Buyer Be-Aware Monday: I WANT THIS JOB!!!!

We have SIL Ana to thank for inspiring today’s Buyer Be-Aware post!

the non-corporate side to SIL ana!

When I heard about SIL Ana’s recent shopping experience, I thought: a) I can’t wait to try this myself, b) it’s a fabulous concept c) more people need to know about this awesome opportunity!

SIL Ana has been at home on mat leave for the past year and will be returning to the workforce after Labour Day. In her career, Ana wears a number of different hats, and juggles everything from on-site industrial visits to meetings with high-profile clients to office time with the bosses. As such, her wardrobe needs to be professional yet comfortable. After a year away from the corporate scene, Ana was ready for some new mix-n-match clothing items. But who has time to search high and low, hither and yon, when you have two kidlets and just need the clothes, already!

Yorkdale Mall, one of Toronto’s finest shopping destinations, to the rescue! Guess what they offer: A PERSONAL SHOPPING EXPERIENCE also known as their Wardrobe Planning Service. Yes! Basically for free, you can enlist the services of a professional fashionista to guide you in your shopping quest.

How does it work? You book an appointment online here by filling out the registration form and answering a couple of questions. You can get more information about the service here in the FAQ section. It’s all fine and dandy to read the details online, but it’s always better to get a personal review. With Ana’s permission, I share with you her experience…

As noted on the website, there is a $25 fee to book your two hour appointment. When you arrive at the appointment, you receive a $25 Yorkdale Mall Gift Card, so to me, that’s a free appointment (you’re not going to go to the trouble of setting up a consultation if you don’t have a serious purchase in mind, right?).

Ana was matched with Jean Flemming. Ana was really impressed with her professionalism, helpfulness and knowledge. She looked familiar to Ana…over the course of their conversation, Ana learned Jean has appeared on Cityline! (Wow! That alone scores majah points with me!).

Jean and Ana discussed what exactly Ana was looking for, what styles she likes, colour preferences, favourite stores, then it was time to power shop! They started at Banana Republic , one of Ana’s preferred stores, and it sounds like Ana had a blast: Ana was a whirlwind outfit-changer while Jean ran around and did all the dirty work of finding styles and sizes and giving the thumbs up or down as Ana changed ensembles.

Ana had a lot of luck at Banana Republic but still wanted another pair of pants, so Jean on they went to RW & Co. Success again!

Although the appointment is set for a two hour block (and you could request a four hour block, if need be), Ana and Jean finished up their shopping in about an hour – Ana had all the items she needed and had also reached her budget limit! (as good a reason to stop as any!). While the purpose of the outing was to find new clothing items, Jean was also helpful with accessory suggestions and footwear tips. To Ana’s disappointment, Jean gave the thumbs down to the purse that Ana had purchased in Finland this summer and had been hoping to use once back at work. Good to get a second opinion!

I was lucky enough to be at the house when Ana got home from her Personal Shopping Experience, and thus witnessed her enthusiasm for Jean’s help firsthand. It’s truly amazing what they accomplished in a one-hour blitz.

This is such a great marketing idea: a positive shopping experience for the customer who has time constraints or who has questions on a fashion choice, and positive exposure for the mall, with guaranteed sales for the stores within the mall. How completely beneficial would this appointment be for a) someone who does not particularly like shopping b) someone searching for an item for a specific occasion (wedding, gala, corporate job) c) someone needing professional guidance on fit and style but who can’t spend an arm and a leg paying a third-party professional consultant on their own.

Also to note, and thanks for the info, Ana: Cadillac Fairview malls offer this service BUT the price varies: for example, Sherway Gardens charges $150, and Square One  does not have the service available for the summer (sorry, but I couldn’t find online links for more information on these locations).

I TOTALLY could have used this type of help a few years back when searching for a dress for The Bro and SIL Ana’s wedding. Poor, patient, saintly BFF Debbie spent 8 hours at Sherway Gardens with me as we walked our feet off, visiting every available store for a dress…only to walk out empty-handed (I ended up knitting my dress so it worked out in the end, but the shopping trip itself was a rather Sorely Trying Day and not the best for self-esteem as I tried on so many disappointments!).

Now my final question is this: can I please have Jean’s job?!

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