MiKADO Personal Styling

MiKADO is a full service Personal Styling firm handling all shopping and fashion needs of busy men and women who value well kept wardrobes. We have conducted an interview with their Senior Personal Stylist Stephanie Holland.

In your opinion what is personal styling and what are the common misconceptions?

Personal styling is essentially having your wardrobe and day-to-day image outsourced to a professional. It is the understanding that for whatever reason (typically lack of time, interest or skill) you are unable to effectively execute your wardrobe goals and would benefit from putting this area of your life in the hands of someone who has a strategic and calculated approach to maintaining your closet and your unique personal image.

For us, personal styling is all encompassing which means we take care of every aspect that relates to fashion on behalf of our clients. We learn what they like and dislike, what they seek to achieve through their image, we shop on their behalf, bring everything to them in their home to try at leisure, and teach them how to mix and match the items they purchase to ensure they always know what to do with their clothing.

A very common misconception about this type of personal styling is that it’s only reserved for celebrities and A-listers. While there’s an insurgence in the market right now of subscription boxes and membership programs, there are very few other companies offering full service white glove styling, and for that reason most people believe it’s not accessible or not even something that’s available to them. Struggling with the best image to put forward and an uncertainty around shopping is something a lot of people have just come to accept as part of the territory with individual style. While most of us wouldn’t attempt to cut our own hair for lack of skill and ability, we’re working to change the misconception that personal style is something that can’t be outsourced as well.

How do you create services that will best suit your clients’ needs?

When building our services, we start by standing in the shoes of our clients - we envision their lives and forecast what it is that they’ll require to alleviate stress and meet their needs. Before being a fashion company we are a service and experience company, so we ask ourselves what would shopping and style look like if it were easy? What kind of experience would make shopping exciting and rewarding? We create audacious goals and then work backwards, trying to find ways to implement them.

A great example of this was when we made the decision to provide our clients with a personal department store-like experience in the comfort of their home, where we had previously only brought them a scope of options that fit within their budget. What people value about shopping in a store like Saks or Nordstrom is the idea of having all the variety under one roof, but what deters them from making purchases is the overwhelming experience of being distracted by so many things that either aren’t their size or don’t suit their aesthetic. To satisfy this need we determined it would require us to bring our clients 6-7 times the amount of options they’d ultimately keep, all in their size, style-preference and budget range, in order to help them make the best purchasing decisions. To get that one amazing jacket for fall that fits well and works with everything you own for example, you’ll need to try several styles and brands to know you found the perfect one. Our goal is to provide our clients with the peace of mind of making sound purchasing decisions while also ensuring their wardrobe is made up of items they love and that perfectly suit their needs.

We call this service the in-home fitting and when we bring new clothing to a client to try, we transform their bedroom into their own personal boutique and give them the confidence of knowing that the pieces they purchase are the strongest ones from a wide selection of what’s currently available.

How do you tackle clients with a very busy schedule?

We don’t have any form of standard business operating hours and are available for our clients whenever they need us. Weekends and evenings are very popular times as most of the people we work with have a demanding work schedule. All services are performed in their home, which really helps tackle the scheduling issue. Sometimes we’ll meet a client right before he leaves for work to drop something off, other times it may be in the evening once he’s done with emails and put the kids to bed.

What kind of unique services do you offer?

Our services are unique in that there is absolutely nothing off limits as it relates to wardrobe and also nothing required. We have no membership or subscription parameters that often engage customers mostly out of a sense of obligation. We simply provide our clients with whatever they need, whenever they need it. We like to practice the Four Seasons hotel methodology to service in that absolutely everything is available, no questions asked.

We start by really getting to know our clients before we ever begin shopping for them, so that we can provide them with clothing that reflects their lifestyle and taste. We meet with them in their home, look at what they currently own, ask questions about their goals and what they want to achieve, all in an effort to get to know them better. While it may sound trivial, the idea of shopping for someone based on what they really want rather than pushing them into something simply because it’s considered ‘in’ at the time, is unique in the world of retail and fashion. We want out clients to feel great in the clothing they purchase for years to come, as they’ll be the ones wearing it and not us.

After the shopping is complete and a client has purchased new clothing, we continue to find ways to simplify their personal style. A service we offer that is extremely valuable to the people we work with is our Look Book composition service. It is essentially a digital catalogue of the items our clients own in their closet, mixed and matched to create endless outfit ideas. We’ll show them how to dress something up or down, what to wear for work and on the weekend, suggest ways to accessorize, all in an effort to alleviate the stress of getting dressed in the morning. We also offer pick up and drop off of dry cleaning, pressing and tailoring as well as the general upkeep and organization of their closet. If it relates to shopping or style, we take care of it.

Which has been one of the most challenging personal styling tasks that you have ever done? What did you do that makes it so effective for your client?

To date, our most challenging personal styling projects have been with women who have very specific dress regulations due to cultural and religious standards and who also have a keen sense of style. Having offices in Los Angeles and New York, our clients are immersed in a culture with some of the best dressed people in the world and will often show us references of looks they want to emulate within the parameters of their dress code.

One client in particular comes to mind who had an affinity for great street-style, lots of denim, and slightly androgynous styling, but who could only wear skirts on the bottom and next to full coverage on top. She showed us endless outfits that reflected her taste and had a very clear sense of what she liked - nearly all of it involved jeans, trousers and shoulder baring tops. She was a great example of what we commonly see in people - a desire to take one’s style in a certain direction but to adapt it to fit their unique needs. We hunted down every possible ¾ length to maxi length skirt we could find for her, both online and in-store, to recreate the style she wanted within her parameters. And while she liked tank-style tops but couldn’t wear them, we found her styles that looked similar but with sleeves. We put together casual looks with denim skirts and t-shirts to achieve the street style aesthetic she wanted, along with pencil skirts and blazers for more formal ensembles, and just about everything in between.

Clients with a more strict dress code often serve as a great opportunity for our Stylists to get creative, think outside the box, locate new brands, and try outfit combinations that they otherwise may not have thought of. It’s exciting to see someone who wants to look a certain way but has never believed it was possible for them, finally achieve the image they’ve wanted.

How important do you foresee personal styling to be in the near future? In response to that (demand), what do you plan to offer?

Personal styling is already very important, and the demand for the service will only increase as people continue to learn that it is available to them. As the requirements of our daily lives seem to grow, the desire to outsource as much as possible has never been higher. People now realize that time is their most valuable asset and that it no longer has to be spent doing things they don’t like or don’t know how to do. The importance of a well-kept image, both on professional success and personal self-confidence, is instrumental in achieving growth. As individuals come to understand this important factor, they will seek to place this need in the hands of an expert to optimize results and maximize efficiency.

As demand continues to increase, we plan to keep doing what we always do: hire great people who have a passion for helping others and an ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, innovate outside the box to create the best possible solutions to our clients’ needs, and expand our business into new areas to service new individuals.

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