Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Carrie & Danielle: Style Statement

Back in May 2007, The Adventuress, Domino's (one of my favorite magazines) columnists, talked about her experience of having a Style Statement session with Carrie and Danielle.

Like most of the country, I had never heard of Carrie and Danielle or their company. But when I read the column about them, I was instantly intrigued and eager to speak with them. I was interested in learning more about them, their process and, hopefully myself.

You can read more about Carrie and Danielle by visiting the site but they definitely have the credentials, especially if you think about this process as creating your personal "brand" and not like a therapy or new age-y self-help session.

What does a Style Statement Session involve? Well, here's how they describe it on the site:

It's a lot like being interviewed…by a really good, intuitive friend who wants the best for you. We ask you a series of questions, from playful to profound, and we listen...very intently. You get to imagine, reflect on, and share what matters most to you. After about an hour, we take a few thoughtful minutes to ourselves, and then we present you with your Style Statement and its precise definitions.

We share the highlights of your session, what went into defining your Style Statement, and explain the 80/20 Style Statement principle. And we look at how Style Statement and our Life Style Map can become a tool for making choices in your life.

Given my background in marketing, this process and theory makes a lot of sense. One of the first things I tell a client is that they need to define who they are and what differentiates them from all their competitors. And why shouldn't you as a person be any different. Everyone has unique talents and attributes, why shouldn't we celebrate that. The problem is, as many companies and people know, it can be hard to be objective about defining yourself. Sometimes you can be too broad or too hard on yourself. And we all know those people (they may be in your own head) that talk negatively to themselves all the time. How can you feel happy and special if you don't feel you have anything special to celebrate.

I am one of those people who likes to learn more about themselves and how they can improve. Not only who I am and how I act but how I react with other people. I signed up for C&D's weekly Friday Focus emails too. If you do anything, you should sign up for these. They always have a very inspirational message. Something that gets you thinking about how you can improve yourself, your life or the world. They aren't preachy, just interesting.

The Style Statement session is not inexpensive, so I saved up for a while for it. And I talked with Danielle a few times over the year to learn more about them and the process. And, last Friday, I finally had my session.

The session takes anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes; mine lasted about 50 minutes and was done over the phone. During the process Carrie or Danielle asks you a series of questions. The questions are designed to uncover your essence, your inner "you". We talked about everything from personal goals and aspirations to fashion and books. Some answers were easy and some took me a while to come to an answer.

What was really interesting, and validated my belief in the value of the process, was when an answer would come to mind but I wasn't sure what drove it. I didn't know "where it came from". During another time in the session Danielle had asked about who I admired and why. She also later asked about what kind of job I would have if I could do or learn anything I wanted. I came to a sort of breakthrough thought that connected the two very familiar responses in a way I never had before. I was actually stunned that this process had elicited such a new perspective from somewhere within me. I'm still integrating this new view into my mind.

One of the questions that was fun was to pick your favorite flower and why. I picked a gardenia, which I've always loved. I think I said I liked it because it is a beautiful flower with an amazing scent, but it's not your typical flower to give or find in a florist. It's more personal - you'd pluck one from your own yard to bring into your home.

Danielle said the flower your pick and how you describe it can be telling about how you would describe yourself. She joked it was a bit "Psych 101" but still telling.

At the end of the session they go off and analyze your responses. The skill that Carrie and Danielle bring to the table is the ability to actively listen to, not only your words, but what you are saying. They then bring their holistic, third party view to that and distill everything to a two word Style Statement.

My Statement is: Sophisticated Precious

As you can read on the site, you Style Statement is made up of two words, the first being your 80%, your core, your foundation. Your second word is your 20%, your edge, your "twist", what makes you unique. It's also what you're good at giving others and what you often long for.

When Danielle (or Carrie - one of them does the session one-on-one) calls back after about 30 minutes, she tells you your two words but then also goes through all the definitions and nuances of the words and the analysis she did to get there.

What spoke to me in my Statement and in the definitions were elements like:
  • Sophisticated means quality not labels
  • Voracious and eclectic reader
  • Perpetually seeking life education
  • Ask penetrating questions and keep on asking
  • Not naive
  • May be difficult to get close to
  • Have refined internal systems for making decisions
  • Style is ornate, sumptuous, well-made and engineered
  • Complex but elegant
  • Appreciates loveliness

From the analysis she said things that drove her to choose these words were elements like treating my time as precious, as well as treating the people and members of my life as precious. The appreciation of rare, unique and delicate items, such as vintage jewelry or unique embellishments.

After you get your statement Danielle takes you through some of the ways you can apply it to your life. They have created the above Lifestyle Map. These are all the different areas where you can allow your Statement to guide you and your decision making process. And isn't it easier to get where you are going when you have a compass (or GPS today) to guide you.

My statement felt very comfortable and "right" to me. I kind of thought about my style and the things I was drawn to, my principles and even the types of foods/drinks/events I liked. Things like Afternoon tea, kir royales, etc., are all sophisticated but not overly fussy, just fun.

So, all in all, I really enjoyed my session. And while it may not be something that everyone can do or does, I think it was really worthwhile. One thing to keep in mind is that, come April 1, the fee for the sessions is going up. That's the bad news. The good news is that this is because C&D are putting out a book which can help you create your own Style Statement. You can get the links to all the ways to order on their home page or see a sneak peek here.

These ladies are poised to become even more known very shortly, so I recommend booking your session asap!

I hope this helped. I intend to now go forward using my Statement to help me refine my goals and make decisions that will keep me true to myself.

UPDATE - meet the ladies via YouTube


Jenny said...

very interesting - thank you for sharing this experience!

Princess Poochie said...

Any questions, please let me know!