Whether it’s personal style or company branding, Milena Joy knows how to create, polish or revamp an image. We caught up with the founder of Denver’s Milena Distinctive Image Consulting. Here’s what she had to say about consulting, coat drives and her first brick and mortar store opening this week.
What lead to opening up your own image consulting firm?
Four years ago, I was working with my ex-husband’s family real estate business as a realtor. All of a sudden I found myself single, without a job and in a downward spiraling real estate economy. I knew I needed to work for myself, and personal shopping had always been a dream job of mine. I was intrigued by image consulting because it looked at all aspects of a person’s lifestyle to help them reach their goals. I came across the Image Resource Center of New York and took off to earn my Image Consultant Certification just one week later.
What services do you offer?
I provide one-on-on services to individuals, professional presentations and image assessments to businesses and organizations, and image consultant training to others who want to make their dream job a reality.
How would you describe your average client?
Most of our clients are simply men and women who want to look effortlessly stylish. They are not happy with what they are currently doing and have a hard time putting it all together. They want to look good without looking like they are trying too hard.
Some of our clients have career aspirations -- a promotion, a new job, new owners of a company, etc. We can help them create a look that is professional and sophisticated without being boring. Instead we strategically mesh their unique style with their company brand. Other clients hire us for more social reasons -- to attract that someone special, they recently lost weight, or they simply want a fresh start to feeling and looking good.
What's the process you go through with a client when revamping their image?
We ask a lot of questions. Before our clients ever meet with us, we give them a small homework assignment, which includes a questionnaire and picture exercise. This helps our clients really dig deep about what they seek out of the experience. Often times our clients are unsure ... so we help them discover their personal style. It’s finding the best self within and reflecting that on the outside.
How long does it take for an average person to revamp their image?
One can change their image overnight, but actually changing others' perception will take time. Consistency is key in reinforcing others' opinions.
Is there one thing that most people overlook when it comes to personal image?
People often look dated without even knowing it. Even though a shirt may not have any visible wear and still fit fine, the style may be associated with a particular era in fashion. When people wear clothes that are dated, the perception is that their ideas and taste are also outdated. Keeping clothes, hairstyle and makeup current is important, particularly in industries that require the person to be in-the-know, such as financial or creative fields.
You work with companies as well as individuals. Tell us a little about that.
We also consult on [a company's] overall brand image ... a Style Assessment for your business. We will go through all your company’s literature, online presence including social media and physical location to assess where you are deflecting from your desired brand.
What one step can a Denver business do to polish its image?
Businesses should be sure that everyone from their front-line employees -- such as the receptionist or service people to the CEO -- has a professional image that reflects the company's brand.
What advice do you have for a new business?
A new business has the advantage of building its identity from the ground up, while an older business may struggle with changing old habits. New businesses should capitalize on this and make sure that everything from its employees, marketing materials, website, company car to office space has the same brand message.
What has been your favorite project (or type of project)?
I’ve always been involved in non-profit organizations. Last year I began my own non-profit event Coats of Joy, where I collect warm winter coats for the homeless. Local boutiques serve as drop off locations and offer donors discounts on the purchase of a new coat. It’s a great way for me to leverage my business to help my community. I’m looking forward to the second annual event coming November 1.
You also write?
Yes. In 2010, I co-authored the book Inspired Style along with 20 other image experts across the nation. I am also featured in the CRAVE Denver guidebook featuring female business owners. I write a regular men’s blog and a women’s blog at milenablog.com, and once a month I write an image and etiquette article for the Colorado Young Professionals I have a Youtube channel, “Milena Style,” which features “Milena’s Must-Have” style tips and trends with local boutiques in and around Denver.
Retail location opening July 1:
3881 N. Steele St., Unit B; 303-585-0589