Shopping Tips from a Personal Shopper
With over a decade of experience helping busy men and women build a functional and chic wardrobe, we know a thing or two about shopping. Malls are overwhelming. Big department stores are intimidating. Sales people can be pushy. An independent personal shopper can make the often daunting task of shopping less painful, even a little fun. If you’re going at it alone, a few of these shopping tips will make the process a little bit easier.
1. Avoid the Weekends.
The best shopping tip is to give yourself enough time to accomplish your task. The weekends are without question the busiest days of the week for malls. Crowds lead to overworked sales associates, long lines, and messy dressing rooms. Instead, try to go to the mall during the week. We like Monday and Tuesday the best. If you must go on the weekend, go before noon while it’s still quiet. When we shop with our private clients, we encourage appointments on Saturday and Sunday when the mall opens and wrap up just before the lunch crowd arrives.
2. Ask for help.
Looking for a great pair of black pants? Ask! If you know what you are looking for, don’t waste your valuable time searching for it. For every overbearing sales associate, there are three great ones eager to help. For the best experience, treat your sales associate with respect (dealing with people can be miserable). Be polite, call them by their name and give them the sale if they helped you. You may be able to create a lasting relationship and call them when you plan on another visit.
3. Create a list.
One of the biggest “a-ha’s” our private clients have when working with their personal shopper is the power of a shopping list. When we first work with a client, we do a wardrobe edit. Based on that edit, we decide not only what they need, but rank them in priorities. Then we create a list and use that as a guide for our shopping appointment. You can do this yourself. Create your list of priorities and only buy from the list. This prevents you from buying random pieces and filling your wardrobe with nothing to wear.
4. Set and stick to a budget.
Everyone has a budget. Know your budget and stick to it. When we work with clients, we ask them about their budget immediately. It helps us determine whether they go to Macy’s or Neiman’s. If you have a Macy’s budget, and you go to Neiman’s you are going to find yourself frustrated. Set yourself up for success.
5. Leave the kids at home.
Anyone, myself included, who has ever brought their children to the mall when they were shopping for themselves know how it ends. Your kids get chocolate milk and pizza, and you go home exhausted and empty handed. Plan ahead and arrange for childcare. You will get so much more done in half the time; you’ll stay sane, and you might even enjoy a few hours of relative quiet.
6 Bring a Friend.
If you have an honest and fashion forward friend ask her (or him!) to come along. Offer to buy them lunch or a drink in exchange for some undivided attention. They will enjoy playing personal shopper, and you’ll benefit from trying things you may have before never considered.
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Megan Kristel is the founder of Kristel Closets, Inc. Established in 2006, Kristel Closets, Inc. has a team of image consultants and personal shoppers in the metro regions of Philadelphia, New Jersey/ New York and Washington D.C. In addition to Kristel Closets, Inc., Megan is the creator of Style Maker University, an online coaching program designed to help aspiring and established image professionals build a profitable business. She is also the editor of The Well Dressed Life, the popular daily style blog focused on busy, modern women.