Where to shop for wardrobe. Part 2 – Know the Return Policy

24 Aug

The element of returns is the most shocking to those who are learning about styling.  As I mentioned in previous posts, your job as a stylist is to offer the best options to the client you can for the project.  Options means that you’re going to have many, many items that won’t be used and have to be returned.  There is no correct ratio of what is bought to what is returned, but I would would say typically, 90% of what was purchased goes back to the stores (that may be generous), which is an incredible amount of stuff.  If one of those receipts comes from a store that only offers store credit or exchanges, your budget might be blown and you as the stylist would have to eat those costs.  Clearly you don’t want this.  That’s why it is very, very important to know your return policy.  If you’re shopping someplace new, make sure you know the return policy before walking out the door.

I think it is important to be sensitive to who you’re buying and returning from.  Generally, I’ll try to stick to large stores where their numbers won’t be as effected by my whopping return.  I never, ever shop at small boutiques for jobs unless I know a majority of the items can be purchased or rented and it would be worth that small business owner’s time.    I don’t have a problem returning to mass retailers because at the end of the month I’m still buying a lot more items than the typical consumer.  I also never return damaged items to stores because you NEED these big retailers to complete your job successfully and would never want to be blacklisted.  In Chicago, we have limited options in comparison to New York and LA, which means you must stay on good terms with all of your vendors.

Now you have two elements to consider when shopping, the demographic and return policy.  Lastly, I will talk about store’s identity.

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