The sales associate is the fashion equivalent to your SAT tutor. Lurking in the background, he or she provides the assistance you need to knock your score (or your footwear) out of the park. While the workings of a sales associate often go unnoticed, calling you first when the Chanel boots go on sale in your size for $300 (yes, it happened to my mom at the Neiman Outlet), immediately shipping you a box of clothes to pick from and send back all the way from Los Angeles (again, my mom with Elaine Kim), or literally hiding merchandise behind the counter until you get first dibs, they’re the essential part of scoring the best wardrobe and often at the utmost convenience. Why bother venturing into the store when you could just call your sales associate first to see if they have what you’re looking for?
|Image via Vogue|
Now I mentioned that my mom is the queen of befriending the sales associate. The trick is to be friendly. Hopefully they’re working at said store because they love the merchandise and are therefore equally enthusiastic when you find something you like. So share your shopping process with them! Don’t be the person who goes into the dressing room with 15 items and never shows off her goods. What fun is that? Just like when you ask a friend to show you what she’s tried on, do the same for your sales associate. I’m not saying go out of your way to stalk them across the floor if they’re busy helping another customer, but you get my drift. Plus, they’ll get a better sense of your style and be able to make more informed recommendations.
I know this may sound intimidating at first. Another reason my mom has more sales associate friends than I rests on the size of her bank account. Surely a sales associate warms up to those they know will be good, loyal customers and I know that my entry level salary is not giving them life. But all faith is not lost. I remember idolizing a 20-something black sales associate at Intermix (probably because she epitomized the future me) who gave me her business card with her cell phone number when I was a lowly high school freshman, instructing me to text her if there was anything she wanted me to look out for (!!). At that time, it was a pair of neon pink, silk Stella McCartney pumps. Though the heels never did make their way into my life, I made a friend in the process, one who would text me whenever their sales would start.