Taking pain out of the mall trawl with Dubai's personal shoppers
Does following trends send you round the bend? Help is at hand from four of Dubai’s best personal shoppers who take the pain out of the mall trawl
Nina Iskander ninaiskander.com
Years of experience: five
How much do you charge? Dhs500 per hour. During this time the client tries on as many outfits on as possible so they are satisfied.
How do you deal with tricky clients? I’m really patient. Usually the most difficult ones are thos who think they know it all, but don’t in reality. It’s all about making them happy by the end of the shopping trip.
Have you received any odd requests? Once a client asked me to go shopping for Prada, Stella McCartney and Chanel bags. While we were walking around the mall she said, “I want fake ones.”
What’s the worst thing about your job? I love what I do and I tend to stay positive, but occasionally you get a client with an unpleasant attitude.
Do you still enjoy shopping for yourself? I love it. When I go shopping, I scan the shop and target what I want to buy. I’ve been known to buy five pairs of shoes in 15 minutes.
What makes a good personal shopper? Some think that just because they can dress themselves, they can be a personal
Natalie Trevis stylephilesdubai.com
Years of experience: three
How do you start shopping for a client? Personal styling can be quite an intimate process as it often brings up body insecurities, so we meet first. Clients answer a questionnaire about their current style, what they hope to achieve from the shopping session and which items of clothing they would like to concentrate on. On the day of the shopping session I do a full pre-shop for the client and set aside pieces. The client and I then spend the session trying on the clothes.
How much do you charge? It can range from Dhs700 to Dhs3,000, depending on the time spent with the client.
What’s the best thing about your job? Giving clients the confidence to wear clothes they didn’t think they could. Seeing them happy in their appearance is the best feeling for me.
What’s the worst thing about your job? Finding diplomatic ways to suggest that the client’s style isn’t working for them. Sometimes the truth can be hard to hear.
What’s the strangest request a client has ever given you? One client asked me to organise an entire photo shoot for him to show off his new look. I love quirky requests as it keeps my work interesting.
What was the most expensive item that you have sourced? I’ve had clients who think nothing of spending Dhs7,000 on a Roland Mouret dress, but I’m a firm believer that fit, cut and fabric are far more important than the name on the label.
Are your clients mainly female or do the boys need a hand with their wardrobe? I’ve been surprised by how many men seek out personal shopping; usually it’s because they don’t have time or an interest in shopping. Men usually need a little push to co-ordinate new outfits but they are very decisive shoppers.
What makes a good personal shopper? You need to listen to what a client is telling you. It’s crucial to read their body language and merge what they are telling you with things such as body shape and colour. Good stamina and a stylish pair of flats for hours of bargain hunting are essential too.
Kelly Lundberg stylemedivine.com
Years of experience: eight
How did you become a personal shopper? When I worked as cabin crew with Emirates airline I would chat to passengers and share tips on where to shop in Dubai. I thought it would be amazing if I could develop it into a full-time job. That was eight years ago and I’ve since clocked up more than 10,000 shopping hours and purchased over 5,000 pairs of shoes.
How much do you charge? A half day with me is Dhs3,000. A senior stylist from Style Me Divine is Dhs500 per hour.
What’s the best thing about your job? I love the thrill of taking a client to buy her first pair of designer shoes – it’s an experience every woman cherishes. And I love seeing the confidence boost that a styling session can achieve.
And the worst? Having the willpower to resist buying everything for myself.
What’s your goal in your business? I want to shatter the illusion that personal shopping is just for the rich and famous. I want to make personal styling as accessible as making a nail appointment. Choosing the right outfit can be as stressful and emotional as getting a new haircut – and most people wouldn’t dream of cutting their own hair.
Christina Karachalioug omyglamour.com
What’s the process when shopping for a client? First I schedule a meeting to discuss their exact requirements. Then I create a personal shopping profile for them. Next I go to the shops alone to shortlist items and reserve them with the store manager. I email the client with pictures of the products and prices. Clients have the option of coming shopping with me to join in the fun.
How much do you charge? Dhs450 per hour. I also offer an Ultimate Shopping experience package that is a favourite with regular clients; it is Dhs1,500 for four hours.
What’s the best thing about your job? There’s something very gratifying in achieving the almost impossible, whether it’s tracking down an elusive Hermes handbag or the perfect birthday present for a client’s child.
And the worst? The hours are definitely not nine to five. There are a lot of late evenings and weekend bookings.
Do you still enjoy shopping for yourself? When I started working as a personal shopper my friends thought that I wouldn’t have the time or energy to shop for myself, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Scheduling a shopping spree for myself is an indulgence.
What’s the strangest thing that you’ve been asked to find? I was asked to source a pet monkey. I had to tactfully decline that one.
How do you deal with tricky clients? I studied psychology, which has proved to be invaluable.
What makes a good personal shopper? You have to be a people person so you can understand the client’s personality and make them feel comfortable.