A lot has changed since my days of working in Retail a long long time ago. Back then circa 97’ (I said a long long time ago) when I was working as a sales assistant in Harvey Nichols, the route up the career path was: Sales Assistant to Manager to Floor Manager to Senior Management but in the last 5 years a whole new job title has arrived: Personal Shopper.
Now most stores from Gap to Harrods have an in-house Personal Shopping team, where appointments are pre-booked, the personal shopper gets a real understanding of her clients brief, including her budget and selects her items to suit the brief either prior to or during her visit. The Personal Shopper is considered the expert in all the brands and styles available in store. The Personal Shopper not only has a good salary but works on great commission so if she knows her stuff, a good paycheck is pretty much guaranteed.
As you can appreciate this job for so many women especially the younger women is considered to be the dream job as they have the security of a full time job/salary yet unlike their colleagues on the shop floor they aren’t standing around folding clothes counting the hours away; every customer the Personal Shopper serves has an event she actually wants to buy for, she isn’t “just looking”.
When these roles turn up, competition is stiff! Everyone wants this job and unfortunately many of these roles get recruited for from within. A top Sales Assistant, who’s good with customers and of course selling will most definitely be considered for the position. You may be thinking damn, there’s no hope for you then, how can you get an interview, especially as you haven’t even got retail experience? But if ‘fashion is your passion’ as they say, you have to believe that every journey starts with a single step and get yourself ready to pursue your dream career. How do you do that? By getting the right training that sets you apart/above your competition.
Let me let you into a secret, from all the mystery shops I’ve carried out 7/10 times the in-store Personal Shopper never even worked out my body-shape to figure out what kind of clothes would suit my petite hourglass frame, sure she understood where I was going, what my budget was but where she let herself down was what understanding what would actually physically suit me! Most in-house personal shoppers are recruited from within so many of them never get trained on body shapes or colours but ask any good Personal Stylist who runs her own business the first thing she works out is her clients body-shape so that she can find her clothes that will highlight her assets and hide her flaws creating her a slimmer balanced silhouette as that is what results in the purchase of items.
So I tell any aspiring Personal shopper who contacts me, get trained on how we Personal Stylists work and then build your confidence so that you are interview ready even if that means working on the shop floor as a Sales Assistant. Get that crucial experience with customers, give them an amazing customer experience so that they remember your value added advice on what really suits them, build the trust so that every time they return to the store they only want you to serve them! Then when that Personal Shopper role becomes vacant, Management will actually be encouraging you to apply for it, imagine that J