She's dressed everyone from Lauren Bacall to First Ladies. Now, Betty Halbreich - the most famous personal shopper in the world - just wants a drink.
Being a sales associate for the past four years, many of Halbreich's stories and sentiments resonate with me. It's quite an interesting adventure being a fashion therapist to the well-off, but similar to Halbreich, I've realized I'd rather be on the side I am than the other way around.
Not only has the retail experience helped cultivate my personal style and confidence about my wardrobe, but it's enabled me to ensure that same confidence and self-esteem to my customers. Clothes are a form of personal expression, but many people truly value (or need) the confirmation from a honest and engaged sales associate. While I know relatively quickly whether I want to add an item to my wardrobe or not, many women want to be sure that what they are trying on is the right item for them.
When you work in a speciality shop, with higher price merchandise, the path-to-purchase is more intimate and involved. You truly get to play "dress-up" with the customer and determine together which items will be heading home with them. Although (like every other store) we have sales targets, I never try to force a sale. I am a firm believer in having the customer look good in & be happy with what they are purchasing. Will they be able to wear it again? What can they wear the dress/blouse/trousers with? Will they be comfortable & confident when they wear the outfit?
It's very rewarding and such a treat to help women find a product or style that works for them. That, in turn, fosters customer loyalty and the proper engagement and reputation for your store to keep customers returning.
That level of involvement has enabled me to develop better social skills, cultivate relationships and learn more about personal styling & fashion. It's a beautiful blend of personal and professional growth.
I have yet to read Halbreich's memoir, but below you'll find a lovely book review from Lesley M.M. Blume with The Wall Street Journal.