What were the chances that I’d run into my friend, Helena Chenn, in Los Gatos after leaving a client and just five minutes before heading for the airport?
I want to tell you what that moment was like. It was heaven!
Erin and I (Erin’s my assistant and my daughter) had stopped at Starbuck’s before heading to the airport. We were in the car when we heard Helena shout our names from her car window. I got out of the car while she parked hers and we had a few minutes standing in that little shopping area giggling and chatting.
What a love fest!
Not only are we old friends (I’m guessing we met in 1990 or so) but we’re both members of the Association of Image Consultants International. We’ve both held offices on our local chapter of AICI and the International chapter as well. I’d say we’re practically old-timers!
Helena has an extensive background in custom clothing. She sews amazing pieces for her clients and she’s done a lot of alterations for my clients. In the beginning of our careers in image consulting we bonded with two other new AICI members. We used to meet once a month to talk shop. The other two members of this little group are no longer working in the industry but I know we would all remember those monthly meeting with such fondness.
You know we dream of having a successful career but getting there truly is the most fun. We started out like little birds in a nest. Together we found our wings and flew out into the world making our clients feel empowered and happy with their image.
So grateful for the bonds that have been forged in AICI
Helena and I don’t see each other often. We live nearly two hours away but when we do, even if it’s for five minutes like it was last month, I feel like I’ve come home to my sister.
November 23rd is International Image Consultant’s Day and it’s no coincidence to me that it falls right before Thanksgiving this year.
I joined AICI right away
I wanted to be where other image consultants would be. I wanted to learn from them. I wanted to know that it was possible to have a career in image consulting! Being at AICI meetings proved to me that I could do it, too.
What I didn’t realize was what incredible friendships I’d make in AICI–first locally, and then internationally.
I’d go to the yearly conferences and there I’d meet people from around the world and the most incredible thing ever is that we all spoke the same language no matter where we came from! Our love for style, fashion, beauty, and image empowerment bound us. I imagine it might be like having been in a sorority in college and meeting up with your sorority sisters every year or so after they’d all dispersed to other parts of the country or the world.
One of the components of a program I developed for image professionals, the Monthly Marketing Bundle program, is meeting together over a conference call once a month. This last summer, we had a retreat here in Sonoma for MMB members. It was kind of a mini conference with workshops and social time and lots and lots of bonding time. It was truly a dream come true to have these creative, inspirational women here in my own backyard…literally!
I THRIVE on my relationships with other image consultants. We are still such a young industry that I think it’s so important to find your tribe and reap the rewards of learning and sharing with others about this profession that we all love.
It’s International Image Consultant’s Day. Hooray!