Most jobs in the world require a specialised set of skills – engineering, medicine, even something as ho-hum as writing. Personal shopping, on the other hand, is a rather mysterious job. What knowledge do you need to be a personal shopper? Is there a trade school one goes to in order to graduate with a personal shopping degree? Why would someone relegate the joy of shopping to somebody else?

Shaun (below) is a personal shopper with Robinsons The Heeren. I met him twice – once to chat with him about his job and the second to actually use his services. Each time, he dressed nonchalantly and yet, put together. “Must be a good dresser,” I wrote down in my notebook. It makes sense. After all, you wouldn’t trust a badly dressed personal shopper like how you won’t trust a fat fitness trainer. Shaun was warm, welcoming and entertaining, able to hold a conversation about almost anything under the sun. “Good social skills and knowledgeable,” I jotted down.

The litmus test was in the selection of products he got for me. I told him I was looking for items that would suit a bachelor pad. He took a good look at me, went off and came back 30 minutes later with a wide variety of great-looking home and living products. He passed the test.

Shaun, what’s your typical work day like?
My work day starts with coordinating my daily plans and coming up with a checklist of the things to be done for the day. This is followed by responding to clients’ queries who have requested for the engagement of our Personal Shopper Service through the Robinsons website. If there are appointments for the day, I’ll walk around the department store to pre-select items for clients based on their brief prior to meeting up with them at our Personal Shopper lounge.

What’s the strangest request you’ve gotten from a customer?
I had a request from a client, who is a man, to be dressed up as a woman for his company’s dinner event as he lost a bet to his colleagues. It was challenging, interesting and I have to say an unforgettable experience.

Tell me your thought process when selecting products for a client.
I would try to get a preliminary understanding of the client’s lifestyle and background information based on his/her responses from the questionnaire on our website. Thereafter, I would curate the items according to client’s needs, style, characters, habits/lifestyle and budget. If client is open to new ideas, I would also take the initiative to propose creative and bold styling to open up his perspective.

What is the most common misconception you get as a personal shopper?
Many people think that we are expensive to engage and only the rich and famous are entitled to our personalised services. In reality, Robinsons Personal Shopper Service is complimentary! Shoppers can come to us for fashion, home styling or gifting advice to be used as inspiration even if they have no intention to purchase anything.

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