Among all the careers I want to embrace (chocolate taster, brain surgeon, airline pilot, …) personal stylist is one of my faves (and the one I am most likely to become). I e-mailed Tina, whom I was following on Instagram and asked her to answer some questions about this dream job. Let’s be honest, even if you won’t become a personal stylist, you might be fascinated by this profession. At least, I am. And Tina answered all of my interrogations about what is her job really about.
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself, how and when did you come to be a personal stylist ? Is there a degree to become a one ? What’s your background ?
I’ve only been paid as a personal stylist for two years. But I have been shopping for others for “free” my entire life. I have always loved to help to style my friends. People have always asked me these simple questions, “Where did you find that ?” or “Where did you buy that ?”. I’m stopped on the street almost daily asking me where I bought a certain item or commenting that they like the outfit I am wearing. In college, I was torn between two different degrees : elementary education and fashion. Although they seem to be entirely different the underlying theme to be successful at both of these jobs is being creative. I ultimately chose elementary education. I taught first grade for four years and took time off to have my three boys. Once my baby was in school all day, I began teaching pre-school for three-year-olds at the very school the boys attended. After seven amazing awe-inspiring years, I decided to switch gears and start my own personal styling business.
2. In what consists your job ? What are your days like ?
My days are different. I begin my checking emails, Facebook and Instagram. I review my calendar and see who I am shopping for to begin the process. It may be a day where a client is coming over to try-on clothes, or I could be shopping or doing returns, a closet edit or putting outfits together for Instagram posts. It could be a day of returning phone calls or giving complimentary phone consultations. It could be a day of an in-person wardrobe/closet edit session where I analyze a clients current wardrobe and discussing wardrobe gaps.
3. How did you develop your clientele ? Was it hard to « make a name » in the industry ?
I developed my clientele on Instagram (@tina_dvorak_personal_stylist) and Facebook. I started taking flat lay pictures of my own clothes and styling outfits. I was consistent. I posted EVERYDAY ! The clients came, grew and became repeat customers.
4. Where do you get your inspirations from ?
My inspiration comes from social media, Pinterest, blogs, fashion magazines and the runways.
5. Silly question but… Is there a difference between personal stylist and personal shopper ?
A stylist is hired to help clients achieve an overall look. Generally, a stylist will help you hone in on your sense of style and teach you how to edit and refine your wardrobe. A stylist can act as a personal shopper and will either shop for you or take you shopping, but a stylist does so with full knowledge of you, the clothes you have in your closet and the look that you are going after. Using a stylist to shop for you means the clothes come from many different stores/boutiques. With that being said, I love finding deals for my clients. I know brands, and where & when to shop. A stylist tends to charge you for the time and of course the clothes.
A personal shopper is just that, someone who shops for you. Nowadays, many department stores offer personal shopping services. Most of the time this service is free, the clothes obviously are not; most department store personal shoppers make a commission on the clothes they sell. Which means that it’s in their, and the stores best interest to steer a customer into purchasing higher-end brands. While this by no means the rule it is something to be aware of. Not all personal shoppers work this way. Once a relationship is established with a personal shopper they may in fact become your “stylist”. She will get a sense of your style, your price tolerance and your closet (because she’s helping you fill it) over the course of time. Using a personal shopper at a department store also means you that everything you purchase is from the particular store.
6. Feel free to tell me everything you want to share about your job for someone who would like to embrace this career.
Being a personal stylist isn’t as easy as it seems. There is long hard days spent schlepping heavy bags throughout stores and parking lots. But, the reward is the pure joy when you’ve given confidence to your client who never walked so tall. Making someone feel beautiful is my ultimate goal.