This App Will Find You That Sold-Out Mansur Gavriel Bucket Bag
Before there was Uber, there were personal shoppers.
Once reserved only for those deeply in-the-know, personal shopping (or being on a nickname basis with your Dior associate) is now the way to go for busy women everywhere.
And PS Dept is making it even better (as if that was even possible!).
The app's founder and CEO Michelle Goad, along with her team of savvy PS Dept associates, can--and will--track down pretty much anything you could ask for, from the perfect work handbag that holds your Airbook to Chanel's latest It flat and that one dress that Taylor Swift wore to that personal appearance she did for that organization that happened last month.
Doesn't matter if it's sold out at the boutique down the street. And you don't even have to pause your Netflix.
Because everyone should have a personal shopper. During her time as a merchandiser at Marc Jacobs, Michelle paid attention to the success of store associates who had personal (and texting) relationships with their clients.
And she's modernizing that seamless experience within her PS Dept platform and working with top shoppers and associates that know how to get a "yes" when everyone else is getting a "No."
There isn't a clutch, sandal or bauble Michelle and her team cannot find. It's exciting just hearing the impressive hurdles they clear to deliver style satisfaction, and a little magic, to their trend-conscious clients.
And there's not a part of this Q&A you'll want to miss. Below, Michelle shares with me some of her best stories and explains how it all goes down. (Plus, there are some juicy fashion insights.)
When you first had the idea and started sharing it with peers and colleagues, what was everyone's reaction?
I got a lot of thank you's and "this is game changing." Turns out a lot of people hate going into stores and dealing with the hassle but want to be looped in with what's cool in-store, especially those working or with kids.
At what point in the development of this business did you know you were really on to something?
I'd say once we launched our beta and saw real users that we didn't know personally from all over the world finding the app, texting with shoppers and shopping (a lot). Once the momentum started to build, it was incredible watching this fashion-loving community use our service exactly how we imagined -- where they knew what they wanted, but didn't know where to get it...and we did!
You and your team make the impossible happen when it comes to finding the right fashion and goods. How?
Yes! This is our secret sauce. We spent the past year building out the largest luxury network of retailers and brands in the world to access for answers. Think of it as the largest black book of fashion contacts in the world! When a customer asks for a particular item, let's say Dior, we've done the hard work on-boarding these sales associates at these stores with Dior from the specialty stores, department stores, their own boutiques, etc. Using our proprietary tech platform, we can quickly find out if it's possible to get or not with certainty for our clients.
What's been the hardest item to track down for a client so far?
This happens every day and every day there's one just as challenging as the next! Just this past week, our client was looking for specific fuchsia sandals to wear at Art Basel from Marco de Vicenzo (a favorite of Beyonce). We ended up tracking the sandals down in a boutique in Qatar! We really are the most thorough when it comes to the hunt.
What is THE must-have item for holiday that everyone's clamoring for -- and how can I get it via PS Dept?
Oh! Such a great question. Top requests right now are for Chloe's mini Faye bag in motty grey, Dior Pre-Spring pointed toe booties, and Self Portrait dresses. Just submit a request and your shopper will get to work and text with updates as we search.
Have you completed all of your holiday shopping?
Ironically, I am always horribly last minute when it comes to holiday shopping (the adage, "the cobbler's child has no shoes"). I always start with the kiddos in my life, because those are the most fun to shop for, for me. I found these amazing mini Schoenhut pianos from ABC Home that I'm getting for my nieces, a bouquet of emoji balloons for my best friend from Balloon Salon. For my team, I found Chanel selfie sticks, and for my partner, I'm getting a fancy leather Prada backpack to replace a briefcase that has seen better days.
PS Dept also helps style customers. How do you get to know your users' tastes?
We go with what we know is the best in terms of fashion. Our job is to edit down the thousands of products out there to present the top 10 things within their budget and style and they ultimately are the ones who pick. I'd say one of the most surprising things I've found over the years is that when things are hot in fashion, everyone regardless of age/style, wants them and it's our job to stay in the know and share this with our clients to really nail their request.
Let's say I need some new duds for a New Year's Eve dinner party where I wanted to look impressive (in case of any networking opportunities), but not overdressed. What would the app recommend?
Our go-to for party dresses right now is definitely Self Portrait. It's a fun, feminine look for a party and at a reasonable price (most of the dresses are under $600). There's a range of looks, too, which is what I love about the collection. Outside of this, you can never go wrong with Dolce or Stella if you're looking for something more luxe and Nicholas or Cushnie for more contemporary looks.
What exclusive collaborations would we find via the app right now?
We are probably one of the only places that can find you a Mansur Gavriel bucket bag on-demand.
Looking ahead, what are you most excited about for Spring 16?
For Spring 16, we are super excited to expand out of our iPhone app and launch new points of contact for our customers so that we really are reachable 24/7. We will also be launching a proper kids section and expanding our app to more International markets. In terms of fashion, we all swooned over Sea NY, Zimmermann, and Dior.