It’s a Monday morning and my personal stylist has just sent over three edits of clothes for me to check out at my leisure.
So far, so fashion, right? But Leah, my stylist, hasn’t cost me a penny.
Leah is part of the team currently working for Tuesday, the personal styling service Marks & Spencer quietly launched earlier this year, to try and bring back the personal element of shopping to their customers.
And having tried it myself, I have to say, I am impressed.
Tuesday – so called because there is historically more online browse time on a Tuesday than any other day during the week – was created by Venture Lab, the name of the tech team at M&S.
Their IT experts believe Tuesday can give everyone access to a personal stylist – all of whom are fashion professionals with years of experience. Depending on your shape, age, need or budget, the team can offer a completely bespoke service for every client – and there is no pressure to buy.
Really? Well, yes. I tried it.
For me, most shopping these days is done online – and I’m not alone. Technology has replaced much of the human relationships between store and customer – and in today’s mobile age, that was the biggest challenge facing M&S.
There is a luxury in being able to talk to customers during their in-store experience, but with everyone glued to an iPhone or iPad it can be difficult to personalise that interaction.
So Tuesday merges modern tech with a good old-fashioned chat to a real person on the end of the phone.
After signing up, you are invited to run through some very easy to use questions to help the stylist determine your personal style. You also upload an image of yourself so they can make appropriate colour selections. This was part of my series of questions, below.
After this is completed, customers are invited to a one-to-one phone consultation with their assigned stylist where they have the opportunity to chat through their wardrobe issues, needs, body confidence levels, budget and what they would like to achieve.
Head stylist Alison McDougal says, “The key to our service is trust, rapport and convenience. Our stylists get to know each customer then go and do the hard work for them – we edit down the noise, hand-select outfits to suit their lifestyle and body shape, explaining how to get the most from each item.”
My confidence took a huge bash after having my children, so I wasn’t surprised when Alison told me most customers are aged thirty-plus who have lost their sense of style post-baby, or who want a new look returning to work.
“Wardrobe overhauls or freshening up their office look are two of our most popular requests at the moment. We’re catering for those time-poor customers who just need a bit of direction,” says Alison, speaking to me at their office in Paddington.
I loved this ‘inspired by’ image, of fashion blogger Leandra Medine, whose style I admire. I hadn’t mentioned her to Leah, so she took that from our conversation.
You are encouraged to leave comments on each item to show whether they’ve got it right – and if they haven’t, another selection will come over.
I was pleased with the items Leah picked for me – I’d even bought a couple already. There were some things I would definitely never have worn and I fed that back. But the stylists encourage that as critique will only make the service better for the client by edit two.
Despite the fact it is a service provided by a brand aiming to sell, I didn’t feel any pressure to buy – in fact, none.
Many customers will buy several of the items selected, with others buying the full basket of up to ten items. But Alison told me that customers care more about the advice than the price, so will often buy because they have built up a rapport with their stylist.
“We quite often remember details from customers, so for example if a new skirt comes in and I think it will look brilliant with the blouse I know someone has just bought, I will send them an email to alert them to it,” says Alison.
Tuesday is a personal, convenient and stylish service editing a store that can often feel quite overwhelming – even for me, someone who’s spent almost twenty years in the fashion industry.
Whether you’re in the market for a few new season pieces, or are heading back to work after maternity leave, they can take the hassle out of trawling the shops. And I wouldn’t be surprised if more stores don’t start offering a service like it soon.
Try Tuesday here.