The personal shopper profession is relatively new but is becoming more and more known and in demand over the past few years. Many people who want to work in fashion are starting to consider this profession as a possible career, and many new clients, both individuals and stores, are seeking personal shopping services for themselves or their customers. So what does a personal shopper do?
Many people still wonder that. That is why we want to answer that question by bringing you straight into a personal shopper’s typical day.
Angela Bianchi has been a personal shopper and image consultant for 10 years, and she’s one of our first personal shoppers in Milan.
Public Relations and Advertising graduate, Bianchi worked in sales for years before deciding to focus completely on her new venture.
As an image consultant and personal shopper, Bianchi studied at Accademia del Lusso, then in Los Angeles and then again in Milan.
In her job, Bianchi helps her clients feel better in their own skin, starting from their clothes – assisting them in choosing items that enhance their best features and “hide” the parts of themselves that they like the least.
“Thanks to image consulting and personal shopping, you can learn techniques and tricks to always manage to dress well and appropriately, despite any imperfections you might find with your body. You also learn to use fashion to your advantage, without losing your identity,” says Bianchi. “I also work with men, pregnant women and young teenagers.”
7:00 a.m.: The alarm goes off. I have breakfast with my little Giulia, I get her ready for preschool or a day with grandma.
8:30 a.m.: Giulia and my husband leave and I can start my day.
When I meet my clients in Milan at 9:00 or 9:30, I wake up at 6:00 to do everything in time, and everything changes.
I choose what to wear based on the client I’m going to meet, not only on my personal taste (obviously keeping in mind what looks good on me.)
10:00 a.m.: I meet the client, with whom I’ve already had a pre-consultation. I usually ask them to fill out a questionnaire, which gives me the chance to better prepare, in particular if we are going to do a wardrobe organization or a shopping session.
When I meet a client who wishes to have a complete consultation, I set our first meeting at our new Milan office evocatively named Hygge Square on Viale Montenero. There, we start by creating a mood board. We then analyze the client’s body type (I’ve called this service Body Booster), and we finally conduct a complete color analysis (Color Explosion) so that the client can go home with an extra-personalized chromatic notebook!
1:00 p.m.: Lunch break. I often have lunch with my clients. This is a unique moment to listen to anything they want to share with me. Everything I know about them helps me build their final paper full of new personalized outfits fully built with my client in mind.
2:00 p.m.: In the afternoon we can continue with a wardrobe organization at the client’s home, or with a shopping session (I’ve called these two services Treasure Wardrobe and Discovery Shopping respectively.)
I’ve had some fun coming up with new names for my services, different from the ones you hear every day in my field. I wanted to make clear the work a person can do when they hire me. When we work on a client’s wardrobe, it’s not just a selection of keep/throw out/alter, but it’s a true treasure hunt among drawers, packages, bottom of the closet, boxes, hangers bent under the weight of 3 or 4 forgotten items.
I usually start with 3 hours of wardrobe organization, more than that becomes too tiring for the client. It’s fun work but it’s also very mental: Us consultants need to empathize with our clients and let them understand that whatever they are leaving behind is just what doesn’t represent them anymore. That doesn’t mean they have to toss it, they can put it in a nice trunk away from their everyday closet.
If we go shopping instead, I already have a list of shops and clothes to try on ready (with the most cooperative shops I also get a rack with the clothes for the client to try on ready for when we arrive. Once with Bershka we spent 4 hours just trying on the selection I had prepared for the client!)
I try to do a mix of shops that the client already likes and some new ones. My goal is to create a personal style for my client using elements that he or she had never thought of, maybe because of doubts related to fitting or occasion.
I like to bring my clients to hidden spots, like private addresses that would be impossible to find through Google, but that hide true Italian artisanal treasures, an accessible luxury for those who are looking for the right compromise between quality and price.
Something else I like to do, if the client was given the shopping tour as a gift, is to think about a gift for the loved one. A few weeks ago, I was shopping with a man who received the personal shopping service as a gift from his girlfriend. I asked him what would she like. He showed me her picture, and we ended up choosing some tea and chocolate. The chocolate we picked had a turquoise packaging and we decided together that the tea would have had the same color packaging to reflect not only the taste of the gift receiver but also the colors that would have suited her!
To tell you this now it sounds a bit crazy, but when this is your job, it comes natural to look for a connecting thread in everything you do, an aesthetic line that works not only in theory but also on the actual person.
5:00 p.m.: I head home and during the following days I work on the client’s paper to provide a complete resource that will allow him or her to shop independently going forward using what we learned together.
Every client is different. I have seasonal clients who come back twice a year to refresh their wardrobe. Then there are clients who try the service once out of curiosity and realize that they could have done it before and would have saved a lot of money in clothes, shoes and bags that they never used! Then I have clients who come back every 3 or 4 years – maybe they had a baby, changed jobs, divorced, retired and they want to dress appropriately for this new lifestyle.
I often meet women who are starting over in some area of their life and are in need of change, but rather than getting a drastic haircut, they’d rather work in depth with shapes and colors.
I work with travellers who are looking for hard-to-find items.
Many stores seek my expertise to hold courses for their employees, and to become their main consultant when their customers require personal shopping and image consulting services.
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