Meet the Professional Shoppers
7 days ago, 08:43
There are people who hate shopping or have little time to shop or no good sense of style. Most wealthy people are time-poor and this has paved the way for an industry that is serving their millionaire necessities; professional shopping.
Maryanne Maina, a Kenyan who lives in Paris is a personal shopper of wealthy foreign clientele.
“Personal shoppers cater to the rich who are time-poor or just enjoy being given extra services. Globally, this is a very crucial service industry. Private banks and family offices work with personal shoppers. Harrods, Louis Vuitton, Cartier and other brands also work with personal shoppers,’’ says Maryanne, who pursued an MBA in luxury brand management in France.
The personal shoppers buy from furniture, suits, fine art to timepieces. They influence their clients’ taste, research on products and work with brands on behalf of the customers.
“It is a glamorous career and you spend your time in beautiful boutiques such as Ralph & Russo, Louis Vuitton, Dior and others with private salons where you and your clients are indulged in champagne as they try on gowns costing more than $50,000 (Sh5 million) and above,’’ she says.
And how much does a personal shopper cost?
There are personal shoppers who charge Sh200,000 ($2,000) per day per client because having low charges may mean that they offer their services to the mass market or premium buyers and not the exclusive wealthy.
“I have met a Chinese professional shopper who only works with clients who spend a minimum of $10,000 (Sh1 million) per purchase: His clients buy timepieces worth Sh10 million such as Jacquet Droz or Patek Philippe,’’ she says.
However Maryanne, who clients are mostly from the Middle East, Russia, the US, China and West Africa, says her charges are slightly lower.
“I have someone I do personal shopping for whom I charge 1,000 euros (Sh116,000) per day and she pays without blinking and I go with her card and swipe it at the stores,’’ says Maryanne who got into the luxury market eight years ago.
As more millionaires turn to art gallery owners or curators to pick for them the rarest artworks painted by outstanding artists, or house buying agents with knowledge of the high-end property market, or people who understand fashion and even know bargains in opulent stores, no just anybody can thrive as a personal shopper.
“It is a job that requires ultimate discretion. A client can talk, but you should not talk much. You protect the client by all means possible. One needs a very in-depth understanding of luxury and what is not luxury. For example, Hugo Boss is a premium brand and not a luxury brand. One needs to know where to find known brands such as Cartier and less famous brands such as Satta Matturi. Will it be a brand from UK, Sierra Leone or Silvia Furmanovich from Brazil? For men, will the client look better in a Bijan suit, which ranges from $10,000 and worn by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon or perhaps ...
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