeth: Setting up this company with no support. When I started Imagomatch, image consulting was completely new in the Netherlands. Some corporations understood it a bit because they knew about it from the States. But most people didn’t take it seriously; they thought I just wanted to “make everyone pretty”. It was as if my years of experience as the director of a school and a communications bureau didn’t count. Also, there were other image consultants who were giving everything away for almost free and cheapening the market.

I was defensive at first. I tried to convince people of the value of what I was doing. But in the end I just carried on and did what I believed in and enjoyed. And eventually I built up enough satisfied clients that I had a successful business built almost entirely on word of mouth. It’s still that way today. My clients give me energy and my partner has always been supportive. But it was hard work.

Tammy: What are you the most proud of?

Zabeth: I’m the most proud of my perseverance. Despite all of the challenges in starting my business, and my personal setbacks, I kept all the balls in the air. When my partner had serious health issues, I was the main provider for us and our daughter. I’m also proud of my satisfied clients. Work kept me distracted from the challenges in my personal life, and helping people to grow gives me energy. Going through tough times also helps keep work in perspective, and reminds me what I teach my clients — how important it is to look after yourself and have a job that you enjoy and that you’re good at.

About Zabeth

Zabeth van Veen is spreker, trainer en coach op het gebied van personal branding, zichtbaarheid, vooroordelen en imago voor mannelijke en vrouwelijke professionals uit alle denkbare branches. In 2005 richtte ze haar eigen bedrijf ImagoMatch op. Voor die tijd was zij werkzaam in het onderwijs en bij on- en offline communicatiebureaus. Tevens deed zij in die jaren veel managementervaring op. Mede dankzij deze achtergronden is ze goed in staat haar expertise over te dragen en groepen mensen in beweging te brengen.

Als imagodeskundige gaat Zabeth van Veen voor het totale beeld; uiterlijk, lichaamshouding, attitude en de impact van eigen gedrag binnen en buiten de werkvloer. In onze wereld van pijlsnelle media kan een imago binnen luttele dagen gemaakt dan wel gekraakt worden. Zabeth van Veen is om die reden ook zelf een veelgevraagde gast in de media. In nieuwsuitzendingen, kranten en informatieve programma’s laat zij regelmatig haar licht schijnen op zaken en mensen aangaande reputatie, imago, imagoschade en het repareren ervan. Klik hier om Zabeth op het podium te zien. Wil je haar boeken? Neem vrijblijvend contact op.