Glasgow-born, Toronto-based Gail McInnes has worked in the fashion industry for over eighteen years with a focus on managing and promoting entrepreneurs and performers. She is owner of publicity agency Magnet Creative Management and co-owner of the exclusive fashion showroom Stylist Box.
Prior to launching her own successful businesses, Gail founded the ground-breaking The Style Box, Canada’s first-ever Canadian fashion designer rental showroom which catered exclusively to high-profile celebrities, dressing them for the Toronto International Film Festival, Emmy Awards, Gemini Awards, and Toronto Fashion Week.
Over the past two decades, she has accumulated an impressive clientele; having worked with actors, artists and performers, including the likes of Stephen Amell (Arrow), internationally renowned rapper Kardinal Offishall, Natalie Brown (The Strain), celebrity chef David Rocco, and reality star and celebrity stylist Brad Goreski; to fashion brands and organizations, including Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI), Lucian Matis, Fashion’s Night Out Toronto, Line Knitwear, CAFTCAD, Andrew Majtenyi, Hilary MacMillan, and many more.
She brings her inherent Scottish charm, expertise and insider knowledge to her role as the fashion host for TDot TV and freelance fashion reporter; having written for FLARE.com, Huffington Post, Global News, View The Vibe, and more.
Her in-depth view and opinions into the world of style is often called upon for various television appearances and interviews as an expert in her field, including CBC News, Global TV’s The Morning Show, CTV News, National Post, Globe & Mail, Tele-Journal, Slice Network’s X-Weighted, Party Mamas, and many more. She was featured as the Bachelorette in Come Date With Me, which aired on the Cooking Channel in the US and CosmoTV and W Network in Canada.
Gail gained international recognition when she was nominated in 2011 as “Communicator of the Year” by the prestigious Scottish Fashion Awards, in association with VOGUE.com. She is also a nominee of the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards having been nominated in both 2012 and 2013.
Gail also devotes her extra time to furthering the careers of the next generation of fashion entrepreneurs through esteemed organizations including Youth Employment Services YES as an instructor of their Passion For Fashion Program, Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI) as a mentor, and is regularly called upon as guest speaker and judge at various colleges and universities.
From The moment I met Gail years back at Toronto Fashion Week, I have been captivated by her authenticity, gorgeous smile and passion for life. Gail has this “Girl Boss” way about her that energizes anyone around her. She is determined, driven, focused and an incredible businesswoman. What I love most about Gail is she puts her heart and soul into everything she does. The clients, people and friends in her life reap the rewards having her in their corner, your greatest cheering squad. She stands behind what she believes in and goes the extra miles for the people she cares about. I find it inspiring to sit and talk with her and learn more on what it takes to have that entrepreneurial spirit. Oh and did I mention, not only is she beautiful inside and out, she knows how to rock the red lips!
Warning: This interview may cause you to stop what you’re doing and spark that entrepreneur in YOU!
BB411~ You have been involved with the fashion industry for over 18 years and wear many different hats. Can you give us a little insight into all that you do and how did everything come to be?
GM~ It does seem like a lot, doesn’t it? It’s not really to me – I love being involved in as many aspects of the industry as possible. I want to see it continue to grow and flourish.
Day-to-day, I run my fashion branding and publicity agency Magnet Creative Management and our showroom Stylist Box, which I run with the ingenious Christian Dare. Then I freelance report and write for various outlets, including on air hosting for TDotTV. I’ve always loved writing and reporting – I am so lucky that I can also apply it to so many areas of my career.
BB411~ Did you always know that you would go into the career you are in today?
GM~ I never thought I’d be the owner of my own company, but I always knew I wanted to be in the beauty, entertainment and fashion industries.
When I was 8 years old, I wanted to be a makeup artist; by age 14, I was selling Avon door-to-door. At 12 I wanted to be a fashion designer. It wasn’t until my high school Fashion Arts teacher gave me a dose of reality and the best advice I was ever given at that stage; “Most people who go to fashion school end up as a patternmaker or seamstress. If you want to become a designer, you will need backing or come from a rich family.” I listened and decided at age 17 that I was either going to be a model agent or a fashion show coordinator. By the age of 20 I had already done both.
Stepping back and taking a look at the past twenty years always amazes me. I wish so much I could have told my shy, conservative teenage self to never place doubt on what you want to do – it is all attainable.
BB411~ Where does your drive and focus come from?
GM~ Definitely from my Scottish upbringing and my parents. The educational system in Scotland is much more structured than the Canadian system – which I learned when I moved here in 1989. Both my parents are entrepreneurs and are self-employed.
Fear is the greatest motivator. I want to test myself and try to overcome anything which I ever thought I could never do or that was intimidating. I used to be deathly shy in social situations; overcoming that fear was just step one on realizing that if you put your mind to it, you really can challenge and accomplish things you thought were out of reach before.
BB411~ If you weren’t in the career you are today and you could be anything in the world what would it be?
GM~ Acting, art, or music.
I always wanted to act. I loved my theatre company in school and I wish I hadn’t been so reserved and shy to pursue it more. I would have loved to have become a professional artist. My mum had wanted me to go to OCAD, but never pressured me in anyway. When I was in high school I worked at music stores; if I had pursued that career path, I could have seen myself getting into music management.
BB411~ Who did you admire growing up or do today?
GM~ My mother. She was the driving force in my family. She married my dad at the age of 18 and had four girls by the time they were 27. She ran the household and was always hustling and working to provide us a better life than how she had grown up. I admire her for her gumption and perseverance.
BB411~ Who has been your favourite designer to work with?
GM~ I’ve been so fortunate to work with so many amazing talented designers. It would not be fair for me to call out any names, but those who I call friends are special to me. They know who they are.
BB411~ What are the trends for Spring/Summer?
GM~ Even though trends can be fun to follow each season, I always say, wear what you like and what suits both your body and personality, don’t feel pressured into following trends.
BB411~ Which celebrity do you feel Rocks ongoing style?
GM~ Dita Von Teese, Cate Blanchett, and Tilda Swinton. They all have their own unique sense of style which is powerful in itself.
BB411~ Describe your style?
GM~ Classic retro. I love a red lip and feminine dresses, but I also love to be a little “rock and roll” sometimes.
BB411~ Bare feet, socks or stilettos?
BB411~ What are the 5 key pieces that every woman should have in their wardrobe?
- A perfectly fitted and tailored jacket
- A pair of classic black brogues and/or stilettos
- Well-fitted undergarments; especially bras – base garments are the most important thing
- A great classic white shirt
- A comfortable and well-fitted pair of blue jeans
BB411~ What does beauty mean to you?
GM~ Compassion. There is nothing more beautiful than someone who cares and understands the struggles of others.
BB411~ What inspires you personally and professionally?
GM~ Any person or organization that is working hard to make a difference to our community without ego.
BB411~ What are the key points to being a good role model?
GM~ Being true to yourself and approaching every challenge with enthusiasm and optimism.
BB411~ Are you involved in any charities that are close to your heart?
GM~ I’ve been involved with Passion for Fashion, a free fashion business program from Youth Employment Services YES and the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI) as an instructor and mentor for the past five years. I also actively support the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR). Every holiday season we encourage our clients to donate a shoebox for the Shoebox Project – it’s a great charity which brightens up the lives of women in shelters.
BB411~ What does it mean to you to give back?
GM~ Giving back is so important, it’s all about supporting the community and helping as many people as possible.
- Take more risks.
- Don’t stay longer in a job or relationship than you should – get out the moment you know it’s not making you happy.
- Never be afraid to ask – you’ll never know unless you ask. This can apply to everything from financials, raises, favours, information, etc.
- Surround yourself with people you admire and never be afraid to say goodbye to negative people and environments.
- Do karaoke! You’re gonna love it, and you’re actually not that bad a singer as you think.
- Don’t stress so much about dating. Being single is actually the best time of your life – you’ll accomplish more than you ever dreamed possible.
BB411~ How do you stay motivated with life’s daily stresses that come up?
GM~ Laughter. It truly is the best medicine. I also am lucky to be surrounded by so many hilarious people.
BB411~ What is your skin care regime?
GM~ It changes each day and with the weather. In my twenties, I only ever used Avon’s Effective Eye Make Up Remover to cleanse, I never used soap, then I would use Nivea cold cream. Since I turned 30, I’ve been taking a greater effort to take care of my skin. I exfoliate once every two days with St Ives Exfoliating Apricot Scrub, cleanse and moisturize with Shiseido’s Benefiance collection – the skin softner makes such a difference. For removing eye makeup, I’ve been using Annabelle’s Eye Makeup Remover, I love how easy the pump is to use. And for serums, I am love with the velvety feeling that Estee Lauder Perfectionism [CP+R] leave behind.
BB411~ How do you stay Healthy and Balanced?
GM~ I wish I could admit to going to the gym five times a week, but with my hectic schedule it can be harder during busy times, so I end up there about three times mixing up the elliptical with yoga. I do walk as much as possible when the weather allows; typically walking 30 minutes to an hour or more each day to get to meetings and events. I am trying to be better with drinking more water. I never keep junk food or alcohol in my house, so I do tend to eat better and more balanced at home rather than during the week. And Vitamin D! I have a very low count and take 5 times normal on my doctor’s directions – it really does make a huge difference on your mood, especially during those winter months.
BB411~ 3 beauty products you carry with you always?
GM~ Right now, I always have Stila Stay All Day Lipstick in Amore, Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat and Benefit’s BADgal Lash Mascara. If I don’t have time to do my makeup completely, these three products add extra glam in less than 5 minutes.
BB411~ #1 beauty product you could not live without?
GM~ Conair’s Curl Secret – this is the only way I can go from work to an event in no time. It’s so easy to use and creates beautiful curls that last all night.
BB411~ Favourite fragrance?
GM~ Victor and Rolf’s FlowerBomb.
BB411~ Fun fact that people may not know about you?
GM~ My full name in Gaelic/Scots roughly translates to “Lively Fire of the Unique One”.
BB411~ Favorite quote?
GM~ “Power is being told you’re not loved and not being destroyed by it.” – Madonna
BB411~ Favourite Food?
GM~ Anything Mexican or Indian – I love spicy food.
BB411~ Describe your perfect day when you have some down time?
- Sleeping in till noon
- A long, leisurely brunch (grapefruit mimosas are mandatory)
- Spa treatments
- Dinner on a beautiful, hidden patio
- A concert of one of my favourite performers or bands
BB411~ What advice would you give entrepreneurs starting out that are following their dreams?
GM~ Learn from others before diving into the entrepreneurship world. Find mentors to help you with your business plan. Do your research to ensure there is place in the market for your service or product. After that, just go for it and push yourself further than you ever thought possible. Good things will come to those who work their asses off. Don’t expect anything to come to you – you have to find it yourself.
BB411~ #1 thing you want to cross off your bucket list?
GM~ Meet Madonna.
BB411~ What has been your biggest Aha Moment so far in life?
GM~ No one is talking about you as much as you think they do – they’re too busy worrying about who they think is talking about them.
BB411~ Where do you see yourself in 1 year, 5 years and 10 years?
GM~ My career is, and always has been, an evolution. I don’t want to jinx my plans just yet, but the universe will lead me to where I am meant to be.
BB411~ When I say the words #lovethis, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
GM~ Time alone. I’m a loner at heart and my alone time is what gives me time to recharge for the next busy period.
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