Although shopping is everyone’s favorite activity, in our busy society, sifting and shifting in professional and personal lives, takes a toll on something as enjoyable as shopping. People increasingly have less time and are looking forward to resources that can lessen their work.
First, it was wedding planners that went professional and now it’s the word ‘personal shoppers’ that is making its presence felt globally. Personal shopping can be defined as
an occupation where people help others shop by giving advice and making suggestions to customers
Personal shoppers are also known as fashion stylists, shop assistants, image consultants or even sales assistants.
Large department stores, such as Bloomingdales, Debenham’s, Neiman Marcus, and Macy’s generally offer personal shopper services. Though first, these shoppers were only employed by departmental stores and boutiques, now there are a bunch of them turning into freelancers and putting their expertise online and marketing themselves. Though, fashion or say clothing is what most of personal shoppers focus on, some are also expanding their scope of work by bringing in sections like furniture and home décor etc. These personal shoppers are not only available today with the agencies but can also be found on websites such as eBay where they auction their services to obtain customized items such as men and women clothing collections.
With internet coming to the aid, the personal shopper has gone both online and freelance. In fact, the role of the personal shopper has also expanded to research online on behalf of clients. Online shopping has also broken the barrier of what the personal shopper can offer to the customers. Now, they can look for anything and everything that the web can provide. For example, Shazia Kachwala and Divisha Maroli who launched Revive My Vibe in October 2008.
I spoke with Shazia from Revive My Vibe who said that they begin with a consultation session where they advise their clients on things like what colors to wear, what shapes suit them better etc. The second step is what they call ‘Wardrobe Detox’ wherein they literally go through the clients wardrobe and see what can work for them. They, in fact, also advise what to do with the trashed clothes. The third step involves taking the client for a personal shopping trip.
We get all kind of customers-housewives, students, working people. Also, we research all stalls beforehand as we wouldn’t like to waste the client’s time
says Shazia from Revive My Vibe. Shazia further added that in the first year of their working, publicity was through word of mouth, now they also advertise on Facebook and Google.
Interestingly, most of the clients of Revive My Vibe are above the age of 30 and majority of them are men.
And they are not the only one. There is Personal Shopper which also provides services for Handicrafts, Furnishings and Herbs & Spices. Image consultants are also using these social networks not only to advertise but also to engage better like Payal Jaggi, who also runs fashion blog, Jasleen and Sonu from Fashion Bombay, who tweet as they go along.
With personal shoppers, finding a name in publications, it seems like the day is not far when they would become a more mainstream occupation in India as well.
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