Gill emailed me to ask if I could help her find an outfit for her (only) son’s wedding, which was going to be in a hot country next February. At the time, it was right at the end of our summer season, so I knew I had to act fast.
We met for coffee to discuss her needs (and I could get to see what might suit her in terms of colour, style and size). Gill had not had any previous colour analysis and she thought she might be a “Summer”. After discussion though I did wonder if she was actually a “Spring”, because I preferred the gold rings she had on against her skin instead of the silver ear-rings, but I didn’t tell her that initially.
Gill chose my “At Home” service, which currently costs £150. I source all the items and bring them to the client’s home, to try in a relaxed way with my impartial input, without the pressure of getting dressed and undressed in each shop, or salespeople, and with the bonus of having one’s own shoes, bags, headwear and jewellery already on hand. Gill asked, “What if I don’t like anything?” She was pleased that, as I have a “money back guarantee” she wouldn’t have to pay in that circumstance, but I did point out that no-one has asked for that yet! Obviously the cost of the items is on top of my fee, but I aim to save my clients as much money as possible to cover that.
Realising Gill was nervous about not having shopped with me before, and wondering what I might bring to her, I set to work. I viewed literally hundreds of dresses on line. It was tricky to guess the weight of the garments while shopping on-line, and this was a key criteria (light-weight). I was also shopping to a budget and had to contend with searching at the end of the season. The benefit, though, was finding some great bargains!
Before the agreed appointment I had everything ready, so I asked if she would like to meet earlier (I had ordered 38 dresses, more than usual, because some of them were “Summer” colours, and some “Spring”). I was going to ascertain by the end of this which would suit her best, without a full colour analysis, but Gill didn’t know that, as I wanted the best colour and style for her.
I wouldn’t normally take so many dresses, but I wanted to show Gill the different styles that she could wear, and introduce her to some new brands, and also have every possibility covered in terms of colour, material, patterns and styles so that we could have some great discussion. Some of the dresses Gill liked, and would have been appropriate if it was a UK wedding, but were dismissed because they would have been too hot to wear abroad. Gill tried several of the dresses, and after photos, input from her husband and a lot of quandary (she liked so many of them) we whittled them down to five: three of which were brilliant in terms of the brief but not in my opinion the best colour for her and two which were not as liked for style but were better for colour, although not quite the colour she had in mind to wear to a wedding! There was one dress that I had seen, that I couldn’t find at this stage in her size, but not only was it similar in style to the ones she (and her husband) loved, but also was a great colour for Gill and the wedding style.
I decided to mention this and asked if Gill would like to view them before they disappeared from Debenhams in Southampton with me, right then, since we both could spare the time. If she liked it, then I’d set about finding the right size for her. To our surprise and delight, the smaller one actually fitted, and she loved it. It went home as a sixth dress to show her daughter for her opinion.
Gill was very happy with the service, and said I was amazing! She had previously used a store stylist and was happy with their services, but she could see how my impartiality gave greater options. Plus, I was aiming to save her the cost of my fee, so price (or rather value for money) was a factor. Of course, Gill gained more than the outfit for the fee, she now knew which colours suited her best, and had input on suitable styles, including materials, patterns and lengths of garments. This is a spin-off benefit from asking me to help you shop!
Now I knew what we were looking at in terms of favourite dresses, I could start looking for headwear and shoes. A week later I had three of the four pairs of shoes ordered (again whittled down from hundreds viewed), and three types of headwear. I emailed Gill to see if she wanted to see those in time to show her daughter, which she thought a good idea.
I popped over to see Gill again. Each pair of shoes were good for different reasons; comfort, colour and style. The favoured one happened, again, to also be a fantastic price. More difficult decisions followed, as she liked them all for the different reasons. Her husband was in awe of how easy this made the whole process for both of them, yet Gill still had so much to choose from. He enjoyed being involved, without having to trawl the shops and wait around whilst his wife changed. Gill said at this meeting that she was pretty sure she was preferring the Debenhams dress, and was feeling very comfortable with it. Gill is now happy to trust me and was surprised at how well it was going. All three of the headwear items were good for different reasons too, but we were able to narrow them down to one on the basis of getting it to the wedding in a suitcase. It was also spot on for colour-matching to the favoured dress, and luckily another real bargain.
Having spent so much time with Gill and having full and frank discussions about clothes with her, I hope she will remember to ask me again, as our future encounters will be even more efficient and cost-effective, and she will now be able to trust my email shopping support as many of my other clients do, which is also a cheaper option.
Gill is an example of a brilliant client – happy to try my suggestions and be open-minded to new solutions. I was also keen to tell Gill that she needed to give me honest feedback so I could get more accurate. Our relationship, based on trust and honesty, is what I treasure, and I would be very happy to connect with more clients like Gill, who want to shop in this way – where I do the work and the client learns, shops smarter and ends up with a better result than without my help. Do you know anyone who might be like that? If so, please get in touch, on 07469 246722.