Your skin and the sun

Finally I am back in Buenos Aires and I found a total and very hot Spring-Summer environment. Even though is still Spring, we have days of 27 degrees which, as you can imagine, means that swimming pools are full, people take out from the closet their bikinis and the soft and thin dresses, but specially means that is time to use a lot, but really a lot of sunscreen.

Few weeks ago I went to the dermatologist with my mum, and the doctor detected on my mums skin a little something that was not serious but still was something bad that Thank God, they removed and nothing more will happen, but believe me, it was kind of scary to see that something that doesn’t look at all as a mole was something bad and even dangerous. I asked the doctor how this could happen and he told me that my mum had that thing from the sun that she took when she was young. OH, OH!!!! “Houston, we have a problem!!!” And not only me, I think we all have a problem since at least me and my friends used to put on to get tan what ever potion that people suggested. I am talking of things like beer, coke, carrot juice, baby oil, etc. I used to spend every single weekend having suntan in order to be like a fried potato! I thought that was so cool!!! But now I know that it was not so cool, because I have to go and visit the dermatologist more often after what happened to my sweet mum …

As you can imagine, that episode, inspired me to write about some things that we have to consider every time we expose our skin to the sun. It is important to take care of our body in order to avoid end up with a nice shrimp tan! The following tips will be helpful for you, if you live in the south cone where now is almost summer time, or if you live in the north hemisphere where even though is winter but you can go to the beach:


1. Do not get a suntan during the time where the sun is stronger (from 11 am to 2pm). Now, if you live in the south cone, I will say that you should try to avoid it until 4pm because here the sun is very strong for a longer period.


2. Always use sunscreen before expose your skin to the sun. The best moment to apply it is just after the shower because then your skin will really absorb and you can also be sure that you put it in all your body. Then during the day, if you swim, take a fast “beach shower” to get rid of the salt or the bleach from the pool, and then put again sunscreen all over your body, that way you will be protected all the time.

3. If you have very sensitive skin, use a body sunscreen factor 20 (minimum) and a face sunscreen factor 50 (this will help you to avoid the horrible sun stains that usually last for ever in your face). Also, another good option, is to use a hat to avoid the sun directly to your face, this is not “an old person” thing, is a “protected person” thing.

4. Now, if you want to have a perfect even, but protected tan, once you apply the sunscreen, try to be under the sun the same amount of time for each side of your body, don’t forget the laterals, it is not nice to be white under your arm! And please, avoid the horrible stripes of the bikini it is not sexy to have the sun mark in your back or in your chest, avoid it!


5. If you have children, do not forget to protect them if the sun is too strong put them a t-shirt, it’s always a good option to protect them.


6. For sensitive lips, use a lip sun block with the higher factor that you could find, try to use a special one for the lips not the regular sunscreen for your face. In my case, I suffer a lot if I don’t use it because I immediately get lip sores.

7. If your hair suffers from the sun and get too dry, you can also put on a product to protect it, and survive from the salt of the sea and the bleach from the pool.


8. All of the previous advices apply for men an women (well the one about the bikini stripes not), but I am mentioning this because we all have to take care of the sun, forget that thing of “men do not need sunscreen”, the sun is stronger every day so the sun block has to become your best friend.


With all these tips, I am sure you are ready to start enjoying of the sun and the beautiful days that come ahead, so take your sunscreen and enjoy it!

See you soon!


Originality and design made in Mexico

Today I am going to present you a Mexican designer who had conquer a segment of the fashion market designing a very common accessory with a very unique and original technique.

I am talking about Claudia Cornew, she design and produce handcraft handbags with a very original and different technique called Felted Wool, which she will explain us latter what is it. Claudia studied Chemistry at college but she dropped it, because she was more interested in design, art and handcrafting. Later, she started Industrial Design where she found her profound passion for the art and she exploited her creative side as much as she could. Even though she dropped again her studies, the experience was very rich, especially because it was during that period that she really connected with her current job and passion.

1. When did you decide to dedicate your life to fashion?
I think everything started when I studied Industrial Design; I had a lot of contact with the creative world. I’ve always worked with textiles and embroidery, I love all that! I really enjoy the manual work what I do it’s very technical.


2. Why did you decide to do handbags?
It was not planned, one day I learned about the technique (Felted wool) so I made my first handbag and everybody loved it. Then, I started to explore more the materials and how to work with them. At the beginning I used Mexican wool, but then after trying different things, I realized that it was not the ideal material for the handbag, it was too rough. So, I started to use the Australian wool that is softer. I continued exploring the technique, I made a lot of research and I found out that there are many things that can be done to innovate. I’ve learnt the technique form an American friend since my husband is American and that makes easier to learn and research about it. Currently I am doing also bracelets, wallets and basic clothes where the contrast of wool and silk are interesting.

3. The selection of a handbag by a woman has a special meaning for you?
For me, the more important thing that a women has to consider when she choose a handbag is comfort, more than fashion. I only sale in my studio, and there I help my client to select the best handbag for her, there is always an special color and size for each woman and I always tell them which one is better for them. Sometimes I prefer to tell the truth than close the sale. My objective is to help my client to look better, buying something that looks good on them, and I am always very honest. All the people that come to my studio learn about my products because someone else has recommended me to them, so I always try to make them feel comfortable feeling that they buy something that really match with her personality.


4. What do we have to carry in a handbag?

You have to carry as less as you can! Really, we usually have too many things in the handbag and we don’t use any of that. I believe the more important things that we should carry are: money to be able to move around, a mobile for emergencies and your house keys.

5. Is there an ideal handbag size?
Not really, it is very personal choice. Some women can’t use what is in fashion because they will not look good. I believe the size of the handbag depends on your personality. I don’t create my handbags following any season, but what I do is to change in every new collection the whole color palette and the designs. For example, now I am doing more sophisticated handbags, bigger than before, with a lot of style and color. I design based on my personality, my experiences, I want to transmit that on my products. The only thing that I maintain always is the material that I use (Felted wool) because I love it, it is very rare and original, some people ask me to mix it with other things but I don’t want to, I love it the way it is. (Until now we are still talking about the technique Felted wool and I am sure that by now you want to know, what is that???? … Well here is the explanation)


6. Are all your products hand made? Do you do all by yourself?
Everything is hand made, but I have a lot of help. I have my studio where I sell the handbags, but I also have a studio in my house, and there I dye the materials with another person that helps me. Once the embroidered bag is ready I apply the Felted Wool process. The process consist in disturbing the wool elements by changing the temperature, humidity and PH of the wool, all of that shrinks the handbag and once I get the shape I want, I dye it with the color of my choice. It is important to say that every handbag is different because the color is never the same intensity. Once the handbags are ready, I send them to the seamstress who makes the linings. With time I acquire a better technique of knitting by working with weavers of the State of Mexico who tought me the crochet technique that they use to produce dresses and carpets. They used a very thin crochet hook so I changed it to a thicker one to do my handbags. Currently, I still work with them but since they are too many, I explain what I want to do to one of them and then she explain the request to the others and then everything is fine. I give work to many people, I give them the material to knit and then at home in my studio I apply the Felted Wool process. In my studio I have white handbags so my clients can choose the design and the color, making a totally personalized product. As you can see, many of the handbags have flowers, but they are a separated item, people can use them in the handbag or as a pin. I have all of them in a tray and people choose the one they like. I also have another accessories like bracelets, rings which I do personally because those are not knitted, they only use the Felted wool technique applied in woolen fiber (animal hair). One important thing is that all my products are hand wash with cold water.

7. What makes you different from your competitors?
The material and the way I commercialize the products. People loves to go to the designer “atelier” and chose their handbag there, it makes a very exclusive and fun experience. I don’t know how do people learn about my studio but I have clients visiting me every day. Now, I started to sell my products in the “Fusion Bazar” that is for new designers and it has a lot of people every time they open. The next bazar will be in December 2 to 4 in Coyoacan. You can check the information here.


8. What is your source of inspiration?
Everything inspires me, I am always alert, I had little notebook where I write all the ideas that I see, the colors, graphics, everything. I think it’s an attitude of being always alert. I have a lot of notebooks with ideas, and sometimes I use them to start working, other times I just put them in a drawer for later. I travel a lot, and I love art, so I go a lot to museums and I am always looking for art. I love Bauhaus, the contemporary art inspires me. The secret is to be open to observe, observe and observe, then draw the idea, write the color and always be like that. I’ve just travel to New York and that was a very important trip for me. I also went to Australia where they are specialist in wool, so I always learn in my trips.

9. Tell me about your future plans, what are you going to do?
I am going to start selling at the MOMA in NY!!! They have a program called “Destination Mexico” that has the purpose of support Mexican designers. First the people from the MOMA came on May or April, and hire the art curator from the Franz Mayer, Ana Elena Mallet. She chooses from 500 designers the 80 that will be finalist and I was part of that group. Then we had to send some samples and it was a selection process during the summer until we end up being only around 50 designers that will go to sell their products at the MOMA in New York. I can tell you that all the products are very beautiful because I’ve seen many of them in the Bazar Fusion where I sell my handbags. I believe this is a unique opportunity and I want to make the most out of it.


And before we finish ….


What do you think that can define the style of a woman?
I think is all about the personality, is about what she really is and how she show it to the others. Sometimes in my studio, I see people that try to project an image that is not really who they are. I can see that because I am very good analyzing the human behavior and I use that to help my clients when they buy my products. Since my products are not cheap, I always help my clients to choose the best thing for them; it’s part of the service and they like that a lot.


What advice will you give to the entrepreneurs that are starting?
I will tell them to not give up, even if they fail and the business is not that attractive at the beginning. Something that works for me is to always try new things, I do experiments and then I analyze the result and if I don’t like it, I try again with something different. I was very lucky because when I launch my product the Felted wool was a complete innovation in Mexico. Sometimes when things didn’t go the way I wanted, I was kind of depressed but I keep trying until I get a product that has high quality. I believe I do a very consistent product considering that is a hand made work, not an industrial production. I love what I do!


Uf! what can I say … I just love Claudias’ work and I feel very proud to know that many mexicans designers will start selling their products at the MOMA in NY. You can see all the information about the show room of Claudia here.


See you soon!



Mexican designers

As you might remember, I am in Mexico since last week due to the EO Awards. I decided to stay little longer to visit my family and also to be able to make a little research of any new Mexican designer that I can introduce to you. Today I will present one of my favorites Mexican designers: Pineda Covalín. And next week I will talk about a new designer who works in a very original way a very common accessory.

In 1995, two designers created Pineda Covalín: Cristina Pineda and Ricardo Covalín. Their designs have always been different since they use only figures and images of the Mayan, Aztec and Zapotecan culture. They started doing ties for companies as VW and Coca Cola, always with their original designs, and later they expanded their production selling in different countries around the world in luxury stores and airports stores.

It is very probable that many of you don’t know the brand, but let me tell you that this brand could easily compete with luxury brands as Hermes since they only work with silk and all their designs are carefully chosen being original, colorful and different.

In fact, Pineda Covalín started as a brand of ties and scarves, but with time they expanded their collection to dresses, bags, accessories and even shoes. Therefore, currently the brand is for men and women who want to have and original and colorful piece in their wardrobe, but specially something that represents, in a luxury way, the Mexican culture.

All the accessories are made in silver, combined with silk pieces and of course always with prehispanic designs.

One of the most interesting details of the brand, is that in every piece you will find a little note explaining the meaning of the design that is printed on it, so you can understand what is the importance of it in the Mexican history.

Pineda Covalín is a brand that combines luxury, history, color and design making each piece unique and very Mexican!

See you soon!


Helping people to look and feel better

Today I am going to introduce you to one of the most respected Image Consultants in Argentina; I am talking about Sandy Cornejo, founder of CE Imagen, company that she created 10 years ago with her partner and friend María Pía Estebecorena.

1. How did you decide to make the switch from psychology to Image Consulting?
I studied clinical psychology and after certain time, I decided that it was not what I wanted to do; that I needed to do something totally different, so I started to do makeup for brides and special events. After a while, I realized that what I was doing was not enough neither … One day, watching the movie “The Kid” where the main character is an Image Consulting, I decided that I wanted to do that, exactly that! So I can mix the external (esthetic) with the internal (psychology). I started to study many different courses about Image consulting, because back then the career didn’t exist, people didn’t even understand what was the image consulting. Later I met María Pía, that was working in her own event marketing company and she hired me as a make-up artist, so … I told her the idea, she loved it, and we found CE Imagen.


2. Did you started alone? Or since the very beginning was CE Imagen?
Since the very beginning I was with María Pía, it is a funny story because her company was CE (Compañía de Eventos – Event company) so we started doing Image consulting under the same name, and after a while we decided to change the meaning of CE to “Cornejo Estebecorena” (our last names). But the coincidence was that our last names were just the initials of company name … funny things had happened to us since the very beginning and we really believe on that. We believe in the power of word because we have seen how it works. We used to say, … “imagine having our CE building …” and look at us now, we are in our CE building, it took us 10 years, but we did it!


3. Why do you think people hire and image consulting?
I believe that is because they are not happy with their selves, they realize that her image (what other people see) is not what they really are, and then they decided to change it.


4. Do you think there is a specific issue that makes us feel that we need an image consulting?
Yes, normally are situations related with self-esteem. Maybe the person is getting divorced, or just dating someone new, or they just loose their jobs, or they try to keep the one they have … there is always a reason that makes you want to look better.


5. Do you have more clients that are women? Or men?
I have both, but they are quite different. The men usually comes asking for help to improve their image and the reason is always related to their job, they want to be successful, or look powerful, etc. Women are more conscious about their personal issues, they usually come because they want to change their appearance to be successful in their personal life.


6. Knowing that you are a psychologist … what do you think people are more concerned about, their internal or their external image?
I don’t think we can separate that, both things are linked. Many times, people feel bad about something and they just don’t care about how they look, or … they care too much about their image and that could be also because they feel bad internally. I believe people are more conscious about how they look than how they feel. Now, people do what they can do, sometimes they go to the hairdresser to have a haircut trying to feel better … it all depends. We have clients that come after having therapy, because they feel better and want to look better. There is a certain energy that is required to get ready every morning and look good, if you are not ok internally it is very possible that you will not have that energy and then you will have no motivation to look good.


7. What do you think about the new parameter of “perfect bodies”?
Very good question, it is one of my personal crusades. I think that having the image of a perfect body and not being able to get it, cause a lot of frustration and suffering. It is just impossible to look like models or celebrities that have a huge team dedicated to make them perfects (body, hair, nails, clothes and even how to behave). For example, here in Argentina Susana Giménez and Mirtha Legrand, are very old and both look amazing everywhere and that is not real. The new perfect bodies are the result of surgeries, silicon and botox. I believe there is a psychological cost of not having a perfect body, proportions are distorted, people don’t get that, if you are thin your body will be according to that, it is just impossible to have a lot of bust and butt if you are thin … we try to help our clients to be realistic and accept their selves the way they are. I am very concern about it …


8. What do you think is more important to define in a client: color, style or body proportions? And why?
Defining the color for their skin is very important because they can look younger and happier or sad and older … but also it is important to know your body proportions because then you will know which clothes are best for you and it doesn’t matter if it is cheap or expensive, you can look good with out expending a lot of money. The style definition is important but, it is the last thing to care … the client will express their style if they look and feel good in their clothes.


9. What has been your hardest challenge?
Working with people recovering of cancer (chemotherapy) and with people with overweight. The women recovering of cancer has no hair, no eyebrows and on top of that they are going through a very complex moment. But you know what? The satisfaction of helping them to feel as they were feeling before getting sick is amazing, it worth it! Regarding the people with overweight, it has been difficult because the Argentinean market didn’t help us, before, there were no stores that offered big sizes, then only two stores and one was very expensive and the other was not good. Just now there are more stores so it is easier to help this kind of clients.


10. How can we identify a good Image Consulting?
First of all they project in their own image that they know how to do it, not only about the esthetic but also their posture, their confidence. Second, a real professional has to be able to justify every single thing that they suggest you, don’t trust of the one who keep telling you that things are that way “cos they say so” … And third, they always have to give you something new, maybe is a new way to combine your clothes, I don’t know … something different. They have to give value to the client.


11. It is possible to be a good Image Consulting with out being psychologist?
Yes, the thing is to be empathic with your client, flexible and never impose your opinion. You don’t have to make your client feel bad or humiliated, you have to be empathic trying to understand why they want to change, put yourself in their shoes. There is never the same situation for some one who broke up a relationship, than someone who just starts dating. It is important to take care of what you say and how you say it. This is not therapy but we have to listen very carefully, and if we think there are some issues they have to take care of, then we can send them to the shrink. In summary, I don’t think you have to be a shrink but you have to know about this topic.


12. Here in CE Imagen you teach image consulting and you also do Image consulting. What do you like to do more?
Mmhhh …. (Thinking for a while) I like to teach and educate. But also doing image consulting is great, because you help people to increase their self-esteem. If I have to choose I think teaching is what I like the most, people learn and have fun.


13. You’ve just opened the Argentinean chapter of AICI. What are the plans for 2012?
Of course we want to make it grow. The objective is to have the certification because it will help to our profession. To obtain the certification people has to do an exam and then it is a requirement to renewal it every two years which implies that you have to keep updating, teaching, writing articles, etc. I think is very important to have the certification in Argentina because then you will be able to differentiate between a professional Image Consulting and those that are less serious. It is very important to make people understand that to become an Image Consulting you have to study is not something improvised.

And before we go …


How do you define the style in a woman? Which things define it?
“Style is the esthetic expression of our personality”. That is how I define style. For example, if a person has romantic style, it is very possible that they will be tender, delicate and never aggressive. If another person use animal print, that means she is sexy, more aggressive and more out there. It is important to dress accordingly to what you feel, not following fashion necessarily. That’s why sometimes you change your style during your life, because you change how you feel with age.


Can you give an advice to all the entrepreneurs that are just starting?
First of all I will tell them to be really convinced of what they want to do, so they can ignore all the people who are going to tell them that they just can’t do it. It is important to do a market research to understand why are they going to buy me and not another? This is important for image consulting business and also for a corner store, everyone should do it.
Also, they will have to be prepared because being an entrepreneur is not easy, you have to be persistent and tenacious. You have to be prepare your self to fall and get up many times. This job is a “full life” job not just a “full time” job. You have to forget about weekends and holidays. If we asked María Pía, she will make emphasis in the financials and the business plan, that is also important, but I am more creative so for me the more important thing is to be prepare to work a lot! Is learning to live with out a fix salary, feeling insecure and keep thinking what to do? But then, with time, you get establish and you start to feel more secure and things get better but … it’s difficult to get organized! It could be very frustrating! Sometimes if you have an idea, you talk to 10 people, 9 say that they are not interested and the other one steal it! It’s complicated! It is very typical that until now, people says that being and Image consulting is not a profession, so I keep struggling trying to make people to respect my job.

If you want to study Imaga Consulting visit the web of CE Image, you will find different options and seminars.

See you!


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