Personal Shopper Business Idea

Business Summary:

Personal shoppers shop for other people: people who are too busy, those who are unsure of what they want, and others who simply want help in changing their fashion image and don’t know where to start. Corporations may hire personal shoppers to buy gifts for clients. Department stores and boutiques hire them to buy gifts on behalf of client – or to coordinate outfits and fashionable “looks” for clients. Some personal shoppers work on their own, doing the same things that other personal shoppers do, but they may also revamp a client’s entire image, from head to toe. These professionals often call themselves image consultants.

No special education or licensing is required to be a personal shopper. However, an organization called the Association of Image Consultants International offer a certificate based upon its continuing education program. Certainly a personal shopper must have an outgoing personality and exceptional taste in classics styles as well as hot trends. Once you’ve established your reputation in the field and your clients trust your judgment, you can make a very nice living in the delightful world of high-end shopping.

Start Up Cost: Varies – $2,000

Can Be Home Based?: Yes

Can Be Operated Part Time?: Yes

Skills Required:

If you are in business for yourself, you’ll need self-discipline, a strong but tactful way of working with clients, and excellent taste in fashion and home design. Department stores may want their personal shoppers to have a bachelor’s degree in fashion design or a related field. Personal shoppers need to be willing to work odd hours, depending upon their clients’ availability. Since you’ll be in a unique service position, your reputation will require you to literally to the extra mile to meet the needs of your clients.

How Much Can You Earn:

Your earnings will vary depending upon whether you’re working fulltime, you possess the necessary talent, and you have the energy and personality to make your way in a very competitive world. Personal shoppers can make anywhere from $25 to $300 per hour for consulting with a client, and $20 to $80 for time spent shopping. Estimates for yearly earnings range from $30,000 to $60,000. These estimates will vary greatly, depending upon geographic area. Still, the idea that one can be paid handsomely for shopping should make this an attractive start-up option for many.

Understanding Customers:

Your clients will probably be well-to-do individuals who depend on you to exercise their good taste by proxy. You will need to prove to them that you have that excellent taste. You’ll also need to exercise diplomacy and tact – if your client really wants the magenta sequins, you may have to politely but firmly insist upon the black shantung. And be prepared to be available when the client needs to consult with you. It’s all part of the job.

Marketing Strategy:

If you work for one store as an independent contractor, you’ll want to spread the word about your skills with a fashionable brochure and business cards. Don’t hesitate to ask those who appreciate your talents to recommend you to others. If you’re in business for yourself, send out letters or packets to businesses outlining your services and rates.

Ads in newsletters, neighborhood newspapers and company bulletin boards can also be effective. However, this is one position that depends heavily on word of your reputation bringing in new clients.


Whether you work from home or from a department store, you’ll want to maintain a professional office and consulting space that reflects your good taste. Keep your wardrobe and your grooming in sync with your sense of style. You’ll need the office basics of computer, fax, copier, printer and the latest in style magazines and periodicals. You may need to hire a part-time bookkeeper unless you’re also a good numbers person. And keep your personal organizer and cell phone close by, so that you can stay organized during hectic times.

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