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Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

Heather laments her inability to get Sonja on the same page.

By Heather Thomson

I just can't quit Sonja. . .

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I scheduled a meeting with Sonja to go over the working concepts for her toaster oven and the progress we had made on branding her logo since our initial meeting back at my office a few weeks prior. I was really excited to show her just how beautifully the logo was evolving and what it looked like laid out on her business cards, etc. and how the mark was flowing from her vision for Sonja Home and Sonja in the City.

To my surprise and slight horror, we walked into the dining room, to find Ramona sitting next to Sonja at the table ready and primed for confrontation. I really felt like I was being set up. Did Sonja really want my help or was she just exercising me? Sonja knows my history with Ramona, so to blindside me and have her at the meeting with no forewarning was a damaging move.

As you would expect, Ramona was on the attack and playing the total contrarian. From one businessperson to another, I can respect Ramona. But really? She wasn't in any initial meetings with Sonja and me, she has no understanding of the professionals at the table with her, and there she was, jumping in midstream with her personal opinions and taking personal calls. I have been a part of creative teams for many companies throughout my 20 year career from Sean "Diddy" Combs' Sean John label to Beyoncé and Tina Knowles' House of Deréon to my own Yummie Tummie line, and I can say with the utmost confidence that I know how to do this. . .I want to help Sonja, but she is really making it challenging and now throwing in the Ramona curveball. She's almost sabotaging herself throwing her good Samaritan team off track. This meeting was meant to be a creative brainstorm with Sonja. I asked Gian Andre, the photographer I felt best suited to shoot her campaign, to join us and to meet her and we all really wanted to start to pump out the vision for the creative in this meeting. We had so much to discuss and to pick Sonja's brain about but as you saw, the meeting went nowhere.

My dream team and I left feeling deflated, and annoyed. We had done so much work for Sonja based on her initial direction, and I had spent a good deal of time working with James and speaking with Gian Andre about shooting her campaign for what felt like nothing. I tried to stay cool under the circumstances, but as you saw, I was really frustrated with the whole situation. I was not only wasting my time, but even worse, the time of my professional friends I had enlisted to help.

Flash-forward a few days to the Yummie Tummie catalog photoshoot where I had previously invited LuAnn to come down to look at the amazing accessories we had pulled for the shoot. LuAnn is a jewelry fanatic and I knew she would have fun shopping the assortment and hanging to watch some of my photoshoot in work. . .but after the discouraging meeting at Sonja's, James, Gian, and I spoke and decided helping Sonja was going to be a lot more difficult than we had anticipated. Under the circumstances, I felt I should talk to Sonja right away and so I asked her to meet up with us at the shoot where James and I could share our concerns and put the brakes on our involvement in the project. Although I had double booked, I decided not to cancel with LuAnn because Sonja and Lu have a really great rapport together and so I thought it might not be a bad idea to have her around as another voice of reason if my delivery to Sonja came off as anything other than sincere. I run my own business and spend the precious free time I have with my husband and our children, working on my charities, and with my dear friends and I don't have enough of it to even go around to myself. I felt like Sonja was stuck with a vision for her brand, without the means to see it through, and I felt good to do this favor to help her even if it meant missing some of the other things that were important to get it done.

I thought I could be a strong voice and to help Sonja to focus. But when she said, "I am the client," I was taken back at how delusional she was! How did doing a favor for a friend turn her into my client? Maybe this was a good time to bring in Lu! But then, when she said I was a quitter -- my warrior instincts kicked in and she got me! I don't quit anything! And as you saw, I can't quit Sonja either. Sonja IS a character and she cannot get out of her own way sometimes, but she is warm and has a big heart and I am genuinely fond of her. SO! We resolved to move forward! Part in partial because I could see how upset the thought of me pulling back made Sonja and partly because I did not have to ask James to retouch, format, and frame two set ups and do double the work, because she got him to agree to it himself! And because, we can help her! The guys and I are passionate about the creative direction I’ve set for her and I know she is going to love it in the end!

Now I will just have to prove it to her I just want her to be happy!

LuAnn's holiday party was not to be missed. LuAnn can put a great group together for a good cause any day and I love that the Life and Style Party centered around the winter coat drive. New York winters can be brutal and we all have an extra coat to spare to keep someone warm! When the other ladies and I received our invitations, we also got the instructions that we were to join Lu on stage to sing "Jingle Bells." How fun is that? As I was entering the party with Jon, "the band" bumped in front of us. I consider myself a pretty hip chick but as these guys pushed their way into the party I thought to myself, "this is an interesting musical choice for a holiday party." I said to Jon, "I think they've been doing their hair and partying all day in preparation of their big event!"

What Are the Words to Jingle Bells?

Singing on-stage with the girls was fun, (I didn't unwrap my hand from the mic!), but as you saw. . .it was the band's crazy, off- kilter, post-Jingle Bells performance that really stole the show! WOWZA! I had a feeling something unexpected was going to happen with these guys but it actually took me a minute to realize how bawdy these boys were! It was a moment of Mohawk Madness (I will chalk that up to the dinner at Le Cirq, too), and between Sonja's performers at Aviva and Reid's anniversary party and now LuAnn's holiday band I think the new rule has to be, "secure second opinions before hiring the entertainment!!"

We all were gathered at one of our tables, when Sonja suddenly got very emotional and was really trying to make a point. What that point was, was not totally clear initially, but I could see she was very upset and she was trying to be honest about her concerns. She was concerned about all the baby talk and Jacques' intentions with Lu and, while she didn't choose the right words or the right venue, Sonja's heart was in the right place (with a little self projection mixed in there too). She cares deeply about LuAnn and Jacques realized this --and was a complete trooper. Like I said earlier, Sonja is a character. . .you can't quit her. . .all you can do is love her.

Stay tuned in the next few weeks, the drama is going to hit new levels and you don't want to miss a second of it.

Thanks so much for all your feedback. I love hearing from you.

To learn more about me or my shapewear brand Yummie Tummie go to Facebook,, and Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @iamheathert and please go to to sign up to become an organ and tissue donor.



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