There’s an upward trend where trendy stores offer free Personal Shopper services to their customers. In fact, our very own Stefanie Nothard
was poached from used to work as the in-house personal shopper at Stuttafords – easily one of the most coveted jobs in Sandton at the time. No doubt part of a store’s customer satisfaction and loyalty strategy, we’re taking a look at why anyone would want to hire and pay independent personal shoppers when they can just use in-store services for free.
Why hire an independent shopper when some shops offer them for free?
First there are the limitations that in-store personal shoppers face. Stefanie says she often felt restricted – even with the large selection of brands Stuttafords had to offer – to really set her imagination free when it came to creating a full capsule wardrobe for her customers. The fact is, in-store personal shoppers are limited to what is in their store.
Second, in-store personal shoppers work on commission. Yes, they are sales associates with a more glamorous title, and at the end of the day, it pays them to have you buy as much from their store as they can get you to. They find out your size and price range, and then gather as much as they can for you to try on, tell you that you look fabulous, and then sell it to you. Want objective, honest advice? If that’s what you’re after, rather hire an independent personal shopper who has no affiliation with any store. Independent personal shoppers have to keep your best interests in mind, or risk losing you as a client. Their objective is not to sell as much to you as possible, but to optimise your look and get you feeling confident and stylish within your specified budget.
Long-term Style Strategy
Your own Personal Shopper is your own Stylist who works for you to discover your unique style profile through a process of getting to know what you already have in your wardrobe, assess your needs, help you weed through your closet and show you ways to amplify your style. Your stylist is a coach that is there for you alone, not tied to any one store, and can rework your closet seasonally within your budget so that eventually you have a perfect collection designed for you. In-store shoppers on the other hand, have never been into your home or your wardrobe. Not knowing your history, they don’t know enough about you to advise correctly on possible fashion disasters!
Ok, so here’s a factor where in-store personal shoppers have the edge. They’re there, you’re there. Bingo, let’s go. Your independent personal shopper needs to be carefully selected to make sure you’re a right fit personality-wise. You need to be confident that your personal shopper understands you completely before you hit the shops. That’s why there’s a bit more “process” involved where you’ll have a consultation where you will be interviewed to establish your style profile: who you are now, and where you want to be. Your personal shopper will then figure out a tailor-made strategy for you in keeping with your budget and this could include style advice, and entire image make-over and a total wardrobe overhaul. It’s a longer-term solution, requiring a bit more effort.
This is really important if you want someone who understands fashion for real people. When an independent personal shopper has been in business for several years, they’ve come across all sorts of body-types, weights, heights, quirks and insecurities. Styling someone is a process which requires immeasurable tact and empathy, lack of judgement and warmth. We often say, a person’s style has deep psychological roots, influenced by almost every part of their life. An experienced personal shopper is worth their weight in gold and department stores in South Africa will never pay a professional salary. That’s why most in-store personal shoppers are very young, inexperienced and often not equipped to deal with a person’s insecurities or body ‘issues’.
As fashion bloggers are fast becoming the biggest influencers in the industry, retailers try hard to tap into the culture of young, fast-fashion but we think the trick they’re missing is the element of trust. Personal connection that is real, and reliable and that’s what ultimately the relationship with your own personal shopper is all about.
Established in 2007, Vogue Fox was the first personal shopping agency to open in South Africa. With internationally trained personal shoppers, we have teams in Cape Town and Johannesburg. To start your perfect style journey, give us a call.
Cape Town: 073 032 1212 | Johannesburg: 082 583 9596
Every now & then, someone writes to me with a great article and asks if they can publish it to my blog. Who am I to deny such pearls of wisdom to you, my dear reader? Below, behold – an offering from Jason Greenhalgh, a shoe-lovin’ manly man with many good tips to get us all well-shod!
Did you know that shoes are one of the very first things that people notice about your appearance?
If you are looking to make a great and lasting first impression, you must certainly include rethinking your footwear choices.
When it comes to great footwear choices, luxury designer shoes are never out of the picture. If there’s anything that makes paying a high price worth it, then it has to be for shoes. While money experts don’t entirely agree about expensive shoes as actual investments, purchasing them is like investing in yourself. They help bolster your image and boost your confidence as well.
That, to us, is as good as any sound investment.
As with any purchase that involves a great deal of money – any opportunity to save on the cost of expensive shoes is most welcome. And you have come to the right place.
Here are some very handy tips that can help you save money on your desired designer shoes:
1. Try vintage or second-hand shoes.
If you know where to find them and how to spot the genuines from the fakes, vintage and used shoes are a great alternative to buying brand new designer shoes. With proper care, this kind of luxury footwear will stay beautiful and wearable for a long time especially if they carry classic designs.
2. Know where to shop.
If you’re gunning for a brand new pair, make sure that you know where to get them. Don’t just go to a single store for your needs. Don’t go to places that sell them at suspiciously low prices either. Compare prices from among these stores and find out which ones give you the best deals.
3. Shop online.
Tons of deals are given away exclusively at online stores and you should not miss out. For instance, many brands and online luxury marketplaces offer their new online buyers a special code for downloading their app or simply for being new shoppers. Make sure to try out the style you want at a physical store before making the final purchase online to make sure you get it in the size that suits you perfectly. Also, you might want to try looking online for voucher codes which will get you a discount at places like Public Desire amongst others.
4. Shop off season.
Unless you’re a fashionista with the dying need to exclusively wear what’s in season, one of the best times to shop for shoes is to get them out of season. When there is hardly any demand for them, you can expect them to be a whole lot less expensive than they would be when they were in season. This is a perfect money-saving strategy if you’re looking for classic styles.
5. Ask directly.
It may seem intimidating to ask about existing discounts and promos in high-end boutiques but trust us – everybody does it. Don’t miss out on the many great possibilities just because you think it’s too embarrassing to ask. We’re pretty sure store clerks would be more than happy to let you know.
Here’s one thing to know about luxury shoes: they will never be cheap. But the quality that they come with can assure you that they will last you for years and years – ensuring you get your money’s worth out of them.
Thanks, Jason Greenhalgh for your tips!
How do you save money on designer shoes?
Ooh, topical question! I suppose the best way to answer this question is by asking one in return! If you bought a fake for any reason except for the price difference — what do you expect to get from the deal? Would you buy a fake for any other reason than price?
Thinking honestly — I can’t think of any reason other than ‘making a saving’ for buying a fake bag. After all, surely one of the biggest problems with buying a fake bag is the knowledge that it won’t be made of the same quality material or build? If it doesn’t fall apart within the first 4 — 6 weeks, then you’re lucky. I’d be awfully surprised to find your luck extending much beyond two to three months at most. Even if the bag doesn’t literally fall to pieces, the appearance of it will change hugely. Edges will fray and tear, stitches will pull and shred and the general appearance of the bag will dull, the leather losing it’s rigidity and ability to hold the shape it’s supposed to! So the bag that you bought for $150 as opposed to $600 has given you about three to four months use before it is starting to look embarrassing, quite frankly! Now, maybe you could buy three of the same bag, save $150 and have something you wouldn’t feel to ashamed to be seen with for up to a year. Just bin the old ruined one, change your bag for a new one each quarter and you’re away.
But that sort of puts you onto the timescale where the authentic designer handbag is just starting to be broken in. It’s gaining suppleness, the leather trims are starting to age and patina, going that gorgeous golden honey color that indicates quality leather.
The bag has a used and loved look about it without any of the nasty signs of wear and tear that an inferior version will have. And this is one of the biggest reasons for the price being what it is.
Quality of build and quality of materials used.
Authentic designer handbags are built to last — sometimes they’ll last a lifetime and beyond, making it a family heirloom that’s passed down from daughter to daughter. It is very common for Hermes Birkin and Kelly bags to be in a family for decades — being used and loved all the time.
Some of the newer Louis Vuitton lines, such as the Suhali, can be expected to outlast just about anything else. It’s the quality of the leather you see!
Another good reason for buying authentic and not a fake?
Yes — you! You’re important. You don’t think so? (Well, I think you are, even if no one else tells you so!) You deserve something to be proud of, something that stands you out in a crowd and says
“Hey — Look at me, I’ve got taste AND class!”
That’s what an authentic designer handbag will shout for you — no need for you to get a sore throat all the time.
I wonder what a fake shouts out about you?
Careful now – it might be rather rude!!!