As the new year approaches, everyone’s thinking about change. Maybe it’s time for a new look, a new image? For Deborah Reynolds, 49, every day at work is about changing how people look and feel.
But her career started in a workplace where how you looked was not so important. After graduating with a degree in criminology and political science, the Vancouver resident was recruited by Corrections Canada for a job at a federal penitentiary.
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Layoffs three years later led her to become an immigration investigator, where she got the chance to travel while helping to locate and arrest major criminals.
But losing her old job “made me realize no job is secure.” Encouraged by her father, she decided to start up a business on the side for extra income, and to fall back on if she ever got laid off again.
Her current job satisfied her love of working with people, but it wasn’t creative. In her teens she’d loved to paint, draw and experiment with makeup.
So Reynolds took a diploma in makeup artistry on evenings and weekends. After she graduated in the spring of 1990, she began doing makeup for weddings.
But the makeup didn’t always make her clients feel beautiful, not matter how great they looked.
“It’s not just a surface thing, you literally had to shift how they thought about themselves and transform them.”
So Reynolds kept learning: She took courses in advanced makeup, colour analysis and image while reading widely on everything from fashion to self-esteem.
In 1996, she quit her job and incorporated her business. “There came a point where I couldn’t do the work anymore. My mind was on my business,” she said.
As part of her initial consultation, Reynolds has image makeover clients fill out an exhaustive series of questions about their values and goals. Then, she spends two full days with them, getting them a new haircut, more stylish glasses, new makeup and new clothes.
But Reynolds also spends time talking to her clients about their internal side and helps them with leadership, time management, networking skills and self image.
Her clients include men and women climbing the corporate ladder who feel their look doesn’t reflect their work goals and divorcées wanting to start dating again. She recently helped a single mom who was off work because of depression.
When Reynolds is not working with clients, she’s marketing her business by attending events, making calls, doing online networking, and writing — she pens articles and is working on a book.
As for her own image? She used to wear long, artificial nails. Now, she keeps her nails trimmed with no polish, wears comfortable but current clothes and light makeup. “My look is very simple and clean and polished.”