Posted on March 26 2020
On March 3rd we hosted a panel on The Future of Personal Styling. It was a full valuable takeaways, key insights on the styling and retail industry and all around good energy in the room. A special thanks to the panelists, Tania Sterl (Founder & CEO of Sterl on Style), Nalini Saxena (Founder & CEO of Elicit Consulting), and Samantha Dong (Founder & CEO of ALLY Shoes). Moderated by Darlene Campbell (Founder & CEO of Campbell & Kate) who led the conversation during the evening with some engaging and great questions for the panelists. Follow along below and click the video to catch the full evening.
Personal Styling Landscape Shift
The personal styling and retail landscape started to shift with the evolution of styling apps, and digital options for consumers. Tania said, 'clients and people started asking me what is your app or digital platform." They are simply everywhere, however the difference with a personal stylist is the 1 on 1 service that you receive. Tania stated, "we hold space for clients we listen, we talk about sensitive issues or difficult times that they might be going thru." A styling box may not be there for those ups and downs. Yes, it's easy and convenient but it won't replace the human touch. Of course personal stylists can still embrace technology and use it, service clients using online services and never feel like it's a threat, it can certainly be an advantage to grow a business.
Value Based Demand
Retail has been evolving since the 90's when fast fashion started. From there it went to accessibility, what once was aspirational became accessible to everyone thru rental websites, sharing and swapping and second hand. Nalini said, "the direction is now moving towards personalization and sustainability." Consumers are looking for value and that's where value based demand comes into play. The majority of consumers want to know where things are being produced and if the working conditions were fair and we might be more inclined to purchase from that company, but most people are so busy they don't have time to figure out if the brand aligns with their values. This is where a personal stylist can come in and deliver that information. If you know the criteria of what type of garment you want to wear – the stylist can give you all of that information and find the right garment.
Future of Retail
About 10-15 years ago Direct to Consumer retail came into the scene. Digital and native brands cut out the middle man and went straight to the consumer to offer a high quality product at an accessible price point. Now consumers are getting fatigued at the amount of digital and social advertisements that they receive from brands like this. But on the flip side, there is the ease of online shopping. Sam said, "the new channel of shopping is the personal stylist." "This channel is great for brands that are telling a story, or should come with a personal touch." At ALLY the demographic of women are busy professionals who tap into the network of personal stylists to help dress them for success.
It’s not so much the future of personal styling but the future of retail, it should be more about personalization, experience and touch. Tania said, "every sales person should be trained as if they are a stylist, catering to the client and listening." "It’s time for retail to speak to more personal stylists, we are up close and personal with fit and fabric and understand what women need."
As retailers, designers and personal stylists we all need to listen to the client. Sam stated, "if we didn’t listen to women, we wouldn’t have created what we have and with different width options on our heels." "We bring our new design ideas to our stylists and ambassadors for feedback of what the end consumer wants." An important reminder from ALLY's designer, "The world doesn’t need another sexy shoe that you can’t walk in- buy something that you actually need."
Always create a memorable experience for the customer, even if they are not one today, they could be in the future.
How is a Brand Ambassador partnership a win-win for everyone?
ALLY has a high touch product, a lot more sizes than the traditional retailer, 3 widths, size 4 to 12 that includes all half sizes sometimes even quarter size. It’s important to have someone tell that story to the end client, whether that's an ambassador, or a stylist. Sam said, "from our side it’s important to trust that people are communicating the right message. It should be an authentic conversation." "The stylists can connect us to clients that will appreciate ALLY." Tania stated, "the stylists are able to get a commission which allows for another revenue stream." The win-win is an effort to bring together businesses and small businesses and to serve value based brands to the consumers in an authentic way.
In closing personal styling is the future. Personal stylists have the pleasure of being the eyes and ears of the client. A stylist can show the client the best version of themselves and advocate and work with brands that they are passionate about and that they believe in turn their client will be too. Stylists receive support from brands like ALLY and stylists can feel proud to recommend value based brands to their clients.
If you are interested in learning more about ALLY Shoes' Ambassador Program, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org