The wait is over! After months of planning the Nearly Annual MMB Retreat, we had our official first day yesterday and it surpassed all expectations. Women attending this Sonoma retreat took time away from their jobs to come together and learn from each other. It’s all not for profit and most of the speakers come from within the Monthly Marketing Bundle program membership.
Everyone who is here this year is involved in the style and image business but we all do it differently and in different places: Cleveland, Boston, Minnesota, Central California, the Bay Area, Oregon, and Melbourne Australia. Some of us do more corporate work while others have more one-on-one clients like I do. Everyone has different strengths and skills and we’re here to share.
How do these fashion, style, and image consultants happen to all be together?
You might be interested to know how this all started. Marion Gellatly, one of the speakers in our opening session on Careers in Motion, put an idea in my head about ten years ago at an AICI (Association of Image Consultants International) Conference. She came up to me after a session and said, “Brenda, this is what we need from you. Image consultants need your writing because most of us don’t want to write. You write professional articles for us that we can use in our business and we’ll pay you for it.”
I had no clue what she was talking about. None. My face was blank. She walked away and I forgot all about it.
Two or three months later an idea came to me. Why don’t I stop writing fashion articles for the Pacific Sun Newspaper and write for professionals instead? (Visualize the palm of my hand hitting my forehead.) Oh! That’s what Marion was talking about!
And that’s how in January of 2009, the Monthly Marketing Bundle program was launched.
Meet Marion, the woman who started it all
Marion was one of the five speakers in our Careers in Motion panel on opening day. Her career has had several chapters and now she’s focusing on online membership programs. She loves education and she’s going to continue to educate by reaching and teaching people online. She outlined how she did it and encouraged us all to take our passion and invest in the time and money to give our dreams a go. “Surround yourself with people who know how to do the parts you don’t know how to do. Don’t wait until you’ve figured out all the technology. Let someone else do that part.”
On a style note, I love Marion’s glasses. I would recommend frames like this for anyone who does presentations. Isn’t it great how they bring attention to her eyes?
Sprinkled throughout our first day was an exercise I call Style Study. Who better to hear from than other image and style professionals about what they’re wearing and why? You learn a lot about people when they discuss their clothes and accessories. I was so excited about this feature of our MMB Retreat and wasn’t sure if the group would be as forthcoming but they were.
Some mentioned the way they repurposed a garment and turned it into something else. There were some camouflage tips shared. We heard about the style words they use to guide them into outfits that really resonate with them. And we learned about some of the sentimental pieces they wear and why. It was fascinating, spirited, and tender.
Here’s Carolyn Woodworth. Can you see how vibrant she is? She’s having fun with stripes and creative asymmetry. She brings in a fun pop of red with her handbag and her fingernail polish.
Here’s Marjory DeRoeck. She’s a creative dresser. She loves the necklace she’s wearing partly because of its movement. It’s not static. She’s turned to shades of gray recently as a neutral base. She’s sharing a comfortable shoe brand with us: Eileen Fisher. A former dancer and dance teacher, she’s not wearing heels anymore and is finding stylish flats to be happy in.
Elena Daciuk is the queen of vintage. I think she said that half of her wardrobe is vintage. She has a lot of vintage jackets in her wardrobe and this is an example. Her vintage T-shirt has sparkles and she’s wearing a vintage bracelet. The necklace is a designer who created some jewelry for actress Elizabeth Taylor. Her black frayed jeans add to the 50s flare she has going on. Her shoes, purchased at Saks Fifth Avenue, will be mine too if they’re still available. She praised them for their comfort and I’m praising them for their style.
Next up is Suzanne Dekyvere from Australia and Ginger Burr from Boston. They’re wearing similar outfits. Don’t believe me? Let me break it down!
They are both wearing dresses as tunics. Suzanne’s fox patterned dress is very whimsical; Ginger’s navy dress is sleek and elegant. Both of them are wearing patterned leggings. Suzanne’s is a bold animal print and Ginger’s is a subtle shimmery print in navy.
Suzanne made the tartan sash that she wears at the waist and Ginger’s dress had its own built-in adornment at the waist, a sleek narrow shiny gold metal buckle. They both wear heels comfortably. Suzanne’s heels are a wonderful orchid color and Ginger’s are a pretty navy patent.
Next up is Bernie Burson. She has been on an exercise and healthy eating program and has lost 45 pounds. She shared about how she’s having to relearn how to dress her body. She said, “In my head, I still want to buy big clothes.” This is the first time she’s worn leggings and they’re a size small. Her top and leggings are from J.Jill. Her lightweight necklace and shiny bracelet came from a shop in Eugene, Oregon where she lives.
She told us that although the leggings feel out of her comfort zone they fit the “why” of her outfit. That evening she did a comedy routine for us! She mentioned earlier how this outfit made her feel like a court jester. She had us in stitches when she talked about wanting a panty line, one that would remind her of where her butt starts. We were roaring as she nailed the things we’re all thinking about in this chapter of our lives but not saying out loud.
She performed her routine after we had dinner and dessert in the Sonoma Square at the Swiss Hotel in our own private room.
All that was left to do was go back to the Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, get a good night’s sleep and get ready for another inspiring day together!
To be continued: Suzanne’s Style Master Class on Breaking Rules
You got a taste of the morning session with Careers in Motion. Suzanne’s afternoon session was about breaking rules and mixing patterns. She had some very thought-provoking ideas for women of a certain age. I’ll be sure to share my notes with you. My head was nodding up and down the whole afternoon. I know you’ll be interested!
You probably have groups of people that you like to hang out within your field. I know my nursing friend Joan loves being with her nursing buddies. Who do you hang with who gets you and provides great ideas? Do share!