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change of career path at the age of 39....advices on being a SA/Personal Shopper


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Feb 23, 2011, 9:47pm   #16
juneping's Avatar
Thread Starter
couch potato-ing
Originally Posted by floridagal23
Have you thought about merging your career in architecture with something shopping or styling oriented, like staging? You may find work with local realtors selling homes or with builders setting up models.

Good luck!
i just never had that kind of opportunity in terms of stage design. and as far as i know in terms of realty design...a lot of people just went to home depot and picked out finishes themselves. it's not hard to pick out finishes for people...the hardest part is to find the clients who are willing to hire and listen to a prof. almost all the clients i've met, they all think they can pick better finishes than architects/designers do. we have so many years training and when we work IRL...a lot of people just think "how hard can this be, i can do better."
if we are talking about putting a new beam or a new stair...those contractors sometimes would just change our design...i am sure they are thinking "how hard can this be....those architects don't know ****". it happened to us a few times already.
i am just hoping to shop for the wealthy/rich...and slowly from wardrobe to home decor if possible.
Feb 25, 2011, 3:31am   #17
r15324's Avatar
Dismembered
I've been SA'ing at luxury boutiques from really early on. But all they are are jobs. They require little expertise and add no value to yourself. I don't see a career in retail, there's just nowhere to move.
Feb 25, 2011, 2:40pm   #18
juneping's Avatar
Thread Starter
couch potato-ing
^^do you enjoy what you do?
any advice on being a good SA?? should i be aggressive or laid back...??


i want to be a personal shopper and/or fashion stylist eventually...so SA is a stepping stone.
Feb 25, 2011, 3:33pm   #19
stephc005's Avatar
Member
i don't have experience to help you out, but i know i'd want an SA who is knowledgeable yet laid back. i really dislike aggressive SA's because it makes me feel like all they care about is the sale (i want to at least feel like they'll be honest when suggesting an item or they're telling me the truth about looking good in something).

if you want to be a personal shopper or stylist, maybe you could take some fashion related classes? i know being a SA is a start, but i think it would take a longggg time to move up. i think classes and then internships would help you move up because i think a lot of SA's never really move up, nor do they really plan to.
Feb 25, 2011, 4:02pm   #20
clevercat's Avatar
Murphy's Mama
Originally Posted by r15324
I've been SA'ing at luxury boutiques from really early on. But all they are are jobs. They require little expertise and add no value to yourself. I don't see a career in retail, there's just nowhere to move.

I used to think this - I spent years as SA, but I moved up to Area Manager, then to National Sales Manager. Retail is really, really hard work but you can move onwards and upwards!
Feb 25, 2011, 4:26pm   #21
r15324's Avatar
Dismembered
Well as clevercat has proven, you can move up into the corporate side of things. And wow, from SA to NSM, that's impressive :)

Do I enjoy it? Yes, the work is fun, my managers have been awesome, but there's always one or two that spoil the party.
Feb 25, 2011, 4:36pm   #22
S
Member
I would suggest getting a part-time job as a sales associate to get a flavor for dealing with retail customers. Perhaps you could start a business as a personal shopper and find clients through friends, referrals, craigslist, etc. Maybe you could redesign people's closets/wardrobes, etc. I don't think working in retail is necessarily your only avenue into the personal shopper world. Good luck!
Feb 25, 2011, 7:45pm   #23
bagnshoofetish's Avatar
Think Blue.
have you thought about being a stylist? that might be something you can get into as you understand design and enjoy helping others dress themselves.
I changed careers too at 39. I say go for it!
Feb 25, 2011, 9:36pm   #24
juneping's Avatar
Thread Starter
couch potato-ing
Originally Posted by clevercat
I used to think this - I spent years as SA, but I moved up to Area Manager, then to National Sales Manager. Retail is really, really hard work but you can move onwards and upwards!
wow...that's impressive!!

Originally Posted by Sonia*luvs*bags
I would suggest getting a part-time job as a sales associate to get a flavor for dealing with retail customers. Perhaps you could start a business as a personal shopper and find clients through friends, referrals, craigslist, etc. Maybe you could redesign people's closets/wardrobes, etc. I don't think working in retail is necessarily your only avenue into the personal shopper world. Good luck!
the fact that is i really want to try and i am willing to overlook the money issue....
Originally Posted by bagnshoofetish
have you thought about being a stylist? that might be something you can get into as you understand design and enjoy helping others dress themselves.
I changed careers too at 39. I say go for it!
that's my final goal...personal shopper, fashion stylist...the person to pull the look together...i am not sure what exactly the term for that role. i thought it's personal shopper..then i read it's called fashional coordinator and a fashion stylist...many names. anyway that's my passion, my interests.
thanks shoo....
Feb 25, 2011, 9:39pm   #25
juneping's Avatar
Thread Starter
couch potato-ing
Originally Posted by r15324
Well as clevercat has proven, you can move up into the corporate side of things. And wow, from SA to NSM, that's impressive :)

Do I enjoy it? Yes, the work is fun, my managers have been awesome, but there's always one or two that spoil the party.
ya....i did think of that. but i am not going to let those losers to stop my dream. i am working for one of the biggest ******* i've ever met....our office was quite nice to work at until that bastard came along....
Feb 26, 2011, 8:42am   #26
v
Member
The first thing that came to my mind when I read your original post was, "um, yeah, wouldn't we all like to shop for a living." It seems like one of those jobs that you see advertised in the back of magazines (like "work form home!") that are just too good to be true. Not that the job of being a personal shopper doesn't exist, but you'd think that it would be pretty tough to get to that point (and pretty lucky).
If you've weighed everything out, then I see nothing wrong with switching your career path at your age. I liked the idea of maybe starting out part-time to get a feel for it before jumping right in.
Feb 26, 2011, 9:58am   #27
M
Member
Originally Posted by Sonia*luvs*bags
I would suggest getting a part-time job as a sales associate to get a flavor for dealing with retail customers. Perhaps you could start a business as a personal shopper and find clients through friends, referrals, craigslist, etc. Maybe you could redesign people's closets/wardrobes, etc. I don't think working in retail is necessarily your only avenue into the personal shopper world. Good luck!

I think this is a good option or at least a give you a good start. An acquaintance started a career as a stylist and conciege service. She had no formal experience in fashion other than her love for clothes and finding deals.

She's a sahm with kids in school and does most of her shopping and meeting up with clients during the day or weekends. She started by offering shopping/styling suggestions to the moms at the school playgrounds. She's also friends with the owners of the high end consignment stores, helping clients revamp/declutter their closets.
Feb 26, 2011, 11:16am   #28
juneping's Avatar
Thread Starter
couch potato-ing
^^thanks....i'll think about how to advertise myself...i went back and re-read Sonia*luvs*bags post....that's very good advice. thank you for your time and advices....i need to revisit the strategy of changing my career.
Feb 26, 2011, 12:15pm   #29
Laurie8504's Avatar
chocolate...where?
Originally Posted by juneping
you are making total sense....i really appreciate it.
okay..this is my chain of thoughts. architecture is also service orientated.... gear towards service clients is not that much of difference. i think clients in general can be very demanding (that's a given) and unreasonable (very few but they do exist). and i've dealt with them all.
the part i don't like about arch the most is the part to put all things together. it's rewarding and annoying at the same time. the fact that after 10 years working in the field....the drafting part is still the dominant part of my job. it's hard to find someone who know how to draw (all lines mean something instead of lines by themselves)...i am good at what i do but i get stuck at what i do. my bosses are not willing to nurture me to become a well-rounded architect. i hate my office....the whole industry is moving from autocad to BIM (drafting software) but our office is not doing that...that makes our marketability very unfavorable. i've been sending resume out for over 3-4 years. nothing happened. i thought about being clients' rep or even go into construction....but i don't think i have what it takes. i can be confident but only when i know what i am talking about...and in terms of arch...i always feel there's something i don't know which is common but that little doubts reveal my uncertainty about me.
i don't know....i am just imagining what life is gonna be how different. i think it's the part i don't find it rewarding as the biggest turn off of my job. most architect geeks would love to do a lot of research about what's the next "IT" thing in arch....but i never was interested enough to do the research...and when bf handles a project (he's also an architect)...he's very aware of how to approach the project and foresee the changes and all....on my end i just wanted to know what to draw and get it over with. it was interesting to me but that kind of fulfillment that i had in school...i just never had in life. a friend of mine has been working on the freedom tower...and she's very happy about it. i did ask myself would i be happy if i get that kind of opportunity....the answer is "i am not sure". i think i'll be happier than i am but not sure if i'll be happy. period. bf is the first person kept telling me i need to do what i love...even thou i've been doing a good job at work...he could tell i am not that happy about what i do besides all the BS happening in the office.
throwing all my hard work all away and do something very different is probably my biggest fear if things don't turn out the way i wish. but i guess i'll never know if i don't try.
Like another poster, I suggest you retain your current job and take on a part-time position to give yourself the opportunity to really make an informed decision before you quit. It is very hard to get hired at a luxury store with no experience....you would be starting at the bottom, perhaps mall stores working with teenagers. I just see it as a step back. I think the world today is permeated with this message that you can grow up to follow your dreams and, while that is true at some level, the reality is most people put up with bosses they don't like in positions they only sometimes love. I think you'll find the fashion/retail world is not very glamorous. Check out this thread if you've missed it:
Retail Hell

Honestly, it concerns me that you've come this far and are unwilling to take the final step to become an architect. I really believe making it official would open a lot of doors, and may have something to do with you not receiving other job offers. The fashion industry is brutal, and follow-through and determination are super-important.

Other things that concern me: you mention not liking "putting all the things together", and also "researching the next IT thing"....which is exactly what a fashion consultant would have to do.

Sorry if I'm coming across like Debby Downer...I just cannot in good conscience say I think it's a good idea to switch careers in your situation.
Feb 26, 2011, 5:27pm   #30
kat99's Avatar
Member
I was an SA for a very popular luxury goods brand here for years in college. I was good at my job and got an offer to go to corporate upon graduation. It's tough. I think people go into luxury sales and think that you'll be dealing with glamorous clients, going to launch parties and helping people with major bankrolls fill out their beautiful closets. That is a minute part of the job. Most of it is spent dealing with very picky customers who will spend 3 hours picking out a $150 item (when the average sale in the store is around the 3x that), then come back and return/exchange it several times over, and then if they feel like you didn't give them good service, will complain about it to their manager or in this day and age, complain about it on tPF. You're on your feet all day and have tough hours (opening and closing). And honestly, if you're in the US, luxury isn't the best sector to be in right now (although I think architecture isn't either).

I feel your pain in architecture. The field isn't doing well either, the jobs you do get probably aren't what you thought and hiring has virtually stalled. If this is a temporary bump I would advise to stick it out as being an SA in my opinion will be much worse. However if you do want to go into the fashion/styling business, I don't think that being a SA is a bad choice (if you can get hired). It's a great job to take to understand the industry and will help you on your resume.
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