Ishra Sharif is the TOPSHOP TOPMAN Personal Shopping Manager at the new Vancouver location, taking the traditional way of popping in and out of a fashion retailer to another level. How does she accomplish that exactly? Find out in today's YPDaily...
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
As the TOPSHOP TOPMAN Personal Shopping Manager at the new Vancouver location, my role is essentially to take the traditional way of popping in and out of a fashion retailer to another level with my fantastic team of personal shoppers by providing one-on-one expert style advice in an immaculate space where the client can enjoy their shopping experience. Adding to that, what makes my role so much more dynamic is focusing on building the personal shopping business almost as if it is a little boutique within our giant store by connecting with the city's key influencers for private events, trend presentations and overall spreading the awareness of this awesome, completely complimentary service that you cannot find at any other High Street retailer.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
It's funny because I was already wearing TOPSHOP before I had even been to a location simply off being a geek and cruising the website. I hadn't been to London and I would have friends pick up items for me while overseas. New York was my first actual visit. When Sephora opened in Pacific Centre, TheStyleSpy.com snapped me wearing a TOPSHOP 'romper' in Brit lingo, which made it's way on to a couple other style sites. Then, when the TOPSHOP capsule opened at The Bay Vancouver, I did an on-air bit on Virgin Radio. Vancouver being so tiny, a lunch one day with a couple industry friends turned into an exciting new job.
My marketing and media experience coupled with fashion business background allows me to tap into different avenues that will help the personal shopping team and TOPSHOP TOPMAN stand out. Helping clients look and feel their best in their clothing and find their own unique style is a great feeling, almost like giving back in a sense, plus you can't complain about helping someone shop – it's every girl's dream to shop for a living! I'm also equally inspired by the creative ideas that come from various teams within our store, watching the personal shopping team build personal relationships with their clientele, as well as working for globally recognized brands that Vancouver was excited for. It's all the best worlds combined.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part of my day-to-day is meeting all different types of people that walk into the suites for appointments or are interested in personal shopping. We get everything from young girls, professionals, celebrities, stylists to media personalities and lots of our own friends who come in to shop with us – which is so fun. The most challenging part has to be how fast time flies by when there are so many tasks to complete; there are never enough hours in a day to get through an inbox full of emails, and with the TOPSHOP TOPMAN personal shopping business being so new in Vancouver, I’m always working towards being as fully booked as the most in demand hairstylist in town!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I think it's a really interesting time to be a part of a leading Canadian retailer as well as an international company entering new markets, so I will definitely continue to be a part of the evolving Vancouver retail and fashion community. Maybe have my own boutique and continuing to deliver style expertise on air, online and in print.
What does success look like to you?
Always being happy. And an amazing closet.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
I don't think it's ever possible to choose just one… hearing myself on the radio for the first time. Seeing a story I wrote in print. Interviewing Lady Gaga. Travelling to New York for work. And receiving this most recent Personal Shopping Manager role.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Always be nice yet stand your ground. Be impressive but keep it real. Choose personality over constant self-promo.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I'm a part of the Young Professional Advisory Council with the Make-A-Wish Foundation BC Yukon chapter. There's a team of 12 of us that will be working on various initiatives to create a larger impact for the Foundation over a term. We are just in the process of organizing our first event to introduce ourselves to the community and coming up with our larger picture goal.
What to you is notable?
Smart girls who earn respect for what they do do through a combination of perseverance, inspiration and talent.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
What is a BlackBerry? iPhone, forever and always.