Reinvention is nothing new for Annette Quinet. The 52-year-old mother of three has made a career in fashion and image consulting for more than three decades, helping others put their best foot forward, while navigating the twists and turns of her own life path.
Annette says she’s always been passionate about clothing and fashion. She studied fashion merchandising at St. Lawrence College and established a successful career in retail. Then she got married and had two children, becoming a stay-at-home mom for several years.
She eventually started doing some marketing for her brother who had opened a learning centre. “I thought this was a good way to segue back into fashion because a lot of the clients, particularly new Canadians, were retraining for jobs and had to reinvent themselves,” says Annette. “That was intimidating for them because they had to go through the interview process and start dressing and feeling the part. That was how I got into image consulting, which was ironic because I was reinventing myself at that point.”
Annette quickly realized she was good at helping people discover what they’re projecting, whether it’s through their clothing, accessories, hair or makeup. “That’s what I’m good at – I can decode it, I can put the whole package together.”
With her education and experience, launching an image consulting business just seemed like a natural fit. In 2004, she launched On Your Mark Images. It took on a life of its own with clients, speaking engagements, co-ordinating and MCing fashion shows, and workshops.
But in 2008, things took a turn with what Annette quips was a “marital realignment,” and subsequently a new baby at age 47. In addition, she was trying to help her older daughter who was struggling with mental health issues. “It took a lot out of me. Talking to people about image is hard when your life is in the throes of crisis. I had to put my life on the back burner while I focused on getting her through some difficult times.”
Being on the other side of that now, Annette is ready to recharge her career. “Now I have the opportunity to go back out there. I have to refocus, because once you step out of this environment, you’ve lost time, possibly credibility, certainly exposure, and your contacts have all changed.” She adds, “But it also gives me an opportunity to reinvent myself and segue into an area that is tailored to where I am in life. Because I’m more seasoned now, I bring more to the table.”
While fashion is sometimes skewed toward the younger generation, Annette knows that “image” is quite different. She explains that you can be very fashionable and project an image, but you don’t have to buy every latest trend. Learning which trends to incorporate, and how, is where women get lost, especially later in their careers. And that’s where Annette comes in. She helps clients decide who they are and how they can best put that forward, whether it’s for career advancement or just to feel good in the milieu in which they’re working in.
The process begins for her clients at an information-gathering session during which Annette discovers what their needs are. From there she helps pick appropriate style lines for their body type, as well as for the type of work they do. “None of us has a perfect physique,” she says. “But there are ways to disguise or draw attention to different features, regardless of your shape or size.”
Annette also does personal shopping and closet audits in which she gives suggestions for which pieces clients can eliminate or add. She can help source clothes and accessories and put ensembles together. “Having knowledge helps you in future shopping trips because you know what works for you – which colours and styles come together to create the perfect palette.”
Helping women put together that whole package is Annette’s passion, and she adds, “It’s a huge compliment when someone says they feel really positive about themselves and they’re achieving the goals they want, and that their image is helping them achieve that.”
â€¨Contact Annette, 613-293-3077