In-home shopping offers personal attention
By JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
Published: Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, 7:34 p.m.
Donna Harris and Anne Broad make their way through racks of beautiful clothing.
As they search for that special outfit or individual piece, they consider soft, butter-like smooth leather skirts, flattering pants and tops, as well as color-block and lace dresses, bold knit sweaters and jackets crafted from lush fabrics and exquisitely embellished accessories.
The hunt is not for themselves, but for two visitors who are looking for a boutique, personal stylist shopping adventure.
Broad and Harris are partners as sales associates for Worth New York, a luxurious high-end women's clothing line founded in 1991. The collection is sold in the homes of a national network of sales associates.
“This is the fun part of what we do,” says Broad, of Mt. Lebanon, after unpacking and organizing more than 220 pieces of clothing and accessories. “We both really enjoy interacting with the clients and helping them, not just shop, but enjoying the experience of fashion.”
Friends Debbie Lynch of Robinson and Cindi Roth of Mt. Lebanon certainly had fun. They stopped by Harris' Nevillewood home to peruse the latest fall collection. The women have differient styles. Lynch was attracted to more casual items, while finding business attire was Roth's goal. She's an associate vice chancellor at the University of Pittsburgh.
Broad and Harris focus on being style liaisons between clothing and client. They work in tandem and share income from the venture. They made the decision two years ago after finishing other careers. Harris was in adult education and Broad was a speech-and-language pathologist for Allegheny Intermediate Unit.
“We both come from different past careers, but we have both always had a passion for fashion,” Broad says.
They will be featuring the sample set of the Worth collection through Aug. 20. One-hour appointments are available for individuals or a group. They host four shows per year. The next one is scheduled in November.
They researched other lines and selected the Worth collection for its high quality for the price. Pants start at $135 and jackets, $300. Sizes encompass 0-20 and 0-16 petite.
“We have great support from Worth,” Broad says. “Any time we have a question, they get us answers in a few minutes. They are on top of trends and are extremely customer-oriented.”
Their hope is to provide an option for women who used to shop for designer pieces at stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue. Most customers come through referrals. Often, clients are time-strapped professionals who like the one-stop shopping as well as others who need advice in knowing what combination is most flattering.
“I think our clients like that we offer business as well as casual attire,” Harris says. “We try to create a welcoming shopping experience where they feel pampered and know they have an assistant who is there to help them.”
Lynch appreciates the expertise.
“You get very distinct clothing that stands out, and I like that I have help shopping,” she says. “I have been happy with every piece of Worth clothing I've bought. And it is such a great and relaxed shopping atmosphere. They spend a lot of time with you, which is wonderful.”
Selling high-end clothing and accessories this way is becoming popular, says Burt P. Flickinger III, managing director Strategic Resource Group, a consumer-industry firm that focuses on branding and marketing merchandise and retailing.
“They are a growing trend because of the uniqueness of what they sell, and the fashion elements the line offers in terms of quality and longevity, because they are made well and are classic pieces,” Flickinger says. “Women with more disposable income and not much time to shop are perfect clients.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7889.
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