6.7: Darren’s Personal Shopping Experience
Before client Darren arrives for his session, his stylist has already arrived in the mall and has been busy pre-selecting clothing based on his understanding of his client’s requirements for the session. The doors of the mall itself opens at 8am, but the actual stores usually open at either 9am or 10am. Knowing this, the stylist has arrived early and is keen to access the shops ahead of meeting Darren at 11am.
The prep has gone well. The stylist has visited three stores in total, having carefully researched them in relation to the client’s physique, personality and sizing requirements. The stylist knows that all of the stores will have a great assortment of styles in his sizes and he now feels prepared and at ease. The prep session has done away any feelings of anticipation he may have otherwise experienced and this allows for him to focus on Darren entirely during his initial face-to-face meeting.
It’s 11am now and our stylist meets Darren in a hipster style coffee shop that he’s pretty sure is in sync with Darren’s vibe. Inside there is a men’s groomer offering barbering. The barbering guys are covered in cool tattoos and contrast these with neat shirts, eyewear, slick hair and long but trimmed beards. The coffee and music are both spot on.
Meeting our stylist in this coffee shop is a great first impression and this attention to detail shows Darren that the stylist has initially understood some of his taste preferences, as well as opening him up to some new and innovate style ideas. After a friendly greeting and a reassuring handshake the two take their coffees and begin to chat through the day ahead.
Darren has a broad physique with XXL and XXXL sizes. He tells our stylist about his frustrations, namely that he often struggles with nicely fitting clothing in the most popular high street stores. He says he feels a little ‘clumsy’ shopping in some stores and is a little embarrassed when items don’t seem to fit. He has a broad chest and is carrying weight around his tummy.
“The trouble is, when I visit most clothing stores that suit guys who are more stocky, they tend to be either really ‘preppy, like shirts and blazers with [a pair of] chino[s]’ kind of looks or sporty stuff that I just don’t like. This just isn’t me. I can’t really find many things that represent how I am, if you know what I mean. It’s like the stores think that if you’re a bigger guy, you ought to dress in a certain way”.
The stylist understands his frustration. Darren tells our stylist about his taste for rock music and that even though he’s generally thought of as a calm and friendly guy, he has a rebellious spirit and loves the London music scene. He often attends gigs in Camden when he’s not working in the corporate HR world and wants to find a way of incorporating a little bit of this style into his wardrobe without appearing adolescent.
This conversation is no surprise to our stylist, who had already spoken with Darren and ascertained this similarly on the phone. He reassures Darren that he’s there to help and asks Darren how he’d like to look.
Before they set off, our stylist talks to Darren about colour. He’s already mentioned not liking bright colours and the stylist asks him if he would like a mini complementary colour consultation as part of the service. In front of one of the mirrors where natural light is evident, the stylist works with some select drapes and feels confident to tell Darren that he is a cool winter. Looking at the colour fan, Darren sees that, luckily for him, the winter colours perfectly suit his personality and rock music aesthetic.
The stylist is committed to offering Darren the most fantastic confidence boosting shopping experience that will enable him to feel good about himself and his appearance.
The stylist has chosen an early morning appointment intentionally, knowing that the shops are calm at this time in the mall and almost empty. By 1pm the stylist knows that the stores will be buzzing, so pre-empting this he wants to get a lot of work completed before the bustle of crowds pile in.
They walk to the first store which is a well known brand, but not one Darren is used to shopping in. ‘I think we’ll struggle in here’ says Darren, looking at a rack of super skinny jeans, but our stylist tells Darren that they’re there to focus on shirting and outerwear only and that they’ll move onto alternative stores for trousers and jeans in due course.
In the fitting room, the stylist hands Darren the items of clothing that he has pre-selected earlier this morning. He is immediately impressed and was totally unaware that the items would already be there waiting for him. The pre-selects have exceeded his expectations of the service offered and Darren feels that this is great customer service.
In the fitting room, the stylist talks through the items and his reasons for selecting them. The mid length ‘V-neck’ t-shirt he has selected immediately creates the impression of a longer neck, making the client appear taller. Darren often wears crew neck tees which can make him look a little hemmed in. The stylist layers this with a leather aviator jacket. He’s chosen it with such care, as the leather is very thin and high quality whilst the cut is linear and slightly boxy in shape, which crops perfectly at the waist. The cut of the jacket suits the client’s frame perfectly, disguising his tummy. The shearling detail on the collar isn’t too thick or heavy either, but is instead thin which reduces any added appearance of bulk. The collar is tastefully dyed in a muted shade of charcoal grey. Darren is thrilled to learn that this cooler shade of grey is in the winter palette and flatters his natural colouring perfectly. The look is relaxed and streamline and appeals to Darren’s muted sense of cool.
Our stylist explains to Darren that the jacket would be an investment piece. It is a substantial part of Darren’s budget but could be well worth it, explaining how he could dress up some of his much loved band tees, or wear this with relaxed shirting or more formal t-shirts for date nights or weekend wear.
The stylist hands Darren some more items in the fitting room. He’s very careful not to overwhelm him with too many try on pieces at once. 2-3 items at a time is sufficient and once the selections are been tried on and taken off, the stylist returns these to their hangers and gives them to the fitting room attendant.
The stylist gets feedback from the client. He’s in love with the jacket and seems pretty happy with the tee and the shirting. But our stylist thinks he can do better with some of the shirting items and whizzes on to the shop floor to pull together some additional garments while Darren tries on the last selections.
Although he wants to gain some feedback from Darren, the stylist knows that he must lead the session. The pre-selecting of items was clever because it ensured that Darren didn’t trail behind him on the shop floor, interjecting opinions or watching the stylist figure out the looks. This method allows for a seamless service.
Coming back to the fitting room, the stylist hands Darren a few examples of a different style of shirting. These shirts are made of more starchy fabric than the clingy thin stretch cotton style that Darren is currently wearing. The cut is less tapered at the waist tucks into jeans nicely without being too baggy also. He shows Darren how the cut differs and draws his attention to the dimensions of the collar and some grey top stitching which complements the colour of the shearling collar of the jacket perfectly. This is an enjoyable learning experience for Darren who, when trying on the shirt, sees the difference immediately.
Darren feels like he’s learnt about new styles of clothing and what to look for. The stylist freely supports and promotes Darren in his ability to shop well without him, as he knows that supporting his independence increases the value of the shopping experience for the client and is actually more likely to lead to re-booking him as a valued fashion expert that facilitates his style development.
What do you do when your pre-select ideas that worked well in theory, do not work out in reality? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there! In the fitting room, your client tries on a look and let’s just say that the result, for whatever reason, is less than desirable.
- Firstly, don’t panic! Remember this is about exploration. With a smile and a little dose of humour, feel free to tell your client this and that it isn’t working.
- Secondly, move on! Never stay with the item and try to make it work so as to not lose face. Just say ‘I think we can do better than this one’, and move on.
- Hand your client something else to try without leaving him standing in the item, even if it’s a plain tee or shirt.
The shopping trip continues well. Our stylist is aware of the time and how to stagger the experience. Mid way through the session, the stylist notices that his client’s enthusiasm appears to be ebbing. Darren admits to sometimes feeling a little irritable or ‘hangry’ when he’s busy and notices his blood sugar levels dropping. This is all too familiar for our stylist who, luckily enough, has packed a few health protein bars and mineral waters in his bag, offering them to his client. They walk past a juice bar and our stylist invites Darren to a wheatgrass and turmeric fruit smoothie. Darren offers to pay, but our stylist won’t allow it. It’s a relatively small cost, but our stylist wants Darren to get the most of the experience and leave feeling well looked after.
They head on to two more shops, sourcing the ideal cut and fit of jeans. The stylist shows Darren where to get basic tees and jeans that are right for his physique type and which will be high quality but don’t cost a fortune. He shows him how to mix these with the statement items or ‘hero pieces’ that he’s bought. The stylist also suggests how Darren might put these together for different occasions and situations, even how to include some of his personal styling in a work setting. For Darren this feels like a big step towards owning part of his style personality at work. The Personal Shopping consultation has built on his levels of confidence and Darren asks his stylist if he can feedback on how the changes are received by his work colleagues on Monday. Our stylist tells him that he’d be delighted to hear about it and warmly encourages the effort.
As we’ve mentioned in our Top Tip, a good stylist knows that every session needs to have a great beginning, middle and end. The session has gone so well, but there is still time left and Darren has spent the majority of his budget. They have 40 minutes left. Rather than closing the session early, our stylist asks Darren if he’d like to see how some inexpensive accessory items might elevate his look and make some great finishing touches.
The stylist knows just what to do. He knows the shopping area so well and is so familiar with the stock that he barely needs to think twice to know where to head for the items he has in mind. He sources Darren a plated leather wrist band with a sterling silver clasp and an obsidian gemstone bracelet, “just something to try on for kicks” says our stylist, “to offset your white shirt at work and add a little bit of a rock vibe?” – Darren buys them both. “You’re right, they really do finish the look don’t they?”
Darren thanks our stylist for such a well planned experience, telling him that he really never expected such a carefully scheduled and personalised experience. Our stylist is delighted and informs our client that he will send some brief feedback and a few snaps that he’s taken of outfits Darren has tried on in the fitting room.
He informs Darren of the complementary after plan service and offers him a 10% discount on any repeat booking. Darren says he will definitely be shopping with him again.