A shopping concierge can simplify the season
One of the most highly anticipated shopping seasons is upon us. While it can be fun and exciting to purchase gifts, the process also can be time-consuming and frustrating. What if you could partner with someone who would take care of the more challenging gift-related tasks, from picking the perfect present for your favorite aunt to wrapping those awkwardly shaped toys? Well, you can.
Concierge shopping, also known as personal shopping, is a useful service to consider. You work one o- one with someone who can assist with your gift purchases from beginning to end. If you’re not sure what to expect, we have the 411 from two local experts.
It’s about time
Would you rather be out looking for gifts for your loved ones or spending quality time with them? Enlisting a professional to go to stores and make gift selections can be a huge time saver. “Your time is valuable,” says Amanda Farahany, co-founder of My Panda (Personal Assistant Next Door Anytime), an app that connects you with local individuals who can help with to-do lists. “Let go of the guilt and spend time on the things that are important to you. It could be work, your family or anything that brings you joy.”
Nicole Borsuk, a personal shopper who offers an array of services, including gift shopping, personal styling and closet edits, also notes that an expert can streamline the process. “The professional knows the best times to go to the mall to find items and often can even find items online quicker,” she explains. “A personal shopper can work more efficiently, saving you time and hassle.”
If you’re concerned that having someone else do the legwork will mean your gifts will feel impersonal, don’t be. A concierge shopper typically can work with you to understand the likes and dislikes of each person on the list and select thoughtful presents.
“I ask the client to tell me about who the person is. I get an idea of what the person would like, and I usually send out a few suggestions so my client can pick what they think is best,” Borsuk says. Of course, the more information you can provide about the gift recipient, the better.
Lacking ideas? A personal shopper can help there as well. “A personal shopper has a lot of tricks in their bag and many times can think outside the box,” Borsuk says. “We find hidden gems that you normally wouldn’t think of.” Concierge shoppers also maintain relationships with local store owners who can help locate hard-to-find items, let the shopper know when a must-have gift is in stock or point to new items that no one has seen before.
Dollars and sense
It may seem that hiring a shopping concierge would be pricey, but the service may be more affordable than you think. “The time has come for this kind of service. We’re giving the normal person access to what used to be available only to the superwealthy,” Farahany says. My Panda charges an hourly rate based on the level of service required ($25 for shopping and home delivery).
For Borsuk, who also charges hourly rates, the key is to be mindful of her clients’ time and stay within budget. Long-term clients enjoy the added bonus of having Borsuk know them well so she can move quickly with their requests.
Beyond the buy
Some personal shoppers’ services go beyond the store, wrapping gifts themselves or hiring a professional wrapper for an additional fee. Through My Panda, you can request to have gifts wrapped, addressed to individual recipients and shipped. The entire process can be turnkey, so you can enjoy the beauty of the season without the stress. Get started early to find a spot on your concierge shopper’s schedule, then sit back and let the professionals take it from there.
15 Minutes With columnist at Simply Buckhead. Freelance feature writer, children’s book author and President of Green Meadows Communications, LLC.