Karen Hughes, president of ImageAssets and founder of Style YOUniversity and StyleCAMP, got more than she bargained for when she announced her Sofie Made Me Do It! Makeover contest a couple of months ago.
StyleCAMP is an interactive workshop designed to help women understand and learn the basics of style. The workshop is geared for groups of 10 to 15 and helps women discover their style personality, true proportions and learn to create a wardrobe that will work for the lives they lead.
The contest attracted women from all walks of life throughout the metro Atlanta area and beyond. From stay-at-home and career-driven moms to retired women and those newly unemployed, the contest spanned the generations. “I thought it would be mostly women in their late 30s and 40s who would participate,” Hughes says.
The makeover was part of the celebration of the fifth anniversary of ImageAssets and the unveiling of Sofie, the new icon representing Style YOUniversity. The contest was intended to reward one deserving Atlanta woman by helping her “look good, feel great and have fun doing it,” Hughes says.
When attendees register for StyleCAMP, they receive a “pre-camp” workbook, consisting of self-assessment activities that include taking their measurements, answering a questionnaire and creating their “virtual closet.” Though many of the women who attend StyleCAMP are in their 40s, participants have ranged in age from their 20s to 70s.
Hughes and her panel of judges struggled to choose one makeover winner. “They all deserved it,” Hughes says. “I wanted them all to feel like winners.” With each unique story of success, heartache and inspiration, deciding on only one deserving woman to receive the makeover and reap the benefits seemed like quite a feat.
The Winner and Her Reward
When making the final selection of the winner, Hughes noticed something fascinating about 27-year- old Kathy Powell’s essay. “I could see that she had already started her transformation and was continuing the process,” she says. “It is unusual for someone that young to embrace change so well and we all felt that we wanted to acknowledge this change.” After steady and successful weight loss over 14 months, Powell faced a new challenge: dressing her new slender physique in a professional and flattering manner while maintaining a budget with very little “budge.”
Powell is marketing director for Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center in Sandy Springs, a 47-room, nonprofit center located on more than 20 acres on the Chattahoochee River. The center offers group and individually directed retreats, spiritual direction and spiritual counseling to men and women of all faiths and religious traditions. Retreats for couples, homeless men and women and those in recovery are also offered at the center, as well as opportunity to rent out the facilities.
Powell has dedicated much of her time and energy to serving others. Now she is ready to focus on herself and complete her personal transformation with some help from Hughes and her team.
Powell’s grand prize includes free admission into StyleCAMP in June and an Executive Style Package that includes personal color analysis, one-on-one styling, personal shopping and closet coordination from ImageAssets, a manicure and pedicure, makeup and eyebrows done by Alyson Hoag of Authentic Beauty; a “summer survival kit” from Kyle Young, CEO of Kyle Young INC, Effective Ideas and Multi-TaskingWoman.com; and a “soul coaching” book and “soul journey” session with Susan Cadley, L.P.C., C.S.C, psychotherapist, certified soul coach and founder of Living from Within LLC.
Kathy’s Winning Letter
I did it. In March 2009, I realized that I wasn’t happy with me: how I looked, how I held myself or how I treated myself, so I decided I needed to take control and set a goal to lose weight and revitalize my self esteem. Knowing that slow and steady determination would win the race, I sought support and set to work changing habits. Now, 14 months later at 27 years old, I’ve gone from a size 14 to a size 6. I have energy and muscle definition. I’ve made a commitment to allow myself to take pride in my accomplishments and have embraced my spiritual side and faith to help build me up.
I feel like a new person, but my outside shell is still the woman I was before. The majority of my clothes are size 10 or 12, so my new inner strength is drowning in an oversized, sloppy-looking exterior. I’ve bought some smaller-sized clothes, but on top of losing weight, I’ve also lost any sense of what my style should be or what’s best for my current body. After losing a full cup size and gaining shoulder muscle, I have no idea how to dress my new torso. The shirts I have were designed to hide my tummy and accent my chest, but both seem to have disappeared! I get excited about a smaller size and find myself chasing the lowest number, regardless of how the pants fit. I end up wearing clothes that are either old and too big, or new and too tight, because in my head the smaller the clothes, the smaller I look.
Part of my personal transformation during this past year has been growing into my career. I discovered my passion for nonprofit organizations in college and ever since, have thrown myself into creating, promoting and assisting programs and organizations. I’ve always considered myself a pseudo-professional. I was (and really, still am) a young adult working for small, meaningful organizations on very little money. I’m feeling the inward transition from the worker bee mentee to embracing the expertise I have and stepping up to be a leader in my field. Working for charities and ministries has not been a good influence on my wardrobe. My work spaces have been casual and my budget tight, but as I take my career to the next level, working with larger organizations and starting to do consulting on the side, I need to learn how to best utilize my limited funds with items that fit me and are appropriate for the setting so I can drop the “pseudo” and confidently present myself as a true professional.
I want this makeover because I’ve been building my confidence from the inside out. It’s time for the outside layer, my wardrobe, to catch up!
The next StyleCAMP
Saturday, June 19
Hilton Garden Inn at 4025 Windward Plaza Drive in Alpharetta
For registration information, visit www.imageassets.net
Please check back with us after this event and we will post more pictures of Kathy's transformation from StyleCamp.