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How I Got Here: Luxury stylist and personal shopper Isabel Bazzani on creating meaningful client relationships

IMAGE VIA @ISABELBAZZANI/INSTAGRAM

WORDS BY IZZY WIGHT

“I absolutely love working with my clients; I love hunting down those hard-to-find pieces and creating special moments for them.”

Have you ever stalked someone on LinkedIn and wondered how on earth they managed to land that wildly impressive job? While it might look like smooth sailing, there’s no doubt been a heck of a lot of hard work involved in getting there.

So what lessons have been learnt and what skills have proved invaluable in getting them from daydreaming about success to actually being at the top of their industry?


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Welcome to How I Got Here, where we talk to people who are killing it in their respective fields about how they landed their awe-inspiring jobs, exploring the peaks and pits, the failures and the wins, and most importantly the knowledge, advice and practical tips they’ve gleaned along the way.

This week we’re delving into the career journey of Isabel Bazzani, personal shopper and Global Private Client Project Manager and Stylist at 24S. Launching under the multinational company LVMH, 24S is the new Paris-based platform connecting specialty shoppers with the finest in luxury fashion. Beginning her journey at RMIT’s Brunswick campus, Isabel had always dreamt of gaining international experience.

While shadowing her mentors and undertaking ‘as many internships as possible‘, Isabel trawled LinkedIn for future industry connections. Despite a low response rate, she continued to reach out – leading to a coffee, an interview and a job in Net-A-Porter’s London offices. This is where her penchant for luxury designers really blossomed, allowing her to turn a wealth of fashion knowledge into a personal shopping career. Here’s what she’s learnt along the way.

What do you do and what’s your official job title?

 

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I’m a stylist and personal shopper based in Paris, specialising in luxury sourcing for international private clients. I work for LVMH’s 24S and previously with Net-A-Porter in London. I source anything from runway looks and fine jewellery to watches, exotic furs, luxury homewares and much more. I also work to create special moments and experiences for clients when they visit Paris.

Take us back to when you were first starting out. Did you study to get into your chosen field, or did you start out with an internship/entry-level role and climb the ladder? Tell us the story.

I studied fashion business in Melbourne, covering many aspects of the industry. This ultimately helped me refine exactly the areas and services in the fashion industry I was most excited about. During this time, I tried to take on as many internships as possible to gain experience and build up my CV. My intention was always to move abroad and gain international experience with luxury brands. I thought London would be a perfect match.

Hesitant to take the leap, I booked my visa and flights all in one day so I couldn’t think twice. Ahead of leaving, I contacted anyone who could potentially lead me to a job. LinkedIn was my best friend and I became the ultimate stalker of industry players from companies I dreamed to work for. No contacts meant I was cold-emailing as many people as possible, so the response rate was extremely limited. I did find a few people willing to meet me for a coffee once I arrived. One of those coffees led to an informal interview, which led to an official one, which then landed me a job at Net-A-Porter within two weeks of arriving in London.

I was hired as a personal shopper and thrown into the deep end of private client styling, relations, luxury sourcing and personal shopping. The role in itself is still very new, so it was challenging but incredibly rewarding. I was working with high-profile women and celebrities and was focused on developing personal relationships with each of them. I was collaborating with luxury brands to ensure we could always fulfil any request, hosting clients at exclusive events and fashion shows across Europe. I became glued to my phone, always at hand to respond to any wish that came through – no ask was too small.

 

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My job was to make anything happen – and this went beyond fashion. Over WhatsApp, I’d work on personalising new season collections, securing pre-orders for upcoming seasons, and placing orders directly from the runway. After two incredible years in London, I relocated to the epicentre of luxury fashion – Paris – where I joined a brand new company, role and department. LVMH had just launched 24S, a luxury eCommerce platform exclusively offering pieces from brands like Louis Vuitton, Celine, Dior and more.

It was a great opportunity to contribute everything I had learned in two years to a new company, as well as experience a new city, culture and language. A new business meant fresh ideas and possibilities for innovation. Since commencing, new services paving the future of luxury sourcing were put in place. Now we can bring complete collections to Paris for our clients, as we work directly with and source from all boutiques across Europe.

What challenges/hurdles have you faced getting to where you are now? Can you tell us about one in particular?

I find the hardest part is getting your foot in the door. Once it’s in, you can work hard, show initiative and have bright ideas. I encountered this issue when I was trying to get myself overseas and again a second time when I moved to Paris. My time in London was incredible, but after two years I felt the need for a new challenge.

 

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Call me crazy – but after I’d built up this amazing position, I was ready to be challenged and start over. So I took some time off in a foreign city, which gave me a moment to explore a more entrepreneurial path. I started sourcing independently as a personal shopper in Paris, allowing me to continue working with clients and start building relationships with luxury contacts. I became a European base for Australian brands offering my styling services and a press correspondent covering key fashion moments. It also allowed me to explore my love of film photography and I worked on setting up an online fine art print store, The Contenu Studio.

After some months, a new opportunity arose with a startup business that was right in the thick of the luxury world, and it was an opportunity too good to refuse. I joined LVMH’s 24S and transferred all my experiences, skills and knowledge in the private client space into this brand new department. I had to start from scratch with setting up tools, systems and services, all while being challenged in the space of a new company, country, culture and language. Now we have an incredibly diverse international team and work with a global selection of the very best clients, fulfilling all kinds of requests and wishes on a daily basis.

What do you want people to know about your industry/your role?

 

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The world of luxury sourcing is still so new. When I explain to my friends what I do, I still don’t think they quite understand. The question I’m often asked is, ‘Why would someone need a personal shopper?’. To answer, personal shoppers have exclusive access to the most in-demand and limited products around the globe. With the rise of social media and influencer culture, luxury fashion is viewed and desired by the masses – yet its appeal tends to also stem from limitation and unattainability.

When a designer’s new collection launches, only 30 per cent of it might be available to shop in your home market. Plus, with many maisons still reluctant to advance into the digital space, the only way to get a coveted item could be through a direct flight to Europe. A personal shopping service provides convenience and flexibility in adapting to the changes born from the current climate, especially for those who can’t travel. With a personal shopper, you can access the exclusive experiences the luxury world of fashion only offers a select few.

What’s the best part about your role?

It’s incredibly diverse and I get the opportunity to connect with new and interesting people on a daily basis. I absolutely love working with my clients; I love hunting down those hard-to-find pieces and creating special moments for them. It’s so rewarding to provide a service and experience unattainable anywhere else.

What would surprise people about your role?

 

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Most people would be unaware of the diversity of services on offer. For example, with personal shopping, there’s the ability to access specialty or made-to-order pieces, like a Louis Vuitton personalised trunk or a custom gown. Many styles don’t even make it into the store, so I have access to extremely limited and exclusive styles. I can get clients on waiting lists, make reservations and secure styles in advance with a pre-order. There’s a whole world of styles that the average customer wouldn’t know about.

Other services can also be physical – like wardrobe cleanses, private appointments in Paris and collection showings in clients’ hotel rooms. It also extends to the organisation of concierges services, like restaurant or hotel bookings at the very best and most exclusive spots in Europe. Fashion is the pulse, but it’s actually all about VIP client services.

What skills have served you well in your industry?

Resilience and learning how to bounce back… also being able to deal with all sorts of characters and personalities. There’s so much that can go wrong, and most often it’s out of your control. I’ve found that in these moments, it’s best to stay level-headed, remain calm and find a practical solution within your control.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be in a role like yours one day?

 

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I’d say there’s no one direction to get into luxury fashion or my specific position. There’s always a path forward and there’s no such thing as too much experience. I found that interning and shadowing mentors in the industry was the best way to learn from the people you admire the most.

What about a practical tip?

‘Shoot from the hip’ – in other words, don’t give anything too much thought and go for it. Hesitation only gives you the result you don’t want – inaction. It’s better to reach out, get rejected and start over with a different approach than to not ‘shoot’ at all.

@isabelbazzani

Read the rest of the How I Got Here series here.

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