Save Big Bucks!
Experts believe that a personal shopping service can help you save a lot of money in the long run, because they help you buy quality items that last you longer rather than run-of-the-mill pieces with limited usability.
Flashback a few decades, and the term personal shopper would bring to mind flamboyantly dressed assistants to old ladies; ladies who couldn't be bothered to go shopping themselves and would depend on these assistants to not only furbish their wardrobes, but also to pick out gifts and shop for their houses.
Today, in a world where appearance is becoming more and more important (sometimes gaudily and unbelievably so), more and more 'normal' people are jumping on the I-need-to-hire-someone-to-dress-me-and-shop-for-me bandwagon.
Most people though, are still unsure of what these shopping wizards do. Well, in most cases they are stylists who will also help clients with other shopping needs like sourcing a difficult-to-find-because-it-blooms-once-in-thousand-years flower or getting that perfect gift for someone you couldn't be bothered to shop for.
While the shopping service is an incredible perk, most people hire personal shoppers for their unbelievably good style advice. If you are one of those people looking to hire someone who could be that required divine (style) intervention for you, then here are some tips that will help you choose your soon-to-be best friend.
Tip - Always do your homework
Always speak to the shopper/stylist, meet them, look through their portfolio and past work before making a final decision. You are going to trust this person with your appearance, and it is important that he/she be reliable and trustworthy.
If no one you know can suggest a name or a company, ask the boutiques or department stores that you are a regular at. They may either have an in-house service or will be able to suggest someone who can help. Researching as much as you can before making a decision will always hold you in good stead.
Tip - Check their website
Before you call the shopper and ask for an appointment, browsing their website can be a good way of getting a feel of the kind of work they do. These domains are representations of the shopper's style and aesthetic appeal, and if that does not appeal to you, then chances are that the person will not work for you either.
Also, if the website has minimal information about their work, their portfolio, their service, etc., then you should reconsider your decision to hire them. A good shopper will have an updated site that will have all the information a possible client may want.
A professional shopper will be completely open to the idea of talking to you even before you set up an appointment. This is the way that both of you can get a feel of each other. For a shopper who is also a stylist, a phone conversation helps gage a prospective client's lifestyle.
This is also a good time to ask them all those questions about their services that will be a deciding factor for you. The questions you should ask them include those about their charges, the time they will dedicate to you, and the number of days they will be available to you.
In the period before you meet them, also look out for any red flags in the way of unresponsiveness to client communication. This may indicate that the shopper does not have enough time for you. Either way, a phone conversation is a great way to decide if you should move forward.
Tip - Ask for testimonials and portfolios
Before you seal the deal with a personal shopper, always, always, ask for testimonials and information about previous work experience. Good and professional shoppers will be willing to give you a list of clients whom they have worked with, as this makes for good business PR. Don't blindly trust the testimonials put up on websites.
Verify them either by talking to these people, or looking for genuine feedback on sites like LinkedIn. Also, ask them if they belong to a trade organization or professional group. Find out about their previous experience in the field.
Without proof that they have a few years' worth experience in the field, spending a hefty amount of money on a personal shopper could be risky. Keep an eye out to see if all their clients tend to look the same. If that holds true, then flee because it means that the shopper/stylist is recycling the same look.
Tip - Meet them to see how you feel
A personal shopper is someone you will work with, in very close quarters, and therefore, it is important that you have a good feel about them, and that they get you. Ask as many questions as you want, to ensure that you will completely trust their decision.
If they are putting down your personal style and refuse to take your comfort into account, then it is going to be a terrible match. No personal shopper should force their opinions down your throat. A good shopper will take your tastes and needs into account, and then create a style and portfolio that you are comfortable with.
They will be able to explain to you why something may look good on you and why some outfits may not. If your shopper listens to you and invests proper time in you, and more importantly, you get a good intuition while with them, then you have probably found the person you are looking for.
Tip - Analyze their personal appearance
Whether you have met them in person or just seen a photograph on their website, it is important that a personal shopper's style inspire confidence in you, and fill you with good feelings about what is to come your way. A good shopper and stylist needs to look the part.
If they still dress like a teenybopper when meeting clients, it is a bad sign. A good shopper will dress to kill. In no way should it be overwhelming either. It should tread that fine balance between being fashionable and professional.
Hiring a personal shopper can be an expensive affair (in most cases). More importantly, this person is going to be hugely responsible for the statement you make (in terms of appearance) in public. Therefore, it is important that you carefully consider your options before finally deciding on and hiring a personal shopper.