Professional Networking — THIS is What it’s All About
Here’s what I remember from the first time I ever met Jennifer Boisvert. I had just started dipping my toes into whole concept of business networking activities. For the uninitiated, there’s a whole subculture of networking in the small business community and it is amazing. Events are usually centered around a meal or a happy hour where groups of people from different professions gather to share information about themselves and their businesses. Occasionally someone closes a sale with a new contact, but more often than not it’s the ongoing cultivation of relationships and connections that keep us coming back. These ever evolving relationships open doors and opportunities, but for an introvert like me, getting to that point is more than just a little bit out of our comfortable box.
Seriously, I think this was the first networking meeting of any sort that I EVER attended. Women Helping Women 2 Network was a brand new fledgling group at the time. I didn’t know a soul in the room. I didn’t know what to expect, but I had made up my mind to put myself out there with a goal of meeting just two or three people by the end of the luncheon.
Baby steps, right? What I really wanted was to quietly escape from the room, run for the safety of my car, and not have to worry about remembering names of people I had just met, presenting a memorable 30 second commercial, or (flash back to junior high) FIT IN.
But there was no escaping. I had already committed to stay.
And through the door flies this charismatic, ebullient red-headed tornado in the most perfect emerald green a-line dress I had ever seen. Her personality filled the room and busted out the windows, raining down on everyone present like super-powered glitter. I was in total awe. We started talking, and within minutes I felt comfortable in a room full of strangers — as if I could possibly actually make it through the meeting and even enjoy it.
Fast forward about two and a half years.
That fiery tornado of a woman chose MY studio for her personal branding portrait session. When she arrived along with Andrea, her childhood friend who was visiting from Canada, we carried in loads and loads and LOADS of clothes.
I wouldn’t have expected less. After all, Jennifer is a fabulous stylist and image consultant and also a managing partner with J. Hilburn, a luxury line of custom mens’ clothing. She has also been named one of the best Personal Stylists & Shoppers by CBS Houston.
We can all use a helping hand with our personal image, so CLICK HERE to learn more and start spiffing up YOUR image with Jennifer’s help.
An amazing anchor to many of our branding portrait sessions is Brandie Seifert, founder of Hollywood Hippie Cosmetics. The talented and oh-so-adorable Brandie always provides just je ne sais quois with her professional makeup application and hair styling in-studio. She makes everyone look great, and our time with Jennifer was one of the most fun EVER!
Another special friend and colleague, Suzanne Joffrion with esbe Designs met with Jennifer before our session to provide the gorgeous jewelry assortment you’ll see in these photographs.
And to think — I would not know any of these women if I had not become involved in the professional networking activities that are available in my community, specifically Women Helping Women 2 Network.
We wanted to capture Jennifer’s fun and outgoing spirit along with her elite professional brand, so we worked together as a team to create images using different outfits, poses, and expressions. Our consistent lighting style brought a cohesiveness to the overall portfolio, tying everything together beautifully.
One important part of the J. Hilburn brand incorporates the blue measuring tape, a critical tool in perfecting the custom wardrobe orders for her male clients, so we made a point to include that tape in several poses throughout our session.
Jennifer’s style is certainly varied — but always polished and sharp. LOVED this funky graphic tee paired with a traditional blue blazer and shorts almost as much as that gorgeous plum colored dress. Who would have thought to put something together like that? Jennifer did. That’s who.
Jennifer Boisvert Personal Shop and Style
Jennifer Boisvert J Hilburn Luxury Collection for Men
Brandie Seifert, HMUA Hollywood Hippie Cosmetics
Suzanne Joffrion Jewelry by Esbe Designs
Women Helping Women 2 Network
No doubt about it, Demi has quite a presence in front of the camera. Is she not a gorgeous STUNNER?!
Well, look out world because here she comes.
Demi and her classmates from Foster High School will cross the stage to receive their diplomas this Saturday in what is sure to be a celebration-filled evening.
I loved working with her, and had to laugh when we were designing her graduation announcement. Let me tell you, this young woman knows exactly what she wants and how to get it.
As most of you know, my graduation announcements are totally customized for each student. We choose colors, overall feel, fonts, images… EVERYTHING to reflect the student’s personal style. No cookie-cutter announcements over here!
Most of the time I get it right – straight out of the chute with maybe a minor tweak. Not this time! Well, the black background could stay… and the wording was good… and the image selections had already been decided. BUT, I totally missed the boat on everything else. That COULD have gone very wrong, but not with Demi. She sent back her change requests, right down to the exact type style that she wanted.
Really? Nobody’s ever done that before! BUT — we do offer a custom product, and that’s what we provide — satisfaction guaranteed.
We made the changes she asked for — type-style, adding glitter to the school color gold, changing the overall layout exactly as she specified, and then everything just fell into place. She loved the end result.
That’s what I like. Someone who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to ask for it.
I will admit that I had to swallow my pride a little bit, but it wasn’t too difficult at all because she was so very specific about how she wanted her announcement to appear.
After Graduation, Demi will attend Prairie View A&M where she plans to continue her studies and enter the field of nursing.
Congratulations on your graduation, Demi! Have a great time celebrating and reach for the stars. You’re already on target to achieve so very much.
Gamer, Guitar Player, Future Veterinarian.
This is Valen.
He’s a laid-back, casual easygoing sort of a guy who’s just about ready to walk the stage and collect his diploma from Bellaire High School.
I loved his easygoing attitude about our portrait session together. With an air of relaxed confidence, he was super personable and seemed very comfortable in his own skin, up for anything.
In his spare time, he enjoys listening to music and playing video games, but as a member of the Guitar Honors Orchestra at his school, Valen is quite a talented musician in his own right.
Guitar Honors Orchestra! I didn’t even know such an ensemble existed. How cool is that?
And on the weekends, he volunteers at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists.
That place is super special to me and my family because they played a huge role in saving the life of our Grand Dane a few years back. Grand Dane… That’s what we call our Grand-dog who happens to be a Great Dane.
Through this work, Valen has become very comfortable working with all sorts of animals. This internship is setting a great road for him. After graduation he plans to study biomedical engineering as an undergrad, and then turn toward something in the veterinary field, possibly even specializing in exotic animals.
I was so glad that he brought his scrubs and his pup, Kaley, along to his session.
She is one of the cutest dogs I’ve seen in a long time and it’s obvious that she adores him.
Looks like the feeling is mutual too.
Congratulations, Valen on your graduation as a part of the outstanding Class of 2017. We’ll be watching for big things in the years to come.
This girl learned something new the other day, so I’m going to share it with you.
Did you know that the art of reading tea leaves is called TASSEOGRAPHY? I didn’t, but it completely makes sense. After all, Tasse means “cup” in German, French, and probably about a bazillion other languages, and of course -graphy is the Greek word for writing.
So… I looked into my own cup after working with LaShan, and there it was, just as plain as day. The tea leaves said, “You will soon hear a whole lot more about this beautiful lady who is in your studio.”
Oh my goodness, what a time we had. The tea was fresh pressed; the laughter, heart-felt; and the spirit, sincere.
LaShan is the proprietress of a culinary treasure-trove called Three Lumps of Sugar. She mixes and markets fresh blends of loose-leaf tea, spices, and artisan sugars and salts for creative cooks and bartenders.
You can – and SHOULD – learn more about her business HERE
To kick things off, she needed a new headshot and we leveraged her session to the next level. While staying true to her personality and style, we created a lovely variety of story-telling images that she can use in her social media, website, marketing materials and more. And we had a great time doing it.
Here’s what LaShan had to say —
“We’ve all heard the expression, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. As an entrepreneur, building a brand is crucial. Customers respond not only to your products, but also to you as the business owner. The business really is an extension of you and your imaging conveys a lot.
I was so pleased to work with Shelly. She managed to capture the true essence of who I am and what my company means to me. Both my company and I are fun, playful, and creative. I think my pictures say exactly that without any words at all. At Three Lumps of Sugar we create and sell teas, spices, and artisan sugars and salts for bartending. Our images need to appeal to those who would purchase our products.
I arrived for the day and had a consultation with the makeup artist and looked at possible backdrops. We even gave consideration to clothing choices. Shelly took the time and effort to try new things and incorporated my suggestions. I am not a makeup kinda girl, so I was unsure about the makeup. But, when I came to see the proofs – WOW!!! There were so many that I loved and it was hard to narrow it down to just 1 or 2, so I picked 5!! “
Thank you, LaShan, for trusting me with your image and for the very kind words. I can’t wait to sample the whole line of your yummy concoctions very soon.
This is Garrett — Class of 2017 at Cinco Ranch High School.
When we initially set up his Senior Portrait session, I knew right away that photographing him with his shiny red pickup truck would become a major part of our plan.
He showed up and there wasn’t a speck of dust on that vehicle. If his mom hadn’t told me during our pre-session planning consultation that he and his friends love to take it out mudding, I never would have guessed it.
That mudding sounds like so much fun! I really wish I could have gone along to experience the adrenaline-rush they talked about, but we kept the vehicle clean during our time together. We saved the truck for the end of our session so that we’d stand the chances of a good sunset or at least low, directional sunlight — and when we saw that angry cloudy sky, we knew we were in for a killer perfect image — and we certainly got it.
Garrett’s also an accomplished athlete who has enjoyed playing LaCrosse with the Katy Cavaliers for the past seven seasons.
And he’s smart too. With National Honor Society membership credentials to his name, he’s looking to study Mechanical Engineering in Colorado after graduation.
For fun, he also enjoys snow skiing, water skiing, hiking, and riding his dirt bike on trails. He and his friends like to wrap up their fun adventure-filled days building bonfires and just hanging out.
Congratulations on your upcoming graduation, Garrett. I have thoroughly enjoyed photographing you and getting to know you and your mom this year. Send me a post-card when you get to Colorado, won’t you?