Well, Friends....it's that time of year again. That time when we start making a list of all the people we need to buy gifts for, and start noticing things in stores that would be perfect for our sisters, friends, or Aunt Maryanne. Those who know me know I'm a complete Christmas addict, and one of my very favorite things about the season is giving gifts. I put a lot of effort into finding gifts that are perfect and personal--things that make the recipient feel special and cared about. I feel like gifts are an opportunity to tell people that you see, and appreciate them for who they really are.. So you might think this post is all about how my services can make the women in your life feel that way, and you should totally buy her a gift certificate.
I can assure you, this post isn't that. Not even close. In fact, if you were thinking of giving my services as a gift this holiday season, this post is asking you to reconsider
Wait, what? "But Jennifer, aren't you a for-profit business who makes money when people hire you?". Yep, I sure am. But I'm also a person with a heart for making other people feel good about themselves...and that's where the challenge lies.
Every time I have a speaking engagement, I hang around afterward to talk to women who didn't get their questions answered, or were to embarrassed to ask in a group where to buy decent underwear. I cherish these conversations, but something funny happens in November. Women come up and inquire about my services, and then say "My sister could do so much better--I should get her a gift certificate" or "I'd love to hire you to help my mother". My response to those comments is always "Please don't do that"
I'm not an overly modest person, so forgive me when I say that my services are freaking amazing. I have helped women get jobs, get promotions, lose weight, reconnect with their husbands, and in general, get their groove back. When a woman is ready to invest in herself, working with me can be completely transformative (or it can simply make getting dressed in the morning .less of a soul-crushing experience--either way, life is better).
However, to a woman who isn't ready for--or simply doesn't want--a style makeover, your gift pretty much says "You're not ok the way you are. Here's how you can be better". Um....Merry Christmas? I know you mean well when you want the women in your life to look as good as they can, but was that the message you wanted your gift to convey? Probably not.
We all know women who could look better. Hell, we could all probably look better, myself included, but some women just don't prioritize style. And that's ok. As long as they're happy with how they look, you should be too.
So, how do you know if an Apple & Pear service would be a great gift, or a passive-aggressive dig at someone you supposedly care about? Here are a few tips:
1) Are you coming from a place of "Wow, Linda would really love this!" or "Wow, Linda could really use this". If it's the latter, please don't hire me.
2) Has Linda ever expressed a desire to improve her style, or make sense of her closet, or frustration with her wardrobe...or anything remotely related to those subjects? If so, you're probably good to go. If Linda is still wearing pants from 1987 that are too short, but she seems unconcerned, please don't hire me.
3) Did Linda forward you this post with a note that says "I would love this!"? That's what's called "a hint". You're clear to buy the gift.
4) Did Linda forward you this post with a note that says "Please stop trying to make me over"? That's also a hint. Please don't hire me.
5) Are you Linda, buying your own gift, and you've always wanted a stylish, stress-free wardrobe? Good for you! Please hire me.
That's it...pretty simple, really. If there's the tiniest chance working with me would make a woman feel bad about herself, please don't hire me. Despite my best efforts, I've been put in that situation before (a few times), and let me tell you, it's not fun for me, and it's not fun for the recipient. And the giver looks like a judgmental jerk. Good times all around...
If you're REALLY unsure how the gift of style would be received, contact me. I've got advice on bringing up the topic gently.
In the comments, tell me if you're a plan-ahead-done-by-Labor-Day gift giver, or a Oh-crap-what-can-I-buy-from 7-11-on-Christmas-Eve kind of shopper! I've been known to do both!