Personal Shopper/Styling Consultant

The Job and What's Involved

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:

  • Booking in client appointments.
  • Conducting an initial consultation to learn about the client's lifestyle and determine what assistance they require.
  • Carrying out colour compatibility tests.
  • Accompanying clients around the store as they pick out items they like.
  • Highlighting new fashion trends.
  • Selecting a range of items for the client to try, explaining how different items, colours and accessories work together.
  • Arranging for goods to be taken to customer collection or delivered to the client's home.
  • Promoting store credit and loyalty cards.
  • Dealing with stylists and wardrobe assistants looking for clothing for TV, film and theatre productions.
  • Updating client profiles for future reference.
  • Contacting regular clients when something new arrives in the store.

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.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

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.

Education and Training

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.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

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:

  • NVQ/SVQ in Retail Operations at Levels 2 and 3.
  • City & Guilds Certificate in Retailing.

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You may use life saving skills as part of your day-to-day work.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A personal shopper/styling consultant should:

  • Have excellent organisational skills.
  • Be a good listener and communicator.
  • Be discreet.
  • Be sensitive, diplomatic and supportive, in order to put customers at ease.
  • Possess a genuine interest in fashion and be naturally creative.

Your Long Term Prospects

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.

Get Further Information

The British Retail Consortium, Second Floor,
21 Dartmouth Street, London SW1H 9BP
Tel: 020 7854 8900
Website: www.brc.org.uk

British Shops and Stores Association Limited (BSSA),
Middleton House, 2 Main Road,
Middleton Cheney, Banbury,
Oxfordshire OX17 2TN
Tel: 01295 712277
Website: www.british-shops.co.uk

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