Jessica Luffman; Toronto;
Let’s say we’ve just met at a cocktail party. How would you describe, in a nutshell, what you do?
I’m a personal shopper at Topshop at Hudson’s Bay! It’s a complementary service. My clients book appointments with me for events, new wardrobe updates or if they need a full style makeover. I pull all the looks for them in their sizes so when they come in for their appointment everything is all ready for them to try on! This is great for people who don’t like to shop, are time-crunched or just want some style advice.
Where did you go to school and what did you study?
I went to George Brown College for the Fashion Business Industry program.
What was your first paying gig out of school? (In your field, or not)
I was a visual merchandiser at a retail company. I was fresh out of college and I was lucky enough to have a great supportive manager who allowed me to grow as an employee and develop my skills.
What was your BIG break? How did you land it?
My journey to become a personal shopper began as a sales associate. My big break came from showcasing my hard work and dedication. I loved the gratification of helping customers and making them feel good about themselves. Making them feel body positive. After working as a sales associate for a month my management team realized that my true potential was in personal shopping. I worked as a personal shopping assistant for a year and when the opportunity arose to fill the personal shopping position I was their top candidate.
Describe the moment in which you first realized, I think this is actually going to work out?
I have never really had that “Aha!” moment because it always felt like it was working out. From beginning as a personal shopping assistant and growing into a personal shopper I have always had great job satisfaction. If anything I felt even more fulfilled as my profile grew in the city and people began requesting appointments by my name. I also started dressing high-profile clients and continued to be recognized by my team.
What would you say has been your biggest failure or shortcoming, career-wise, to date? How did you bounce back?
When I was in my early 20s, I was working for a company where I was under-appreciated and was made to feel that I was not good enough to be in this industry. Sad to say I was let go during my three-month probation period. It was a low point in my life and made me revaluate my goals and dreams for my future. Thankfully, I found out through a good friend that Topshop was hiring and the rest is history! It’s a good lesson: never give up. Also, it’s really important to find the right fit within a company or organization.
Name one piece of career advice you always give.
If you stay positive and keep working hard everything will pay off!
What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever gotten?
You need to go to school for fashion if you want to become a stylist or personal shopper.
Did you deal with barriers in your field because you are a woman? If so, what were they?
I don’t feel like I had to deal with any barriers in my field because I’m a woman. I find that my biggest barrier is that I look much younger than I am. I’m 28 but am lucky that my genes make me look a lot younger. Sometimes I find I have to work extra hard to be taken seriously.
Are you making a fair income for your work? Why or why not? Do you have a side hustle for extra cash? If so, what is it?
I’m so grateful for everything I’ve achieved so far in my career with this company. I’m extremely fortunate to have the position I’m currently in and I look forward to what’s next. My side hustle is to feed my creative appetite. I like to work on photo shoots on the side. I also started doing crafts in my spare time. I’ve recently learned how to embroider and macramé.
What’s the worst stereotype you’ve heard about millennials at work?
That they’re lazy! Everyone that I work with is around my age and we’re all go-getters who put in the extra time. It’s not about the age but how hard you’re willing to work to achieve your goals.