Someone on FBD asked me why I hadn’t answered an Ask Claire? question as of late. To be honest, the feature kinda slipped my mind, and posting Style Diaries seemed easier! But at the request of said reader (I always listen to what you want!), I will crack open the latest inquiry.
“Let me preface this by saying I know that I do not know you, but I truly feel like you are my big sister/mentor/friend in my head. I have reached out to you a few times over the past few years for advice, etc and you always respond. I truly appreciate that. I met you in person once a while back at an event, but I am sure you do not remember me.
Anyways, I have been in the fashion industry in different capacities for over 9 years. I currently work FT doing fashion marketing, I am a freelance FT blogger, contributor, personal shopper and stylist. The more I work all 80 jobs 7 days a week the more I realize that I really love personal shopping and would love to just focus on that more to continue to build that up.
My question is: I have been freelancing and although I do have a background in it (I went to FIT for styling) I feel like there is so much more I need to learn. I thought about reaching out to Carmen (Style by Carmen) because I think she is an exceptional personal shopper/stylist, but do you think it is necessary? At this stage in the game do you think I need to continually reach out to people for advice, etc or do you think I need to just continue what I am doing and push through? I really need a mentor in personal shopping/styling, but that has been very hard for me to acquire. What do you think?”
The question of mentorship is a good one. I personally have never had a mentor per se, though having one is always super useful!
I’d say reach out to people to get a gauge of their availability. Most times the super successful personal shoppers and stylists are too busy to dedicate real quality time to an ‘official’ mentor relationship.
Your options: intern for them, help them out, and learn along the way.
If not, do what I did: set up a series of informational interviews. Ask for advice when necessary. Build up relationships with people you trust and allow them to see you flourish. And learn by doing.
Instead of having one ‘MENTOR’ I have dozens of advisors who offer me words of encouragement and words of wisdom when I need it. But the best way to become a personal shopper is to get one client, then expand. A lot of great stylists and personal shoppers I know get new clients by word of mouth. If you’re that good, people will find you and your career will flourish!
So, behold, my two cents.
What do you think?
*About my outfit. I had a series of meetings the other day! I wore a black Thakoon jumpsuit, Issey Miyake vest, Giuseppe Zanotti mules, and gold jewelry.
Images: Karl Pierre