At first glance it looks like the most glamorous job in the world, but we're finding out there's actually a lot more involved to being a personal shopper.
Lupe Puerta, Global Head of Personal Shopping at NET-A-PORTER.COM, fills us in on exactly what it's like to be a personal shopper.
How did you become a personal shopper?
I started working on the shop floor very early on in my career. I worked my way up from sales to managing large-scale teams at big department stores. I joined personal shopping at NET-A-PORTER in 2004 – I was the second member of what was then a pioneering, first of its kind global personal shopping team. Since then, I have grown the department to over 30 global personal shoppers based across the world, and was promoted to my current role as global head of personal shopping in 2012.
What does a typical day involve?
Part of my job is to meet with our most loyal customers globally. Day to day, we ensure our customers are receiving the best possible shopping experience on and off line. I love doing wardrobe consultations with our key clients around the world. It’s vital that I have a deep-rooted understanding of our different customer needs from market to market. It’s how we get to know our clients, understand their needs and grow a trusting relationship, which is the core element of my department.
Net-A-Porter.com’s global personal shopping team recently hosted an exclusive Style Suite for guests of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week
A typical day for me can really vary; I travel a lot – particularly to New York, London and Hong Kong where our offices are based. My teams are split across all locations so between us we deal with nearly every department within the business from the buyers, editors, PRs and marketers to the logistics and technology teams. I also host events with designers and meet our most loyal clients who are based all over the world – often taking them to runway shows during fashion month or to world-class events like the US Open.
What’s the best part of your job?
Meeting our customers. They are super stylish, love fashion and are so impressive. They lead phenomenally busy lives as they juggle family, work or extensive travel commitments. I also really enjoy working with my team and get a real kick out of seeing someone who has come from a bricks and mortar store and watching them flourish in the online space. There are a lot of transferable skills that you can bring from the shop floor such as a good eye and a strong personality but when you move online you add a whole other dimension - you become a technology and shipping expert too!
What’s the worst part of your job?
I really enjoy the travelling that comes with my job but it's also a huge challenge. Traversing different time zones whilst replying to emails and hosting events is no mean feat!
How do you select fashion styles that work best for your clients?
The NET-A-PORTER woman tends to own amazing pieces in her wardrobe, so it all depends on the individual’s needs. Some women are looking for our help in editing their wardrobe. Some want to refresh and add an injection of investment pieces that bring value to what they already have. For me, personal shopping provides a fantastic opportunity to challenge a client to try new shapes and new designers that she may not have explored before. It’s super exciting. Wardrobe consultations are a huge part of the education in how to make the best of your wardrobe.
The Style Suite event offered private shopping consultations and style advice
You must have access to some amazing designers and pieces, how do you cull your options?
Look in your wardrobe and see where the gaps lie. It’s important to focus on the staples and key investments and then build on it with current season hero pieces. Every few months take a look at your existing wardrobe and anything you haven’t worn in over a year decide whether or not you want to keep it.
How do you determine what a great investment pieces is?
Anything that transforms an outfit is a great investment, no matter what you’re wearing. For me, shoes are my key investments; if you’ve got fabulous heels, you will feel and look great!
What are 5 investment items every woman should own?
1. A white shirt
Every woman needs a beautiful white shirt. I love Valentino for the perfect fit and Equipment’s silk versions – they never disappoint.
2. A little black dress
A black day-to-night transitional dress is a must – look to Victoria Beckham and The Row for beautifully versatile pieces.
Whether your favourites are Levi’s 501 boyfriend jeans or Frame Denim’s Francoise flares, find the most flattering fit for your shape and the style you feel most comfortable in.
Saint Laurent, Balmain and Isabel Marant are go-to designers for a smart blazer, which will prove endlessly valuable in every woman’s wardrobe.
5. A classic mid heel pump
Choose a pair that you can wear at work as well as in the evening. Gianvito Rossi’s suede heels are perfect – they can be worn with everything from dresses to rolled-up jeans.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever given a client?
Have fun with fashion. Don’t get caught up in trends – invest in the ones that work for you. Tailor your wardrobe to fit your lifestyle and break all rules except one: if you don’t feel confident in something don’t wear it, as it will never look good.
What's the best piece of fashion advice you've come across? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below!