Online shopping is the preferred method for most. As a culture we've come to expect convenience, quality, and instant gratification. However, there is something lost with e-commerce. You sacrifice the interaction with shop owners and sales associates, and the advice and intimate knowledge they have on the products they sell. There's also the constant issue of fit challenges when ordering online. With stores all over the country shut down, brands have had to quickly adapt and engage with their customers in new ways. We've seen virtual wedding dress fittings, online sample sales, and now virtual styling sessions are beginning to emerge.
I recently tried my first one with Madewell and found it struck the perfect balance between online shopping and the in-store experience. Not to mention the pleasure of having light hearted conversation with someone new, an experience social distancing has made challenging. Even as some states begin plans to reopen stores, shoppers may be hesitant to enter anytime soon. A simple Zoom chat with a stylist provided personalized attention from the comfort of my own home. So, what was it all like?
How Do You Make an Appointment?
It was easy! I set up a free appointment with an online Madewell stylist using this link. Then, I got an email confirming my appointment along with a questionnaire about what I was looking for and a brief description of my overall style. It took less than five minutes to answer. I also shared my Instagram handle so she could see a bit more of how I dress.
What Does the Styling Session Entail?
I (virtually) met with my stylist for a one-on-one consultation. The call lasted about 30 minutes. My stylist, Kerri Curtis who is based in Austin Texas works in one of Madewell's currently closed stores but has been helping with virtual appointments during this time. She came prepared with mood boards of new shoppable product, broken down by category. She also took cue's from social posts adding in a tie dye sweatshirt because I had posted a home-made one the day before.
Pictured above: One of the mood boards my stylist made for me ahead of our session
I took the call next to my closet so that I could reference pieces and accessories that I already own. It was such a pleasant experience to connect with someone new and talk about a light and fun topic like clothing! We went though each item and I was able to ask questions about fabric, fit, comfort, even sheerness of a pair of linen pants. It takes the guess-work out of online purchasing when the person recommending the items knows the product so well. She had a rack of new arrivals at her house so she was able to actually show me items on the video chat.
Do You Have to Buy Something?
I got a follow up email with links to all the pieces that I liked. The service is free and there is no pressure to purchase — although I did get two things. Overall, I found the process easy, and very personalized. It's much different then chatting on messenger. This is much closer to the experience of working with a sales associate in-store. I can definitely see this becoming the new normal even after we leave our homes!