Personal shoppers, also known as styling consultants or fashion advisers, give customers one-to-one advice in all areas of fashion, from beauty products and make-up to clothing and accessories. Taking into account the client's personality, lifestyle, body shape, hairstyle, preferred colours, skin tone and budget, they use their product and fashion expertise to select items and give honest opinions. Typical tasks include:
Hours of work are varied and can involve some evening and weekend work. There are part-time and freelance opportunities. Some personal shoppers have luxurious lounge areas in which to entertain clients, with private fitting rooms and refreshments.
Starting salaries in department stores are around £12,500 to £18,000 a year. With experience, this can rise to around £25,000 or more. Those working with celebrities or film stylists generally command higher salaries.
Many large department stores and fashion houses offer a complementary personal shopping service. These are usually in large city shopping centres or High Street stores. Competition for posts is high.
Some personal shoppers work freelance or specialise in celebrity styling.
There are no set entry requirements, but it is usual for personal shoppers to have worked in a fashion or beauty environment. Retail assistants who have demonstrated the right attributes and skills fill most vacancies. For more information about becoming a retail assistant, see our job guide - Retail Assistant.
At entry level, some organisations may require at least two to four GCSE's/three to five S grades (A-C/1-3). Employers may also set basic tests in maths and English at interviews. Many stores value evidence of interest and experience in retail, fashion and beauty.
Those working on tills in large superstores can usually complete computer-based training packages, learning how to handle payments and other transactions in a simulated environment.
Large companies may also encourage personal shoppers to attend college or take part in internal training. They may be able to join a structured training scheme in their store.
They may be able to study for qualifications such as:
Laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and perform a variety of technical support functions to help scientists, technologists and others with their work. They can work in research and development, scientific analysis and testing, education and manufacturing.
They are employed in a wide range of scientific fields which affect almost every aspect of our lives.
A personal shopper/styling consultant should:
Opportunities for progression are limited and there is no set promotional structure.
Those employed within a store may move into a management role.
Many personal shoppers aim to become self-employed or find work as image consultants, building up a client list based on reputation and experience.
The British Retail Consortium, Second Floor,
21 Dartmouth Street, London SW1H 9BP
Tel: 020 7854 8900
British Independent Retailers Association, 225 Bristol Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B5 7UB
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.