I got a message today from one of my new Facebook friends. She wanted to know what tips or pointers I could give her about becoming a personal shopper and stylist. Now if I had a dollar for every time I got asked this question.
Shopping/Styling is not just about popping into a store or showroom and grabbing everything and anything (the horror); putting it on the client and getting your check. It’s more about getting to truly know the client and anticipating their every need – closet wise/image-wise! Maybe it’s my Executive assistant background, but it’s what I have always used to assist my clients. This is honestly the hardest part of the job in itself. A lot of people know themselves well enough to tell you what it is they like or what they wished they looked like; and quite a few people haven’t a clue!!! As a stylist, it’s not just your job to dress people, but you have to truly get to know them. Why? Well if you don’t, you run the risk of putting a look together that the client cannot possibly own. If you can’t OWN a look (as in ROCK the heck out of it) then unfortunately you haven’t done a good job.
Is having a passion for fashion enough to be a good stylist or personal shopper? Unfortunately not. Don’t get me wrong, you do need to have some kind of fashion sense in order to pull looks together (this is something you either have or don’t have to be honest), but there is more to it than that. So here are a few other things you need to possess.
1. You need to have amazing listening skills. Be able to listen and even read in between the lines to hear what isn’t said. Why? Well if you can’t hear what is being said to you, how will you know what your client wants when you’re out and about shopping or pulling for them?
2. Do your research. You have to stay on top of the trends so you know whats going on within the fashion industry. Of course we set the trends ourselves. But a good stylist has pretty much everything in their closet anyway since almost everything comes back around. So knowing what is in season will help you educate your client and if you’re really good, have them AHEAD of the trends.
3. You need to have a very thick skin. Why? You’re going to get a lot of no’s, especially in the beginning. You can’t let it get to you or take it personal. But you MUST learn from it. Or else you will start to annoy your client and we can’t have that!!!
4. You also need to be trustworthy. The amount of money that you’re going to get thrown your way can be a bit daunting and for some even tempting. But if you have gained your client’s trust, they will realize that even without seeing you, you’ve got their back. Never substitute fakes for authentic pieces. Never cut corners, because trust once lost…is LOST!!! I am sure everyone remembers Rick Ross’ Louis Vuitton Evidence fiasco…that shouldn’t happen to ANYONE with access to a stylist!! If you’re looking for anything for a client, even if it’s from seasons ago, your best bet is to cultivate those relationships. They will help you IMMENSELY!!!
5. Remember it’s always about the client, you have to be totally unselfish with yourself and your services. Their needs come FIRST!! I can’t tell you how many times people have bought items off of my back. I mean there are certain things I WON’T do (especially if it’s illegal!) but I am not attached to anything. Its fashion and its business. Making the client happy is my FIRST priority. However there is also a balance between making the client happy and being a pushover. One has to strike a balance…
6. Be discreet. Confidentiality goes hand in hand with trust. I have worked for some people that I will never be able to mention. Sad, but true. I got paid…but there will be no shouting from the rooftops about how much money so and so spent. That’s no one’s business. You were hired to do a job, some may not care, but a number of them would rather keep such knowledge between the people involved. Respect that and know that the people that know, know. In this day and age where everything is on a blog somewhere or on twitter or Facebook, people value their privacy now more than ever. Yes, you may want the world to know what you did…but if it’s at the expense of losing or offending a client, it’s NOT worth it. Understand that with time and solid work comes recognition. People will refer you and like it or not, that is the BEST kind of advertisement.
These are a few of the things I know I incorporate into everything I do and they have helped me IMMENSELY!! Of course there is a whole lot more to this, but then I can’t tell you everything, can I 🙂