By Hilary Alexander
Norma, alongside Elaine Purt, are the masterminds behind Fenwick Canterbury. “Our customers are divided between regulars and first-timers. The regulars know what to expect, they trust us and leave it to us and because we know what they already have in their wardrobes, we know what will work for the new season,” says Norma. “First-timers are always very excited. We advise them to start with underwear so they get the right, flattering shape for the new outfit. Our Personal Shopping in Fenwick Canterbury works for everyone because we have the thrill of finding something that makes a customer feel great and she walks away knowing she looks good.”
LK Bennett, Phase Eight, Coast, CC, and Max and Ellie for hats and fascinators
Becky has been the personal shopper at Bentalls Kingston for eight and a half years and has two part-time assistants. “When we started, it was mainly by word-of-mouth, but now we get a lot of bookings online and the girls on the fashion floor promote the service, which is great. We do a lot of working wardrobes, it’s more an ‘item jacket’ rather than the full suited-and-booted look these days. Our typical customer is 35-55, but some regulars bring their 16 or 18-year-old daughters or granddaughters. We have a lot of cool, casual mums, so there’s a lot of call for jeans, and special occasions are mainly weddings and the racing season, especially at Sandown.”
Max Mara, Hugo Boss, Paul Smith, Jigsaw, Eileen Fisher, Lauren by Ralph Lauren, DKNY, Warehouse Spotlight, French Connection
Sophie has been Bond Street’s personal shopper for six and a half years and says the personal shopping option is more accessible than it’s ever been. “People say all women love shopping, but it’s a myth. Many are time-poor and appreciate the thought an expert can put together a rail of clothes that will fit and suit them. We do everything from casual capsule wardrobes to more classic tailoring for women who are lawyers or accountants, and girls going to their first prom. Then there’s the whole bridal scene – mother-of-the-bride, mother-of-the-groom, guests; and we have the most wonderful hat department. We have every age from teenagers to octogenarians. Older women want to look modern, but not mutton-dressed-as-lamb. I had one 80-year-old who bought a dress by Preen and looked amazing”.
Paule Ka, Preen, Pleats Please, Jonathan Saunders, MaxMara, Elie Tahari, LK Bennett, agnes b, Paul Smith, Joseph, Hugo Boss
Sam says most of her customers are personal shopping at Colchester for special occasions, such as weddings and garden parties. “But we do get some men shopping for their wives or girlfriends. One Christmas, we had a man shopping for his fiancée. He’d got all her measurements and had photographs on his mobile, so we could see what she looked like and what would suit. He spent a fortune – lucky lady.” Sam says the most important qualities for a personal shopper are to be a good listener, be patient, adaptable and open-minded, understand your customers’ needs, and be a good communicator.
MaxMara and Weekend, Luisa Cerano, DKNY, Michael Kors, Gerry Weber.
Janice has been working her magic in Brent Cross shoppers’ wardrobes for seven years. “Our biggest increase has been in customers who are time-poor - younger mums and working women who don’t have hours to go shopping. We also get a lot of mothers who are going back into the job market and that can be stressful as the working wardrobe has changed; it’s not quite so structured. Our other popular group is the 45-50 market who want a wardrobe refresh or need a total change of direction.
Lauren by Ralph Lauren, Forever Unique, Linea Raffaelli, Gina Bacconi (with matching hats for church, synagogue or mosque)