AICI Sydney

2014 Image Consultants’ Retreat Review

“How to Make $100k pa as an Image Consultant”

2014 AICI Sydney Retreat at the Carrington Hotel, Katoomba

2014 AICI Sydney Retreat at the Carrington Hotel, Katoomba

The week preceding the AICI Chapter event certainly set the stage for a fantastic event. Members flooded Facebook with images; discussions of what to wear; questions of who would be rooming with whom; what finery and frippery could be stuffed into a weekender bag; and how best to create the authentic Gatsby glamour style to ensure the weekend was a party from Friday to Sunday.

Then the big day came. Friday February 21 finally arrived and again social media was abuzz with the news that the most fabulous contingent of image consultants – members from the AICI Sydney Chapter – were converging on the sensational Carrington Hotel in the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney. Thankfully the conversation started early in the day, and those who might otherwise have forgotten their pyjamas were reminded, and their modesty henceforth maintained! Others just had to farewell their otherwise unimpressed pets that were displaced from suitcases to make room for even more accessories and feather boas than has possibly ever been imported into the mountains district since the 1920’s!

AICI Sydney Retreat Treasure Hunt

AICI Sydney Retreat Treasure Hunt


Friday night kicked off the event with a treasure hunt around the hotel and grounds. Delegates hunted to find authentic Gatsby articles and be photographed about the hotel and grounds with feathers and moustaches. It was an excellent icebreaker activity to set the playful tone that was to resonate throughout the weekend with everyone having a chance to have fun and get to know each other. The highest individual score was attained by Dr Pat (one of three of Antonio’s Aussie clients who joined us for the weekend) who cut a fine figure in his braces, grandpa shirt and cloth cap ensemble. Then it was on to the first of many fantastic meals shared over the weekend, a night out at the Niagara Restaurant, Katoomba.

On Saturday it was down to business with our most esteemed colleague, direct from the US, the very accomplished, men’s style expert and global style business dynamo, Mr Antonio Centeno. Antonio led us through a range of business and men’s style topics including: Why Men Buy, How to Know if your Business will Succeed in 48 Hours, Sales Is Not A Bad Word – Foundations Of Pricing And Why Free Is Not Free, And The Science Of Style – Making Fashion Matter To Practical Men. The day was full of practical style and business advice and strategies that we could take and immediately implement in our own businesses to affect a positive change and increase our business success.

A touch of gatsby pre-dinner drinks


AICI Sydney
AICI Sydney Retreat Dinner

Saturday night was the gala dinner and the Gatsby theme was in full effect. All of the delegates donned their best Gatsby-style attire, sequined dresses shone, strands of pearls gleamed, fringing swished about, rhinestones sparkled, and feathers and fur were all about. It was quite the spectacle with everyone really embracing the spirit of the event and having a whole lot of fun dressing up. The three course meal was divine, with the dining table also beautifully styled with candelabras, “jewels”, feathers and pearls. Then it was off for cocktails; some conversation; Charleston dancing; and shooting pool! Altogether a fantastic fun night.

On Sunday we returned to The Grand Ballroom (our training room) with Antonio to learn Why Systems Are Sexy, Fabric, Fit and Style – Using The Pareto Principle In Style And Your Business and the second part of Determining Business Success Through Planning And Discovering Our Unique Competitive Advantage.

Of course there was more lovely food and time for conversation with friends throughout the day, and discussion about the next retreat began – with everyone agreeing that it was so worthwhile that there ought to be a second event later in 2014.

We also had an opportunity to thank our special guest for coming to Australia to share his knowledge with us and it was decided that there was no better way to do that than to offer this international man of style an Australian icon – an authentic Akubra Hat. It was clear that Antonio was really pleased to have received such a thoughtful, practical, historical and iconic gift. How could he not? After all, as he teaches, the keys to styling men are to make their fashions practical; to speak to their quality and craftsmanship; to share the history of the piece (the prestige of an iconic brand and the story behind the piece) – and the man will be committed to the investment and style. Antonio was clearly delighted.

So it came to pass that the much anticipated event had now been and gone, and yet the legendary storytelling and sharing of anecdotes of the fun has continued on – such was the success of the event; the fun shared by all; the learning that occurred; the relationships that were built and deepened; and the value that all delegates in attendance have now shared. Thank you to everyone who came and shared the weekend with Antonio Centeno and the AICI Sydney Chapter delegates. Be sure to join us all next time.

Antonio & Retreat Delegates

Many thanks to Claire Bigelow of Rockwell Creative, AICI Sydney VP Membership, for penning this excellent account of our weekend!

Please note that video recordings of the educational components of the weekend will be made available to attendees shortly.

1 Comment

  1. Fantastic article Claire and great overview of the weekend! This was my first AICI Sydney Chapter Retreat weekend and hopefully the start of many more to come. Thanks for being a great room mate :)

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