Here's What A Personal Shopper Does All Day

Sarah Schmalbruch / Business InsiderGoodman, pictured here, has been in the retail business for close to 40 years.

Marian Goodman wakes up at 4 a.m. every day. She’s at the office a little after 6.

With these hours, you might expect that Goodman is an investment banker or a teacher — but she’s a personal shopper.

Goodman, who has worked at Bloomingdale’s in New York City for 38 years, started off in the company’s buying office, switching to personal shopping 15 years ago.

She is now the vice president of personal shopping.

“My passion has always been people, product, and exceptional service,” she explains. “When we were buying limited editions and unique pieces, I would always buy it with, ‘Who could I sell it to?'”

No two days are ever the same, she explains. “I always say I can probably plan half of my day, and then half of my day is what I call unexpected.”

Goodman says many of her clients don’t have the time to shop, which is why they turn to a personal shopper. “The one thing that we give our clients in this service is really the gift of time.”

Here’s what her schedule looked like on the day we talked to her.

Early morning: “I had two very early morning meetings this morning,” Goodman says. “One strategic for 2015, and one for some updates on technology.”

Mid morning: “I then met with several business partners. I have a big group coming in tomorrow, about 100 people. I’m doing a holiday gift and wardrobing presentation to them,” she explains. “I have strategic business partners in the store, so I met with them in the morning to go over the type of product that was appropriate for this group, but also what we were doing special for this group.”

Early afternoon: “Someone in the store came to me and said ‘I have a fashion emergency! I have a very special client and she needs a dress to wear for Monday night. Here’s her requirements.’ So we literally just ran through the selling floor with some ideas for what she could wear,” Goodman recounts. “We sent her photographs of them and then I’m going to circle back to say, ‘Which ones did you like?’ And then we’ll have them delivered over to her home.”

Sarah Schmalbruch / Business InsiderOne of the fitting rooms in Bloomingdale’s ‘At Your Service’ department, where personal shoppers work with their clients.

Mid afternoon: On the day we spoke to her, Goodman spent the afternoon buying for clients or in appointments with clients. “The average personal shopping appointment takes about two hours, some can be more and some can be less. Wardrobing, an outfit for a special occasion, and gift-giving are the categories that we most service here,” Goodman explains. “We pride ourselves on the loyalty of our clients and we will pull out last year’s holiday list to make sure that everyone is covered. It really is a check and balance for us to make sure that we never forget anyone. We are on, in many cases, second and third generations of families.”

End of day: Goodman usually leaves the office around 6 p.m. However, she says she doesn’t base her day on how long she’s worked, but instead on what’s achieved. “I leave the office when I am done for the day,” Goodman explains. “It is never about the hours, but really about getting the job done. That being said, work-life balance is very important. The last thing I do before I leave is kind of get myself organised: These are my things that I have to accomplish tomorrow, but then I always have to expect the unexpected.”

After work: Even after she leaves the office, Goodman continues to check her email for any urgent requests from clients. She recalls one night when she received a request from a client for 15 last-minute gifts. Goodman then spent the next morning online shopping with that client over the phone.

“Sometimes the hours can be tough,” Goodman says. “It’s sometimes that unknown, that you don’t know what’s going to happen. Sometimes you plan everything, and then all of a sudden everything changes.”

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