I attended an event last week, primarily because I was speaking at it, but also because there were some workshops dealing with style and body-shape, which were fascinating. I wasn’t necessarily “fascinated” because I wanted to learn anything myself – but I wanted to see how the ladies attending reacted to the information given. The group was a mix of ages, body-shapes and budgets. After the workshops there was a question and answer session and it was then that something really hit me…
The room was filled with attractive women, all who had the potential to look great. However, you could tell that the majority were so lacking in confidence in their style and shopping ability that they were practically paralyzed by the fear of buying an item that wasn’t “right for them”.
One woman shouted out that she couldn’t ever find a handbag – and that she found it difficult to decide what suited her? To be honest, I thought it was a God given gift that all women were programmed to buy shoes and bags with the greatest of ease…. I’m joking… I know shopping doesn’t come naturally to everyone but this woman was pretty stressed out about it (but no fear, after 15 minutes with me she’d fallen in love with one and went home happy… my love for handbags is obviously quite contagious as she’d not bought one in years!).
When I try to work out why some people love shopping and others struggle, I think it’s down to one thing… If you think of shopping as a chore, then it will be. On the other hand, if you think of it as fun, it’ll be a more enjoyable experience. Another reason, people often think about things too much – is it the right colour/style/price… Will they find something else better?? They don’t simply think, “Do I love it? Yes? Ok then I’ll buy it”. Also, sometimes they want it to do too many things… Can I wear it with jeans? Suits? Dresses? Expecting too much from an item will mean it will ultimately not meet all criteria, so there’s a reason not to buy it.
I understand budget is more of a concern for some at the moment, but I’d rather buy something I loved – than something that was “oh so practical” (if I loved it and it happened to be practical then AMAZING!). Probably this is because generally I have a very positive experience when shopping – plus it’s my job to make a shopping trip simple. If my client tells me they need X,Y and Z, I’m like, “No problem.” That’s my job. Just tell me how much you want to spend and what colour you want – I’ll do the rest…
It’s only when I’m with certain people that sometimes I do think – “Oh Lord, this isn’t going to be my first unsuccessful shopping trip is it??” – when they’re talking about how difficult they find shopping and how they can never find anything… But it never is. Once we get going and they realize it’s not that bad and we have a bit of fun – suddenly it stops being so stressful and such a worry. And you can see the relief in their faces. They say “Have you ever had anyone who hasn’t spent anything?” “No” is my reply. As usually the issue is they spend too much! If I’m enthusiastic, my customer gets swept along too…. Shopping doesn’t then become a stressful chore anymore, but a fun experience. When making a decision about buying a handbag for example, I ask them do they have “handbag envy” when I try it on… And also if it was the only one in the shop and someone else wanted it – how would they feel?? That usually does it!
I know when I tell my customers that fashion is meant to be fun they only begin to believe me when they’ve realised it for themselves once we’ve broken the back of their shopping list. Like lots of things you’ve got to see it to believe it… but once you’ve been bitten with the shopping bug, it’s quite dangerous…. there’s no going back – you have been warned!
P.S. Some Bicester Village news… they have just opened a pop-up store dedicated to British designers such as Hannah Marshall, PPQ and Erdem. I was in there the other day and they had some amazing WOW pieces! The “British Designers Collective” runs until May 7th – so get down there quick – it’s a definite must visit destination for any fashionista! For more info visit www.bicestervillage.com.