Would you love to make money while shopping? Sound too good to be true? There’s actually a way to do it — but the catch is that you don’t get to wear any of the clothes you pick out. Busy individuals, or people who believe they have no fashion sense, will sometimes hire personal shoppers to hit the stores for them. The job may entail more than retail. Personal shoppers may also be sent out for groceries, gifts or antiques. Do you still want to get paid to shop? Here are some tips for becoming a personal shopper:
Love to shop
To be a personal shopper, you have to be able to shop until you drop and then get up and keep shopping. There is no formal schooling required to be a personal shopper, although a background as a retail sales associate may be helpful. Energy, enthusiasm and patience will serve a personal shopper well. Having great people skills also helps. Look into getting the proper license in your state.
If you don’t already, plug yourself into the fashion world. You are supposed to be the expert, so know what is in style and what might be right for your customers. Know the market and keep up with sales and discounts. Be willing to search until you find the pieces that your client wants at the right price. Not every customer is going to hand you her credit card and instruct you to go wild in Saks. Some people hire personal shoppers because paying someone to find them clothes actually turns out to be less expensive than buying a closet full of clothes that aren’t the right fit. Know your name brands backwards and forwards. The same holds true for whatever you are hired to buy. Research the antique market so different prices make sense in context. Know what toys are the most popular and hardest to find this holiday season.
Have a plan
Decide if you want to start up your own personal shopping business, apply for a position at an existing personal shopping company or freelance your skills. You might want to start off with freelance jobs to gain experience. People request the services of personal shoppers for all kinds of purchases. This includes professional attire, casual wardrobe, wedding apparel, jewelry, groceries, antiques and gifts. You may have the most interest in professional attire, but you will probably have to expand your horizons as you are starting out. Once you are in demand, you can opt only to shop for clients who need designer duds. Until then, keep both feet on the ground.
Put yourself out there
Spread the word about your new business. Put ads in places where they will reach your desired demographic. Some elderly people need personal shoppers to buy their necessities, so keep that in mind when deciding where to put fliers or advertise. Build up a positive reputation for being knowledgeable and reliable, and word will spread on its own.
Don’t think it is always going to be easy
Working as a personal shopper will not be glamorous all the time. You might get a frantic call from a client at 1 a.m. for new shoes to go with a dress for later that morning. Be willing to work unconventional and unpredictable hours. The job might involve visiting your client’s house and taking inventory of what they already have. You may have to return that beautiful sweater you looked in five stores to find in the correct size because your customer does not like it. Don’t take it to heart. It is your job to save your client time and money, not to bring back the perfect item every time.