When I became a Certified Image Consultant I was really attracted to the training that the Association of Image Consultants International (www.AICI.org) offered. One of the first teachers said she had been a member at one time, but she said the cost was not worth it. I believed her for a while, but started my own research and realized for me, being part of AICI would be very worthwhile. Why?  There are many reasons which I will eventually explain.

Certified Image ConsultantWhat Certified Image Consultant Means to Me

Fast forward to today, and I find myself in a leadership position for AICI — President of our local chapter — AICI Chicago Midwest Chapter. The year before this I was pursuing certification as an image consultant, a level that only AICI offered. One of the many requirements was that you are active in your local AICI chapter so I was happy when I was offered the position of Vice President of Membership. This year, I am president.

Like many fields, a Certified Image Consultant is many things. I do think much of it is artistic ability — putting colors together, finding creative options for clients, finding creative ways to teach others whether individual or in the corporate setting. I say this just having done a presentation for a corporate retreat. I was concerned my talk was going to be too serious and possibly boring after people have been sitting for four hours right before I spoke. I decided not to build in any “fun” to the presentation but did have some stories that were more light.

I am glad I planned the presentation that way. As I was waiting to speak, I could hear people laughing and talking so I thought — okay I don’t need to make it fun. The person before me lightened the day, and I can go on and feel somewhat sure people are ready to listen. This is where creativity and knowledge come in.

I also decided not to show a PowerPoint at the meeting, but send it to the meeting organizer later for people to reference. Then, my meeting was more like a show and tell, and I added some interactive exercises to allow people to participate. I have done this before, and it has worked well.

For instance, I had a full rack of clothing for men and women. I first presented how to dress at work, ideas on how not to dress at work, and then some facts about putting outfits together. Then, the next steps I asked people to come forward and put together outfits. That worked well.

I also had a quiz about looking put together that I used during the meeting. I gave two prizes to those who scored the highest. Again, people like to do things that are easy, they are rewarded for and somewhat light and fun.

The other part of image consulting–beyond the artistic bent that I think you need–is education. That means you need to know how to dress different shapes, how to work with groups and how to impact behavior. That is why certification is too important to our field. Being a Certified Image Consultant takes our inner abilities and makes them more marketable with a common base of knowledge we must prove we have and are able to use in different situations.

Keep is sassy, Indy!

Beth Divine, MA

CIC Certified Image Consultant