My job requires a lot of leg work. I am rarely in the house. No. I am barely in the Philippines. At times I only get to be in MNL for a day. Literally.
I am a very hardworking person but I also know how to enjoy life.
Come, take a look inside my life as a shopper.
How does a typical trip abroad go?
Traveling is essential for me. If I’m not meeting my clients, chances are I am in the sky or researching for something while at the lounge.
My job requires a LOT of walking. Seriously. I walk from one end to another. I hate wasting time. I go to all the boutiques, stores, I meet other society people from abroad who also helps me in terms of connection.
I always go for comfort. I don’t really need too much especially when it comes to profit. As long as the orders covers the trip, I’m fine. My miles can always save the day.
I go to the shops and buy what my client needs, the clothes if a certain color is not available or comes in a different pattern, I immediately tell my client so she can decide if she would like the alternative or would rather wait till I get to check other shops and brands.
From outside the shop, I take a once-over and would know even on peripheral view if there is something that might interest any of my clients.
Technically, my job requires me to know my clients really well. I should be able to determine which ones would suit them.
Shoes are my favorite. I am obsessed with shoes. Which actually comes in handy in what I do because I can always tell them how sizing goes based on experience.
My clients basically knows what they want I just make sure to update them from time to time.
After a day’s worth of shopping, I make sure to treat myself. I particularly love eating seafood. I cap off the night with some wine to get a good night’s sleep.
Usually I would stay up late to talk to my staff from different countries. There are also some brands that I have direct contact with the upper management and communicate with them via mail. Since their time is totally different from ours, I oftentimes wait till our schedules meet so we can talk and email simultaneously.
As I said, I work too much. The only thing I never compromise in my travels, is comfort from my place of stay to the restaurants I dine in.
I usually take the room with a pool view as I find it really relaxing. Although I haven’t been allowed to swim after my LASIK treatment yet, I would usually stay by the poolside and read while waiting for the shops to open.
Honestly, I barely have time for myself whenever I work so I make sure to at least make the duration of my stay as relaxing as possible.
Basically this is how my typical day abroad goes like. I will share more as we go along. For now here’s a quick peek.
Let’s get back to basics.
Back in the day, when luxury trading wasn’t as big as it is today, I remember there were only a few major players in the industry. I was 19, armed with determination and eager to learn, I slowly started personal shopping services freelance. I would stay awake a little past midnight, no— till my eyes hurt from reading.
I read and read and read. I searched, I read, and I searched a little more.
I have this mentally where I believe that no matter how good you are, you always need to constantly learn. It was quite a struggle starting over without a major company backing you up. Then again, my passion and desire to prove everyone that my vision can be executed and can take me places, I persevered.
I came across a lot of reputable sellers, so to speak ,during that time. I started offering what I have, thru friends. There were countless of times when I’d literally go home carrying my stuff in a paper bag because one friend saw my bag and would tell me she’ll buy it. I, in turn would laugh and yet give in by the end. It became a cycle. Whatever I wear, I get to sell. Little by little I have built a small name on my own thru referrals. I could’t be any happier. I opened a selling account on Facebook and started sourcing out designer goods. fast forward to a few years later, the elders-whom I still have contact with would randomly call me and ask me about a thing or two about the background of Designer this-designer that. I became a go to person in asking whether one item would have a market in Manila or not. I became a channel to those who has access to more limited goods.
When I earned enough I asked my aunt to help me go to DXB so I can start sourcing a wider variety of goods. I was able to offer more choices and the people loved it. I met a lot and have received a lot of invitations to check their boutiques seeing my shopping records in their group systems. I have built my small network.
Today sellers-shoppers are everywhere. I am happy really, knowing that the career I have taken seriously when no one else believes it was a career, is being recognized. The market is big, the goods? There are endless of choices. I tried to stay away from associating myself to others not because I am snob, but because I believe that’s the right way to do business. Simply put-my business ethics tells me that. I also veered away from those who are true to my face and are intriguing me the moment I step out of the room.
Going on, I have seen sellers come and go in a duration of almost 9 years. Some, have remained and they are still the ones I look up to. What sets us apart is that I did not concentrate on selling bags alone. I shopped the whole wardrobe. I shopped clothes, memorabilia, small goods, shoes, accessories. Name it. As long as it’s something I can have access to, I shop for it.
I was able to enter the scene and started making noise when celebrities started to notice.
I was excited, I was happy and yet I remained to give my best. You ask for something, I wouldn’t rest until I have an answer or a lead at the very least.
In all those years, short courses and trainings here and there, never did I refer to myself as an expert. I would rather be called knowledgeable. Like a sponge, I take each day as a learning experience.
The competition in the industry became steep. What with a lot of people offering lower prices, flexible terms and the likes. What I fail to comprehend though is the fact that sometimes, people would immediately jump into conclusions based on what they see. Would start spreading rumors according to their “expertise’.
And so I asked myself- how can you legitimately call yourself an expert?
I know a few- 3 at the most that are- at least in my opinion and based on the others too. Yet, I go to the stores talk to the high ups only to be told that unless you are one of them, you are not to be called a certified expert.
In a few month’s time I’ll be turning 9 years in the industry. A year shy to call call LoveLuxeBags a decade’s old. I can’t even believe that.
In all these years, I never referred to myself as a bag expert. Until the time the brand recognizes my knowledge themselves, I will not go out prying on someone else’s achievements.
As of late, I have been the center of a group of people’s negative tirades. I kept silent. Will remain to be yet, I have to make a stand. I have passed everything to my legal counsel and let her handle them now on. One can only take so much. If it is your name at stake and you are on the right side. Fight for it, BUT in a DECENT and LEGAL way.
I have to give it to mama, for raising me well. Well enough never to play dirty.
I don’t do low blows. I don’t go tell the world hey this is what I saw I am good at this I am legit at this.
And so my advice to my fellow entrepreneurs is simple, as long as you know you are doing the right thing, you do not owe anyone an explanation. Moreso, if the people concerned are not even affected and are the ones telling you to just don’t fuss about it, you carry on.
“when they go low, we go high”.
It was in 2014 when I started catering to celebrities. From a couple of friends in the industry I was able to tap the market because of the consistent feedback of providing a good service. I was little by little able to capture the news department. My good friend Gretchen Fullido introduced me to Ms. Ces Drilon, (who later on became a dear friend)and some more personalities.
It was at the same time when I got to meet my baby girl Jasmine Curtis-Smith who fondly calls me momma Aims became a client and a very sweet friend.
A little later, I met Tita Bambbi Fuentes whom I immediately fell in love with for being sweet and caring. Tita gave me my biggest chance when she introduced me to Marian Rivera. She also made me meet Alden- whom I have nothing but good words to say. He would totally go out of his way whenever he meets me to greet and say hello.
I could not believe my eyes when I first saw Marian, what with her beauty and charm I couldn’t help but stare. For a good 5 seconds there my mind went blank– I was star struck.
Then came my biggest break–Marian and I started as chat mates, she was a total doll. In no time we hit it off. No pressure no coercion. Just one day we were already telling each other our stories, updating one another from time to time. With Yan, I gained a true friend. She trusted me and respected my work. She taps my back whenever I did great, and would also give me advices on how to improve. I loved her dearly, like the sister I never got to have.
She soon introduced me on social media as her personal shopper. From there my clientele increased vastly. The celebrity clients grew so fast too.
Dong also considered me as go to person if he needs something especially when it comes to gifting Yan.
I met my baby sister Julia Montes next, and just like that we hit it off at the first meeting. I loved her and so does she. She treats me like an elder
sister and would share how her day went or if she needs to hang and all. Of course with our shopping activities on the side. Julia paved the way for me to meet my Ate Carmina Villaroel. We have yet to meet in person but we talk and she treats me like her baby sister.
On the other hand It was via Instagram where I got to meet my marsie Angelica Panganiban. We were kindred spirits. There was never a dull moment when we talk. She was not only a client she became a very very close friend of mine. We would talk for hours on the phone and not even notice it. I love this girl too much!
Mariel Padilla on the other hand was introduced by one of Connor’s God Mother Melissa Avelino. We had the same circle of friends and in no time developed a bond too. I was even one of the firsts to know about her baby! yay! She asked me to shop pretty pretty shoes for her.
I got to know my mama Dimples Romana thru a non showbiz friend who endorsed me to her. She asked me to source something. She is such a lovely and down to earth person. With or without shopping we would constantly communicate.
Pauleen Luna and I had our first meeting because of the Louboutin lipstick. Man, I’m telling you lipstick makes her giddy!! It’s her happy pill! Just like the rest, we became friends pretty soon.
Sam YG and I started out with shoes, he introduced me to the rest of the gang. TonyToni and SlickRick and even to Jojo the super funny love survivor. I became one of the boys. They’d tease me to death!! Paps also introduced me to my ate Alts bestie Tin Gamboa or Suzy 899 who is a certified and self confessed label lover. She never does online shopping till we met and became friends. We’re beshies!!!
I was also able to meet my little sister Miles Ocampo. Who fondly calls me ate. She told me that she is so fond of my site. We met and became constant text mates then on. Just like the rest, whenever she needs help in shopping, ate came to the rescue.
I was able to tap the creative genius– Francis Libiran.
Michael Leyva and I met a couple of times as well and have been in constant communication since.
Jackie Forster and I have developed a bond during my travels. Whenever I went to SG, where they used to stay. We never missed a chance to have a quick chat or fast merienda with baby Caleigh. Mama Jack is a person very close to my heart.
The list goes on which I will make a feature in the future articles.
Indeed, my sky is full of stars shining brightly. I not only became their shopper, I’ve developed a bond with all of them and turned my clients to good friends. I don’t shop just for the money, I love the satisfaction of bringing happiness to them by becoming a channel to get what they want without having to go through the process themselves given their busy schedules. 🙂
‘I write; I’m satisfied.’
This phrase never escaped my thoughts ever since I read this somewhere.
It’s been years since I’ve taken my writing seriously. Why? Because writing not only requires knowledge. It has moods. It takes time. You don’t wake up, open the computer and alas, I can write an article. (Well at least for me)
There are days when I have all this ideas in my head and yet it lacks emotion; depth. I write with my whole being. Whatever I publish is a part of me that I believe is worthy to share to all of you. Needless to say, it is a part of who I am.
So you ask me, ‘finally! what made you decide?”
In all honesty, I think my decision was based on the numerous requests I receive day in and out.
In the past, I would hear that too but this time, I see people really appreciating the content of my stories.
It makes me happy that although the only platform I get to use to express my thoughts is by social media, people read. Then they speak; then we communicate.
That said, the concept of this mini journal is not only to share the life of a personal shopper. Also, I’d like to tackle the realities of life. The knowledge we gain from traveling. The happiness a sumptuous meal brings. Celebrating life with people who matters. Friendship. Life, and everything in between. Of course I’LL BE HEAVY ON THE SHOPPING- and features (should they allow) of my clients from different fields.
I am too excited to start that I’ve already created topics in my head for my future entries. he he
I’m more than willing to share what one goes through to meet the expectations, deadlines, and to deliver yet making it look effortless. The perks of the job, the people I meet and the friendships I’ve built.
So come and take this journey with me.
It’s been a long time coming. My blog, 8 yrs in the making is finally up and running. A quick run through before we push thru.
Before anything, let me take you back to where it all began.
It was back in 2008 I was barely 19. Fresh grad who took the board exams secretly (my family always makes it plus ny other uncle top his boards) because of the amount of pressure on my shoulders. Being the spontaneous being that I am, I took the boards without reviews. 2 days quicky went by and I was trying to find ways to kill the boredom. I tried applying for jobs. Mind you, this one I didn’t even apply for. I was just looking for a short term work since I promised myself that I will have to review and top the boards if I don’t make it during the June licensure. That fateful day that changed my life forever came. The moment I stepped in. The HR manager told me : ” I am endorsing you to a different department.” I remember her telling me that my communication skills is something that struck her. So. Alongside wardrobe stylists, management grads, models and the likes, I was hired. Same day. Must be fate. Must be destiny. Must be telling me to follow my heart.
So that lucky day of June 2008 I was hired as a lifestyle consultant for VIP / Platinum clients of Rustan’s. Our group have undergone various trainings with renowned Filipino designers, stylists and media people. We even did some fashion shows having PMAP models grace our events. Simply put my title as a personal shopper wasn’t just coined by me for the sake of it. I worked for it .
It all took of from there, and the rest? They say is history.