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15 May 2007

Madeover On the subway this morning I happened to notice an article in Metro (a freebie tabloid newspaper) that piqued my interest. As soon as the woman over whose shoulder I was reading put down her paper I pounced on it, and sure enough the “Style By Jury” article on page 29 featured someone I have met.
Christa Kroboth is the owner of a Toronto area singles meet up business called “A Stroll in the Park”. She organizes outdoor activities for groups of single people such as walks in the park and weekend bus trips to Algonquin Park or New York or wherever.

I went on one of her trips last year, a hiking trip to Tobermory (on the Bruce Peninsula by Georgian Bay). My friend MuMu wanted to go and invited me along. I love hiking, Tobermory was gorgeous, and I enjoyed getting to hang out with MuMu, but the group experience was less than stellar. Although the Stroll in the Park website claimed that the age range of attendees was 25 to 45, it was actually more like 45 to 70, with some people even older than that. Not to be ageist, but when you’re in your early thirties and hoping to meet someone for romance and hot pig sex, it’s a bit of a downer to find yourself hanging around with a geriatric socks and sandals crowd (okay, that’s unfair to call people in their forties and fifties “geriatric”, but I was disgruntled, and there were a lot of socks and sandals). And naturally the hiking pace was slower than MuMu and I would have liked. We kept getting waaay ahead of the others and then Christa would yell at us.

Anyway. "Style By Jury" gave Christa a terrific makeover, of course. It was the usual makeover routine – they made negative comments about her clothes and hair and makeup, she was stunned to hear it, then they did her hair and makeup, worked on her teeth, picked out a new wardrobe for her, and made her look fab. In this case there was another dimension, because they told her that her business needed a makeover as well, and pointed out that after 17 years of running a singles meetup business, she is still single herself.

So they also set her up with someone who would give her advice about marketing her business. I was actually much more interested in what they would get her to change about her business, but that makeover wasn’t covered. I hope they make short work of those awful emails she used to send out which were so badly formatted and written they were almost unreadable (I heard other people on the trip complaining about them), and revamped her equally amateurish web site. Also she should NOT be claiming to have a client age range of 25 to 45 when it’s actually more like 45 to 70.

Christa was saying during the trip that she was worried if she grew her business and hired more people she would lose “some of the attention to detail”. Er, what attention to detail? The travel accommodations and agenda were really pretty basic. She hadn’t taken the trouble to really inform herself with more than very general information about the places we visited. When we were walking through the woods she would say something like, “This seems to be a bush of some kind.” No, I am not exaggerating. She really did say that. And when, after the trip that I did not enjoy, I replied to one of her barrage of emails with a curt request that she please not send me any more, she replied, “Sure. Tell all your friends about our fun group!” When someone tries your services once and then makes it clear they are not interested in any further dealings, it is NOT a good time to try to cheerlead for your business. She should have asked me for feedback if anything.

Her makeover is also going to be on the W Network tonight, but I don’t have cable and so can’t watch it. It was funny to happen to see that article though. Who really expects to see someone they know on those makeover shows?
posted by Orange Swan 15 May | 09:17
Sounds like she needs an extended version of the makeover. An "Extreme" makeover, with life coaches and everthing.
I did see someone I know on one of those "judge" shows on tv. He was the defendant on "The Peoples' Court" - and the judge ruled in his favor! He owns a local gas station/garage. I thought he looked familiar, and when they mentioned the county, then it clicked.
posted by redvixen 15 May | 10:25
She didn't seem that messed up, just kind of clueless as to how she and her business came across. She is an enthusiastic, outgoing person, but didn't seem very self-aware or sophisticated. Her basic business concept was good, but there was lots of room for improvement in the execution.

The "Style by Jury" thing could be just what she needs. And possibly a more business-minded business partner.
posted by Orange Swan 15 May | 10:43
One of my mentors was on that show - I opted not to attend her "reveal" for fear the show people try to book me for my own makeover.

The casting person literally wanders around downtown trolling for people who need makeovers.
posted by SassHat 15 May | 20:25
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