When law student Wendy Wairimu Kimondo is not attending a lecture or dreaming about becoming a lawyer, she will most likely be out shopping.
No, she does not shop to fill her wardrobe, but to earn a living.
The 22-year-old Kenyatta University student is a personal shopper, a job that is slowly receiving recognition and attention as the demand from clients grows.
Fashion and style have increasingly taken root in Kenya, with many people wanting to have unique but trendy looks. But many people do not have sufficient time to go out and shop for the items they want.
This is where a personal stylist or personal shopper comes in.
Most of Wendy’s clients are people who have a restrictive work schedule or those who do not know where to get fashionable items. They also appreciate the convenience and the time and energy it saves them.
Personal shoppers have to be keen eye for fashion and trends, and know what clothes suit particular body types, occasions and occupations.
“Most of my clients are drawn from the media industry. You find that they have very busy schedules and little time to shop. The personalities do not only dress for themselves but also for their audiences. That is also something we have to put into consideration while shopping,” Wendy says.
Her love for fashion and style started when she landed a job with an established fashion and jewellery house in 2016. Their products were marketed globally and Wendy worked closely with established stylists, learning new skills and the art of fashion and style.
In 2017 she quit her job and co-founded Wendy Styles with her friend, who is a publicist.
“At Wendy Styles we focus on personal and editorial styling, marketing, personal shopping and also brand activations.”
From the job, Wendy makes from between Sh18,000 to Sh20,000 in a month.
The rise of online stores has worked to her advantage as she does not have a physical office and she can easily find items for sale online. She is able to market herself and source for clients online.
“Having a physical location at this time and with this kind of a job is a waste. Most of the time I am meeting clients at their places of work and other times I am shopping. Even if I had an office, I doubt I would ever be there,” she adds.
But the online market has also had its disadvantages. Wendy has encountered fraudsters who pose as retailers but go under once you send them money for the items you want. On such occasions, she has to cover the client’s bills from her pocket.
Wendy is always keen on drawing up contracts with her clients for every engagement. Without a contract, she says, most clients will want to get familiar with you and get things for free.
Prior to her shopping expeditions, she meets her clients several times to understand their personalities so she can settle on the appropriate style for them.
Wendy hopes to have a diverse portfolio in future, including clients from outside Kenya.