An Interview With NY's Premier Personal Shopper
Oh hey there, happy one month birthday to Truffles and Trends! In honor of this special, special day, I bring you a special, special type of post - an interview, a first for this blog! Let's begin.
Shop with Val (shopwithval.com), founded by Valerie Halfon, is New York’s premier affordable personal shopping service. Oh, and little old me was granted the wonderful opportunity of interning for Valerie some time ago.
I wonder if Valerie knew how nervous I actually was on the first day that I met her. (Okay, it's really almost impossible that she didn't notice my nerves; I was so timid that my voice was barely audible when I spoke to her.) However, Valerie just has this way about her that immediately puts anyone she encounters at ease, me included (and trust me, that's very rare). She is just so friendly and warm and kind and of course, stylish!
I gained valuable knowledge about the fashion and styling industry through my internship with Val, and I will always be thankful for the opportunity.
Here's the interview I conducted with Valerie about her business:
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what it is you do? My name is Valerie Halfon, and I am the founder and CEO of Shop With Val, New York's premier affordable personal shopping service. I am here to help men and women, both local to the NY area and those visiting from around the world, with their wardrobe and styling needs.
2. Why/how did you become a personal shopper? I started Shop With Val in 2010. I saw a growing need from those within my social circle who were looking for styling assistance, but couldn't afford to hire a professional. After getting hired by a friend because I was "the next best thing," I was inspired to help others the same way. I decided to take my passion for fashion and helping others and put it to good use. I have always enjoyed shopping, creating looks, and snagging a good deal, in addition to working closely with people!
3. Can you describe what a day with a client might look like? A day with a client often consists of us visiting a few different stores that I pre-select based on their needs, style, and budget. Before I meet with clients, I like to learn as much as I can about them and their goals so that I can best assist them. After having them answer a series of questions, I feel confident in being able to customize a plan that is catered to them. I visit the stores before our appointment, so that I can pull accordingly. By the time the clients meet me, the bulk of the work is done. They can simply head straight to the fitting room to try on what I have selected for them. I even pair separates together for them so they understand how to create different looks using their new purchases. A personal shopping session can range anywhere from 2-6 hours in one day!
4. What sets your business apart from other personal shoppers in New York? Shop With Val is unique compared to other personal shoppers in New York because I truly cater to all types of clients. I am proud to say that with a growing portfolio of over 150 clients, I have had the pleasure of working with men and women in over a dozen countries, ranging from sizes 00P - 24 and ages 13-79. No matter what your age, size, or background, I've got you covered. In addition, my services won't break the bank. My services and rates are very straight forward, all listed clearly on my website. No hidden fees here! My goal is to show people that what was once considered a luxury service can now be attainable even on a budget. So treat yourself!
5. What's you favorite part of your job? My favorite part of my job is getting to work with so many different types of people. Every client brings new challenges and I learn and grow from each experience. I particularly enjoy working with people who are visiting New York City for the first time. It's so exciting to see see the city through their eyes. As a Brooklyn native, I know the city well, and thoroughly enjoy acting as tour guide when needed. It's a privilege to be a part of their visit, knowing that our time together helped make it an extra special and unforgettable one.
6. What's one style tip you would give us to always remember? One style tip to live by is whatever you wear, wear it with confidence. Confidence speaks volumes. Whether or not you're a risk taker in the style department, own your look. Remember, you wear the clothes. The clothes don't wear you.
7. Which three clothing items should every woman have in her closet? Three articles of clothing every woman should have in her closet are the oh so versatile LBD (little black dress), dark skinny jeans (they go from day to night, and can easily make you feel like a rockstar), and nude heels (they elongate the leg line and work with every color, every season).
8. In which stores do you tend to find the best buys? People often ask me what my favorite stores are. The truth is that I like to customize a plan catered to each of my clients, based on her needs. Therefore, I have go-tos depending on the client's wish list, style, and budget. However, I tend to do best overall in Ann Taylor, BCBG, Lord & Taylor and Bloomingdales.
9. What do you love most about living in New York? There's a lot of things I love about living in New York. Most of all I love the diversity that surrounds us. You can easily experience it in all regards - within people, food and fashion, just to name a few. Where else can you find Old Navy around the corner from Prada? Manhattan is a beautiful place!
Visit Valerie's website, shopwithval.com, for a detailed list of her services.
On a completely unrelated note, that's gotta be what he's thinking: