Back in 2006, when it was time to trade in my corporate business suits for business casual attire, I looked no further than Image for Success, now Bloom, to bring my donation. Fast forward to the fall of 2012, when I attended Stacy London’s book tour event. She encouraged those of us interested in working in fashion to seek out volunteer opportunities with grassroot organizations who’s mission is to dress individuals for work and job interviews. Deciding to volunteer with Bloom was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The experience has not only shown me how gratifying it is to help others, it has been the driving force behind starting my own Image and Wardrobe Consulting business, Your Vivid Style.
Four years have passed, and my participation with Bloom has grown from Personal Shopper to leading the Professional Dressing Seminars for their bank sponsors, speaking about personal image at the ACDN National Smart & Sexy Day the last three years, and co-chair of their Fashion Show. Most importantly, I consider myself an ambassador for Bloom, and to all the organizations in this network, who provide clothes, support and encouragement to their clients.
I have had the pleasure of working with hundreds of women and men during this time, however, there is one that stands out. Her name is Anya, and we met last March at the ACDN National Smart & Sexy Day event. She sent me this email after the event. It reads:
I met you at the Smart and Sexy event at Image for Success. I was the person in green scrubs. I am so happy to have met you because you made a huge improvement in my life. I have always been aware of colors and shapes, but you brought it to a new level,and sharpened my vision and changed outcomes overnight in my dress and home decor. Thank you for your kindness, knowledge, passion, and sharing your talent. I have to say that a day doesn't go by without me thinking about you, at least once when I am getting ready to go out the door.
The work we do for our clients starts with providing clothing, shoes, and accessories. But it doesn’t end there. We are their advocates, supporters, and beacons of light. They are experiencing transformations that require new life skills. They need to learn how their appearance, behavior, digital presence and etiquette communicates who they are and who they strive to be. I have found this to be true with the clients I’ve helped at Bloom, and through my business.
In the Image Consulting industry, we use a methodology called the ABC’s. During my research and through personal experience, I have added a few more letters like “D,” “E,” and “F.” These letters translate to Appearance, Behavior, Communication, Digital Presence, Etiquette, and Financial Literacy. Our appearance is a non-verbal form of communication. When dressed with intention, it can convey confidence, attention to detail, and self-awareness. Behavior is defined by our attitude, ethics, and politeness. When displaying a positive attitude at work, it can lead to greater productivity – which will help improve the bottom line and create new opportunities. Communication goes beyond words, it includes building rapport, body language and listening skills. With the onset of technology, communication is very likely to occur on a variety of digital platforms – email, blogs, and social media to name a few. It is critical to think about the content and the appropriateness before posting to the Internet. Once it’s out there, it’s nearly impossible to erase. Etiquette is related to behavior during social situations – manner’s do’s and don’ts. Brushing up on business etiquette just makes good business sense. Becoming financially literate has significant benefits that will last a lifetime. Bloom has had a successful program for the last few years, and continues to work with clients in this field.
When we outfit our clients in new clothes, we see them in a new way. We must also help them see themselves in this new way. Providing tools and experiences will help them shift their mindset, and help them understand how the world is going to interact with them upon transformation. A mindset shift does not happen overnight, however, consistent and positive messages brings it into focus for our clients.
My joy comes from connecting and sharing these tools with individuals and helping them achieve their professional and personal goals. Through our work we are making a difference in people’s lives.
Jenny Bailey is the founder of Your Vivid Style and the lead Image and Wardrobe Consultant. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, and is a seasoned workshop presenter on Personal Branding. Prior to Your Vivid Style, Jenny worked as a Data and Internet Sales Specialist for global telecommunication companies. The corporate environment taught her the importance of appearing, behaving and communicating with professional etiquette. Her consulting and presentations are rooted in a creative, organized, and thoughtful approach. She uses her business background, training and personal experience to develop one-to-one consulting strategies and company workshops. Connect with Jenny via social media, @YourVividStyle, or call 415-652-8025.