247 Trends: The Rise Of Personal Shopping
Over the past two years, fashion has become more trend led than ever before. In the age of social media, keeping up appearances is more important than ever. Apps such as TikTok and Instagram, as well as the plethora of fast fashion brands such as Shein and Pretty Little Thing, are to thank for the recent surge in fashion ‘fad’ trends (y2k and low-rise denim, we’re looking at you). With the fashion world harder to navigate than ever before, it may be time to recruit the help of a professional, which begs the question – do they have style, or do they just have a really great personal shopper?
By Layla Turner
There are some mis-conceptions about what a personal shopping experience actually is. Many confuse the service with re-selling (think profiles like @the_og_kicks on Instagram), however personal shopping is very different, explains Mhairi McDowall, founder of TWENTY4SEVENTRENDS. “A personal shopping experience should feel like a great day out with your best friend! A good personal shopper will make you feel special, comfortable, listen to your needs, introduce you to new styles and provide you with 1-1 honest advice and informative tips. The client should feel relaxed and at ease, whilst we do all the hard work – providing the client with lots of products and sharing interesting ideas.”
As I stumbled to my personal styling session on an early Tuesday morning, the anxiety was real. It may have been down to the fact I hurriedly grabbed a double shot latte on route to my destination, but mostly it was down to the fact I had no idea what to expect. I was expecting a Devil Wears Prada type situation – a Miranda Priestly esque stare at my basic veja trainers (basic indeed, however a staple in every London girls’ wardrobe). I was told that the team had had a scroll down my Instagram for inspiration. “Ensuring the customer is comfortable throughout the process is key! We would never push someone to wear something they didn’t feel comfortable in – we make sure to ask the right questions. We find out what the client would like to gain from this experience. Do they need a wardrobe re-refresh or are they looking for an outfit for a specific occasion? During the phone consultation, we will find out what brands the client would usually shop from, what styles they usually opt for, and who they look at for style inspiration.”
When I arrived at the location for the styling session, a glamorous apartment in the heart of Covent Garden, I was met with an array of outfits, shoes and bags – oh my! A number of different looks hung from a rail – beach attire, a brunch outfit and a pink mini Jacquemus bag that I’m still swooning over, to name but a few. Each look was perfectly curated, and although at first glance they didn’t necessarily reflect my typical style, when I put each outfit on, I fell in love – It was clear from the get go that these girls knew what they were doing and were serious about fashion.
247TRENDS was born from a love of the luxury fashion industry, explains Mhairi. “One day, I was having a chat with a close friend of mine (he loves fashion!). We were talking about how most of his style inspiration comes from looking at his favorite musicians and athlete’s posts on Instagram. He said that he wished there was an account on Instagram which posted the latest, most exclusive, and hottest luxury products. My friend was already running a successful football-focused account on Instagram. He said, “You should start your own page!” and that was the birth of 247Trends in late 2018. 247Trends started as a luxury fashion inspiration account on Instagram. A place to document the latest fashion trends. After several months of posting consistently, 9 times a day (with very little interaction!), one day I received several direct messages regarding a look that I had posted. It was from Fendi’s Spring/Summer 19 Amour Collection – a FF brown monogram pair of leggings and matching long-sleeve crop top with neon green detailing. The direct messages were asking how much the items cost. At first, I laughed to myself. I was thinking, “This is a fashion inspiration page, not a shop!”. At this point, the penny dropped and I realized that there was a demand for personal shopping. From that day onwards, I started to take product sourcing requests. I worked on the business on evenings and weekends in my spare time, whilst working in fashion PR, for around a year and a half, before going full-time with 247Trends. I worked really hard to build a reputation for myself in the world of personal shopping and managed to steadily build a fabulous client book.”
My experience got me thinking about individuals who utilise luxury personal shopping experiences. Before my styling session, I thought the service was perhaps reserved for older individuals who needed a little help in the wardrobe department. The reality, in fact, is quite the opposite. “Of course, we have a client range spanning across all ages. However, our typical client is between 25-35 years old. She’s stylish, fashion conscious, career driven with a hunger for the most exclusive pieces – if they want something, they get it.” The last sentence again has me thinking of the famous Devil Wears Prada scene of a very panic stricken Emily on a mission to collect a dozen Hermès scarves for Miranda, shortly before being hit by a taxi.
Similar to any individual who works in this profession, Mhairi has some interesting stories. “One of our US-based clients simply had to have a Chanel crystal belt from the Spring/Summer 2019 runway (as seen on model Kaia Gerber). There was only one boutique in the world that had this piece left – 19 Rue Cambon, Paris. I contacted the boutique and they told me that it had been on hold for a famous French singer, but she had failed to pick up the belt so it was available for purchase. I said to the boutique that I would travel from London the following day to buy the belt and I asked if they could keep it on reservation for me – they said no. I relayed this information back to the client and this did not stop her from wanting to secure the belt. She was happy to pay for my time and travel from London to Paris without any guarantee of purchasing the belt. At almost midnight, I booked the Eurostar for the following morning and traveled to Paris for the store opening time. Luckily, I managed to secure the belt and the client was very happy.”
Above all, personal shopping offers a sense of exclusivity and convenience that just isn’t comparable to a standard shopping experience. “Convenience is one of the main reasons why clients use our services. Our clients can have very busy schedules which allow them little time to shop and they need a helping hand. They could be running a company, traveling regularly for work, or running around after the kids. For those last minute requests, we are able to offer rapid delivery. Clients will often opt for our next day or same day delivery service. They trust that we will deliver their items in a timely manner and meet their deadlines. Clients are told by sales associates at their local boutiques that a particular luxury item is “impossible to get hold of” or “the waiting list is too long”. This is where our product sourcing skills come into use and we utilise our extensive global book of close contacts in the industry. At 247Trends we never take “no” as an answer. We make the impossible, possible and go the extra mile to find our clients their must-have items. We don’t just source items from the UK, we source from boutiques all over the globe, giving us access to a large range of stock. Our business has been built on trust, reliability and world-of-mouth. This is something we pride ourselves on. We have close relationships with many families. Once we start to work with a client and they are thrilled with our service, they will often pass our contact around the family. We are shopping for many relatives within the same family and have individual relationships with each one. We hear a lot from new clients that they have been previously scammed online from other sellers and personal shopping companies. For that reason, we understand the importance of excellent communication and 100% transparency.”
There are several reasons why one may employ the help of a personal shopper. Perhaps you are stuck in a style rut, or want a seasonal wardrobe refresh. Maybe you have a big event coming up, or you simply don’t have the time to search for the latest styles yourself. Personal shopping is not a one size fits all transaction – the experience is tailored to each individual. For me, someone who considers themselves to have a keen interest in fashion and a somewhat in depth understanding of the latest trends, it encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and embrace different styles. The appeal is evident – I left my appointment feeling confident and satisfied – something I can’t often say post shopping trip.
What’s next for 247TRENDS? Now they have conquered the fashion world, the only way is up. “We are excited to have recently launched our VIP concierge service. We help our clients enhance their lives. If they want to book a once in a lifetime trip, we will sort it for them. If they want a late night reservation at one of London’s most prestigious restaurants – no problem. We have the knowledge and contacts to accommodate any request.” If you are in the market for someone to run your wardrobe – and your life – for you, I highly recommend 247TRENDS. Their friendly yet professional service is second to none.
Take Five With 247TRENDS:
Five trends we can expect to see throughout AW21: Meallics, Bold block colours, tulle fabrics Faux fur, Oversized sleeves
Five wardrobe staples: A crisp white tee, straight-leg jeans, a classic blazer, trusted time piece and a cashmere knit
Five favourite brands: Chanel, Hermès, Dior, Tom Ford, Cartier
Fashion advice to live by: Wear what YOU like and what YOU feel comfortable in. You don’t need to follow trends to be stylish.