Oftentimes, a passion for fashion can do more to drain your cash supply than boost it. But there’s nothing like turning a favorite pasttime into a lucrative business venture. Personal shoppers do just that, organizing the closets of executives, professionals, and public figures, making life that much easier for those with little time – or patience – for putting together the perfect ensembles.
Kim Maxwell, celebrity stylist, personal shopper, and CEO of STYLESbyMAXX, a fashion and image consulting company, offers tips on how you can get started:
Do your research. You must have a creative eye and be aware of the latest fashion trends, Maxwell says. Stay updated on the trends by visiting online fashion blogs, news sites, and forums. Find out what the job demands and what the market desires by visiting job sites such as Indeed.com. It’s also good to be familiar with different body types and what styles of clothing compliment them so you can cater to a variety of clients’ tastes and needs, Maxwell says.
Get experience. Become an intern or look for a mentor who is a personal shopper. “That is a good approach and a realistic way of learning the career hands on,” says Maxwell. Look up personal shoppers in your area and call to inquire about internship availability. Department stores that offer personal shopping services, such as Macy’s or Bloomingdales, are a good place to start.
Tap into web and other resources. Attend a workshop or take a course to learn more about the career. Maxwell offers an online Fashion Styling 101 course for individuals interested in learning about how to pursue a career in the industry. You can also check out the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI), which offers members information on building your business, finding courses and training, and networking with other image consultants and personal shoppers.
Start building a good network and a client base. Put together marketing materials that will help promote your services. Include a promotional card that provides all of your contact info, including what you offer and your fees. Make your presence known online by blogging, participating in social networking, and creating a website. “Lastly, when it comes to gaining additional clients, I would recommend placing an ad in publications where your target market could potentially see it,” Maxwell advises.
Learn how to financially leverage your services. Consult with a potential client to get an understanding of what kinds of requests they would make and what their expectations would be. Then determine whether it would be best to offer them a package or to charge by the hour. “Always base your rates for service by the clients’ demands and expectations,” Maxwell says. For freelance personal shoppers, rates can range from $60 to $80 per hour and packages can range from $750 to $3,500, depending on the client and your level of experience.