In May 2014 grad school ended. After the hustle and bustle of two years of late nights, endless papers, exhausting reflection, student activities, cohort outings, and sleepless nights, I was ready to enjoy the extra free time. I started my first professional position in October and had extra time to spend time with my husband and “read for fun”. It was wonderful but I felt that I could handle more. I had extra time and energy and I wasn’t sure how to fill it.
I have always been on the fence about direct sales companies: always trying to sell you something, always trying to recruit you to be on their “team”. I saw a Facebook ad for Chloe + Isabel, clicked it, and never thought that it would turn into the experience that it has. I was drawn to the motto: “Be creative. Be confident. Be you.” This sounded like something I could stand behind, I thought.
As I got going with C+I, I had minimal expectations: something fun, on the side that could fill my time and help me grow. Making a little extra cash wouldn’t hurt. I was struggling to make friends post-graduate school. I thought maybe this could help in that way as well. I wanted to make some new connections. On the surface, Chloe + Isabel is a direct sales jewelry company with a lifetime replacement guarantee, home parties & sales, goals & monthly incentives. Once I looked a little deeper, I learned that it is a lot more. We are a community of entrepreneurs working together and supporting one another day in and day out. We are a collection of individuals from all over the country from different walks of life. All of our goals are different. All of our reasons for joining are different, but we are a family.
Since getting involved in C+I, my professional wardrobe has expanded and my self-confidence has grown. I have hardly been one to accessorize in the past. I can remember being a teenager and my mom begging me to put some earrings on. My wardrobe has transformed because of my newfound ability to accessorize. I can’t believe what I was missing out on for so many years! My whole life I have steered away from blingy pieces, sparkles, statement necklaces, etc. I’ve preferred to blend in instead of stand out. C+I has helped me with my self-confidence in so many ways.
Another expected side effect of becoming a C+I merchandiser: my relationships have deepened and I have met so many incredible people. Chloe + Isabel has reconnected me with friends that I’ve lost touch with. It has helped me to meet amazing women from all over and I am so thankful for the connections that I have made! They are lifelong. Shoutouts to: Kate, Calliemae, Dianys, Caitlyn, Jonna, Nicole, Claire, Niha, Chavel, Ashleigh – and many more!
I am a better #SApro because of Chloe + Isabel because I am also a better person. I have grown in new ways and I am continuously challenged every day through C+I. If I am fortunate enough to make my way back into student activities someday, I have a different perspective on marketing. My social media engagement skills have grown and I see marketing and promotions through a different lens. I have a newfound respect for all direct sales companies. Many of us are getting something out of this experience that is about much more than the sale.
You never know what you’re going to get out of an experience until you give it a try. I think of being a C+I merchandiser as less of a side hustle, and more of a part of who I am. My student affairs professional identity is not separate from who I am as a person. As long as C+I continues to help me grow, be challenged, and connecting me to new people, I’ll be sticking with it.
Be creative. Be confident. Be you.