What Is a Personal Shopper?
Personal shoppers do exactly what their name suggests: They shop for people who don’t have the time, energy or expertise to do so. They are hired by clients to shop for everything -from clothing to shoes to more personal items, depending on their area of expertise. Personal shoppers can work independently as consultants building their own small businesses, or they can be employed in department or boutique stores and be hired out.
Personal shopping is all about individualized attention, and a personal shopper generally consults with a client to determine what their personal style is and what she is looking for in terms of fashion. The shopper will then shop for the client based on the consultation.
Personal shoppers will often advise clients on latest fashion trends, what attire should be worn for the season and how personal styles can be incorporated into the season’s new fashions. They can shop for entire outfits, including shoes and accessories, unless the client requests otherwise.
Getting a Job as a Personal Shopper
While there is usually not an advanced degree or coursework requirement for a job as a personal shopper, employers do tend to look for applicants who have a background in fashion, as well as retail and sales. Breaking into the field may be difficult, but working in sales in the clothing department of a store or in a boutique is a great way to get to know frequent shoppers and offer personal shopping services. As clients spread the word about their satisfaction with a personal shopper’s stellar skills, more potential clients could be won based on these positive referrals.
A Personal Shopper’s Job
Independent personal shoppers work at client requests, so their hours can get really erratic.
They meet clients to discuss style preferences, events or occasions, stores and boutiques they like, and what budget limits the client has. Then the personal shopper heads out to the stores the client has requested, but they may shop at other stores the client has not requested in a bid to fit the client’s personal style.
Personal shoppers, especially those who own their own businesses, can make a great deal of money. As they gain recognition, their rates can increase substantially. When they work for themselves, personal shoppers set their own rates, either hourly or a flat fee. When personal shoppers work in department stores, they are paid an hourly rate, depending on experience.
Personal shoppers can also go on to become stylists as they gain recognition. Celebrities call on stylists and personal shoppers often to keep them up-to-date and in style on the red carpet.