Born to shop

The process is threefold. First, she sets up a consultation. “I meet with the client to get an idea of what they’re looking for and determine a budget.” Next, she takes the client “window shopping.” “Most of the time, they don’t have the time to go to an actual store, so I make sure to stay current on what’s hot in the market and in mail-order catalogs.” Lastly, she hits the stores. “I make sure to keep receipts and buy things that can be returned if the client changes his or her mind or is not satisfied with the purchase.”

Salary: If you work for an upscale department store, expect to make $35,000-$90,000 a year. If you work independently, as Whitley-White does, you set your own rates. She charges a flat rate of $25-$40 per hour for the actual shopping excursion, as well as 15%-25% of the total purchase price.

Training: While no specific academic degree is required, there are certificate programs in image consulting that cover personal shopping. Or you can gain experience as an apprentice to a seasoned professional. Aside from having taken a few art classes for personal enrichment, Whitley-White holds a B.A. in communications/public relations from Oklahoma’s Tulsa University, from which she graduated in 1994.

For more information about this career, contact: Association of Image Consultants International, 1000 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 9, Washington, DC 20036; 800-383-8831; aici@worldnet.att.net

You can get even more details about this unique career opportunity by reading:
Get paid to Shop: Be a personal Shopper for Corporate America by Emily S. Lumpkin (Forte, $29.99)

Get Paid to Shop: Opportunities in the Mystery Shopping Business by Judith G. Rappold (Business Resources, $26.95)

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