How to Become a Personal Shopper (Duties, Pay and Steps)

Like the idea of earning money to go shopping? This is how you do it!

Reviewed by Hayley Ramsey

Personal shoppers help customers choose and style outfits

Are you obsessed with fashion and often seek retail therapy? Do you love keeping up with the latest trends and helping other people style their clothes? If you’re nodding in agreement, then you have the passion to become a personal shopper.

To really identify if this career is for you, we will walk you through all the steps that it takes to become a personal shopper, as well as offer key information like salary and progression opportunities.

So, without further ado, here is all you need to know to become a well-established personal shopper.

What personal shoppers do

A personal shopper is someone who buys/shops for other people for a living. Some personal shoppers can also work as stylists in department stores, helping clients choose items or pre-selecting outfits and displaying them to customers on their arrival.

Depending on your expertise, this could range across a number of different areas:

  • Fashion: Most traditional personal shoppers can be found in retail stores purchasing clothing, footwear and accessories for their clients.
  • Beauty: Other personal shoppers can be found in beauty departments selecting skincare and makeup for their clients. In order to do so, personal shoppers will need plenty of knowledge to know what type of products are suitable for their clients’ skin types.
  • Home wear: If you have a passion for interior design, you could work as a home wear personal shopper, selecting stylish items to fit into your clients’ home or office space.
  • Gardening: Are you green fingered? You could purchase flowers and greenery for a handful of clients. If you follow this passion, why not help clients renovate their garden too?
  • Grocery shopping: While you don’t necessarily need much skill to pick up people’s grocery items, it’s a role that’s in high demand, since many working parents find little to no time to do their own shopping.

Although day-to-day activities can vary, general responsibilities and duties will typically include:

  • Consulting with clients and discussing their shopping needs before purchasing any products
  • Suggesting items or looks to fit the client’s brief; this could involve planning mood boards
  • Visiting malls and stores to buy the items that the client requested
  • Setting a budget with a client and sourcing the best quality products for the cheapest price
  • Maintaining an awareness of the latest trends
  • Keeping a good social media profile to attract potential clients
  • Understanding what a client is expecting and being able to execute it
  • Managing good relationships with customers to ensure return business
  • Liaising with suppliers to get goods at a cheaper price

What the job is like

Where do personal shoppers typically work? What hazards do they face? And is the day in a life of a personal shopper as glamorous as it seems? Here, we uncover all. 

Work environment

Personal shoppers work in varied workplace settings. Depending on whether they have an office space or not, they will conduct initial consultations either from their working space or at their clients’ homes. Following a consultation, they will then spend a lot of time in and out of busy stores purchasing their goods. Work can tend to be a great distance from their homes, and personal shoppers spend a lot of time on the road, traveling to and from different stores and locations.

 Most personal shoppers spend a lot of time on their feet, carrying heavy shopping bags and rushing from store to store. The job can occasionally be physically demanding and requires plenty of stamina.

Work hours

The daily schedule of a personal shopper can vary from day-to-day; with irregular hours, personal shoppers may need to work late evenings or on weekends to meet their client’s needs. Personal shoppers spend most of their time in and out of stores, rushing from one to the other to get the requested items at the best price — this may also involve some online research from home before heading out of the door.

Alternatively, if a personal shopper is working for one store, instead of running their own business, they will tend to have more structured working hours. That said, they can be found working plenty of overtime to cater to their high-end clients’ demands.

Job satisfaction

Working as a personal shopper can be an extremely rewarding career, and according to PayScale, the profession is rated 3.7 out of 5, with the respondents being highly satisfied with their work. Having the ability to maintain your own schedule and list of clients is an added bonus for many personal shoppers who may have personal responsibilities.

Job market

While a lot of personal shopping has taken a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, with plenty of people resorting to online shopping, there is still a lot of opportunity for growth in this field. According to the US Department of Labor, personal care and service workers (a category that includes personal shoppers) will experience growth of 7 to 10 percent between 2018 and 2028, a rate that is much faster than the average for all occupations.


Working as a personal shopper has the potential to earn good money, depending on the selection of clients that you have. With plenty of experience and a good reputation, you could end up working for celebrities and wealthy clients who are more inclined to pay more for your services — and tip well!

Below is an overview of potential earnings for personal shoppers by level of experience and geographic location.

Average wage

The overall mean wage for personal shoppers in the US is referenced below:

Mean annual wage

Mean hourly wage



Average wage by experience

Personal shoppers’ hourly earnings can vary greatly depending on the level of experience, as mentioned in the table below:


Average hourly wage

Entry level


Junior level


Mid level


Senior level


Top level


Average wage around the world

Personal shoppers can also make a decent salary across the globe. If you’re seeking to relocate to another country, we’ve rounded up the average salary for personal shoppers in the five largest English-speaking markets across the globe:


Mean hourly wage


£10.28 ($13.43)


AU$21.53 ($15.51)


C$14.25 ($11.10)

New Zealand

NZ$19.32 ($13.07)

South Africa

R100.00 ($6.60)

Steps to become a personal shopper

After checking out the job description and job outlook, if you’re still convinced that becoming a personal shopper is the right choice for you, then here is all you need to know to start your career.

Step 1: Determine if it’s the right job for you

A great way of determining if you’re a good fit for the role is listing the pros and cons, as well as the skills needed to execute the duties well. That said, you can also take a personality test, such as our own on CareerHunter, that will match your interests and personality traits to the best suited job.

To help you identify if you have what it takes. Here are the 10 most important skills and qualities needed to succeed in the role:

Step 2: Learn all the latest fashion trends

You’ll need to have a solid understanding of the fashion industry, including the latest trends and upcoming seasons, in order to offer information advice to your clients. So, before starting out as a personal shopper, you could take a course in fashion styling to understand which styles suit different shapes and sizes.

If you’re looking for hands-on experience, you could intern at a fashion magazine, work for a fashion photographer or work in retail where you will assist people with styling. Moreover, follow all the top designers to maintain a good knowledge of current trends.

Step 3: Learn about tailoring

While you typically won’t be expected to resize and custom-tailor garments, it’s a good idea to have a general understanding of the trade. It can help you determine what cuts and fits will suit each client. Besides having basic tailoring skills, it’s important to be well connected in the field. Get to know local tailors that you can trust who can turnaround orders quickly.

Step 4: Practice your photography skills

It’s important to take good images of previous projects to showcase your skills. So, take a basic photography course to help you achieve great results that show off your work. You don’t necessarily need to invest in fancy equipment, simply learn how to capture great angles on your phone.

Step 5: Build a portfolio

In this line of work, it’s essential to have an impressive portfolio. To show your professional skills, you will need to invest in a website that showcases past work, references your services and also has a functional contact page.

Besides a website, it’s also essential to have a strong online presence with professional social handles. Be sure to be active on your profiles by uploading regular styling photos. It’s also a good option to invest in marketing if you’re wanting to reach new clients.

Step 6: Practice on friends and family

While you’re starting out as a personal shopper, hone your skills by practicing on friends and family. In exchange for styling tips, ask if you can use their photos on your profiles. By doing so, you will be able to attract new clients. In addition, move out of your comfort zone and try styling different ages and genders to build your confidence. For example, if you’re a female, try styling your brother or dad, whom you wouldn’t normally purchase clothes for.

Step 7: Provide a VIP shopping experience

Besides styling and fashion tips, part of hiring a personal shopper is for a VIP shopping experience. Clients want to be able to walk into a store and have a room dedicated to their fittings, as well as a rail full of outfit, footwear and accessory suggestions that are tailor-made for them. So, no matter who your client is, be sure that you treat them as royalty and ensure they’ve had the best experience.

Step 8: Select a niche

Personal shoppers don’t always cater to the same age-range and style. They also don’t always work in fashion. So, when you’re starting out, select a niche that you want to work in. For example, you may prefer to deal with a particular age group, gender or industry. Personal shoppers don’t only exist for fashion retail purposes.

Step 9: Get qualified

While you don’t need a qualification to become a personal shopper, it would benefit you to obtain one. There are a handful of short courses that you can take, either at a fashion school or online. Here are some popular choices:

  • Fashion styling and design
  • Fashion design and accessories
  • Image consulting
  • Fashion communication
  • Costume design and wardrobe technician

Step 10: Consider adding online services

While personal shopping is a service that is normally carried out in person, it’s wise to add a digital service for busy individuals. You can conduct online consultations via Zoom or another video service provider, prepare presentations of your ideas and order the goods to their house. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, plenty of people have shifted their services to an online base, where they can reach a wider audience and also continue working through various restrictions.

Final thoughts

If you love meeting new people and making them feel confident, then becoming a personal shopper is a great career choice! Besides making people feel special, you’ll also need to have great organizational skills and good timekeeping. Knowing that you’ve helped someone else or made them feel better about themselves is a rewarding career. That said, you need to be determined to work hard, and, on occasion, long hours.

Does this sound like a path that you’d like to take? Let us know your thoughts on becoming a personal shopper by leaving a comment in the section below.


This is an updated version of an article originally published on 26 June 2018.