November 28, 2016

Business Class Trips, Celebrity Clients, and Hermes Birkins: The Life of a Personal Shopper

store window display shopping

Aimee Hashim is living the life Rebecca Bloomwood would kill for. As a personal shopper and lifestyle consultant, she’s made a business out of shopping. All designer, mostly hard to find, only for your favorite celebrities and tastemakers.

I managed to sit and share some tea with her, perhaps a rarity as she had a flight the next day. I also noticed that she has two phones in tow. She hardly sleeps, with people asking about orders and new releases until three in the morning. The high life doesn’t come cheap, remember?

How did you get your start?
I was a personal shopper at Rustan’s at first. I then [went to] SM to help develop designs shoes and bags. I got rigorous training classes. I didn’t want to call myself a shopper, however. It’s something that I have been educated about and have developed skills for.

I eventually realized that having an office job is not for me. I then resigned and went to Dubai. I have family there and I started to sell online. I then thought why limit myself to bags? Why not expand into selling clothes and shoes?

What makes you different from the others in your profession?
I carried only European brands, I wanted the premium. American brands often go on sale. I wanted my edge to be how I would bring something that’s not easily available.

How did you get your celebrity clients?
In 2014, I would go back and forth to Dubai. Instagram was really hot at that time and I took advantage of it. I then started posting there and gaining more orders.

Gretchen Fullido was a good friend, she was my first client. I was then able to get Ces Drilon, then Christine and Julius Babao. Soon, Jasmine Curtis-Smith. She would then call me “mama.” I then realized my clients not only stayed as clients but also became my friends.

How do you develop your relationship with them?
The biggest break [I got] was when I met Bambbi Fuentes. She then introduced me to Marian Rivera. I wanted to meet not for anything because  I was a fan. She then wanted a Manolo Blahnik clutch, I found it [immediately] and she was one of the first to have it here. Eventually, pag nagpapahanap siya, naghahanap ko agad. So she and I would constantly text each other.

[I am also friends with] Jackie Forster. She lives abroad so when I travel, we make it a point to see each other and then I would bring her orders.

[On the other hand], Pauleen Luna wanted the Christian Louboutin lipsticks, I was the first one to get it and she wanted that. I didn’t even realize she was following me. Angelica Panganiban loves Givenchy and Hermes. She loves comfort.

What are the brands celebrities often look for?
It’s still Hermes. It’s still all about that status symbol of how you spend so much on a bag. My other clients often buy not just one style but every color available.

What’s the best trait to have in this business?
Honesty. With Marian and her purchases, for example, I explain to her the costs and how hard it is to acquire what she likes. They appreciate it.

What’s the best way to get the attention of sales attendants?
In the UAE, it’s the way you carry yourself. The way you walk and the way you speak. I also make friends with Filipino sales assistants. I want to help, of course, I want to help my fellow Filipinos. I also ask them what they want to push. It’s a give and take.

In Hermes, the story is different. They really look at you and your spending power. You have to build your relationship with your SA. When you talk to them and they find that you really know what you are talking about, they will pay attention to you.

How do you get to find a few items that are hard to find or not easily available?
I also make connections with curators in Dubai and in different countries.

How often do you go on buying trips abroad?
Sometimes, I would be in Manila for just one day. A few days to a week, it depends on how much I need to buy.

What’s one brand more people should pay attention to?
Roger Vivier.

What’s a good entry-level item to start a designer collection?
A wallet. Sometimes when you are working and you go out, the first thing that you bring is your wallet and then your phone. It then leaves an impression but it’s not that expensive. For a bag: Hermes, Chanel, Goyard [which is good because] it’s not seen everywhere. After that, Balenciaga and then Givenchy and Gucci.

What shoes do your clients often buy?
YSL Tributes. People still look for it. It’s very comfortable. There was a time when everyone got Valentino Rockstuds.

You have a blog launch coming soon?
I want to launch on Dec. 13, it’s called Love Luxe Bags. It’s all about my life and what I have learned. It’s also about my clients.

What’s one thing people want but doesn’t suit them?
Whatever is in. [I tell my clients to] stay away from that. You have to stand out. If something like the Valentino Rockstud is what they really want, I tell them to go for a lower heel.

Do you still own anything that’s not designer?
I have an item from almost every other brand my clients look for. (Laughs) I am at this point that if it’s not designer, I don’t know what it is. It’s part of my job. I am a shoe addict so every other designer shoe that people  like, I have. It helps because I know the sizing and that’s an advantage when clients ask you. How can you sell something you know nothing about or have not tried yourself?

Since you live a life in luxury, what do you really splurge on?
Skincare. Everything I use for my face is La Mer, even my lip balm. I deserve it, I wake up really early. (Laughs)


Photo courtesy of Pixabay

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Aimee Hashim, Celebrity Shopper, fashion, Personal Shopping, Preen,

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