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Meet Valerie Halfon of Shop With Val

Today we’d like to introduce you to Valerie Halfon.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was inspired to start Shop with Val in 2010 after helping a close friend shop for clothes and update her wardrobe. I witnessed her personal transformation and gain in self-confidence. In the beginning, I offered solely one-on-one shopping sessions, but the services I offered quickly grew and evolved, as I strived to meet the demands of my clients and gaps in the market.

Now, nearly 7 years later, I have worked with hundreds of clients of all ages (12-79) and sizes (00 petite-24), spanning 22 countries! Shop With Val is about helping clients find practical fashion for everyday life – and for all the special occasions in between. I aim to make the experience hassle free, enjoyable and efficient. A custom approach for every client is designed to cater to individual needs, budget and personal style – with guidance from an experienced stylist.

Has it been a smooth road?
Starting your own business from scratch is never easy. There are so many stylists in NYC so I knew I had to figure out a way to set myself apart in order for the business to be successful. I decided to offer a service that was previously only available to the wealthy without the steep price tag and focus on customizing each of my appointments to the individual client, focusing on comfort, practicality and affordability.

It took about two years until I acquired enough clients to work on styling full time. I was fortunate to have another job at the time so I was still making money while pursuing my passion. After 6 years of building my business in NYC I have relocated to Houston, where I am currently accepting new clients.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Shop With Val story. Tell us more about the business.
I run a personal styling and shopping business. I offer a range of services from Closet Consultations (I come to your home and we go through your current wardrobe), personal shopping sessions (I take you shopping to purchase new items), creating look books (quick reference photo guides to make getting ready a cinch!) and even packing services (I will compose outfits for you and send you on your trip with photos of each one complete with accessories to pair). I also partner with other retailers to offer my clients exclusive discounts. I enjoy hosting in-store events and fashion shows, as well as style workshops, where I talk to businesses about the importance of image and putting your best foot forward.

My clientele is fairly diverse in age, background, style and budget. Therefore, I would have to say my specialty is more focused on rebuilding wardrobes. Many of the clients I work with are in need of a wardrobe overhaul. It’s more than helping them find a dress for an upcoming event. It’s about helping them build a core wardrobe for both work and weekend that includes versatile, practical, modern and stylish pieces they can feel good in. While working in NYC, I would often work with clients who were visiting from out of town or out of the country and were not exposed to the variety of shops found in NYC. In these cases, I would have one day to get them everything they needed. Therefore, I became real good at making the most of my time and focusing on the essentials!

I pride myself in the diverse portfolio I have built, but also the ability to accommodate different styles and budgets. It’s easy to look good when you’re spending thousands of dollars. Building a core wardrobe with $500 on the other hand, is way more challenging! The college grad who is interviewing for their first big job deserves the chance to look and feel good, just as much as the successful CEO.

By staying true to my core ideals and saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity I was presented with, Shop With Val has been featured in prestigious publications such as the NY Post, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Time Out NY and Refinery 29. I am incredibly proud of these features, and earning the title of “one of the best personal shopper services in NYC.”

I set myself apart by focusing on how can I help a client become the best version of them self rather than simply pushing what I like. While many stylists may work with those who love to shop and are on top of the latest trends in fashion, I work with many clients who dislike shopping, are pressed for time, or who have difficulty finding pieces they like or that fit them well. They often come to me out of necessity. Although shopping can be a fun and leisure activity for some, I find gratification in working with those who feel much differently. I have the opportunity to help people by turning what they view as an overwhelming or discouraging experience and make it not only efficient, but enjoyable and enlightening. When I have clients break down in tears in the fitting room because they didn’t know they could look or feel so good, I know I’m doing something right.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
There are definitely big shifts in the industry as many retailers are closing their brick and mortar and moving online. I see myself doing more virtual styling sessions, which I have started offering at the request of clients. Due to special sizing, many clients are forced to shop online. I have noticed that several of the petite departments in stores is shrinking or has disappeared, while plus size departments, on the other hand, are expanding.

When it comes to my male clients, more and more of them are turning to custom ateliers for their workwear and even casual attire. Many of them have a hard time buying things that fit properly off the rack and end up spending extra money to bring items to the tailor. As this does not seem sustainable, they’d rather invest in pieces that are made to their measurements, while having every aspect customized to their liking and physique.

I also see a shift in the preferences of my clients, who are looking for better quality pieces, that are sourced locally rather than fast fashion made overseas. People are tired of spending money on clothing that doesn’t hold up over time. They want to know that things are made in an ethical work environment and that they can support local business whenever possible.

Pricing:

  • Val Raids Your Closet: $395 for up to a 3 hr in-home consultation; $115/hr thereafter
  • Closet Organization: $95 in-home consultation & proposal. Quotes vary based on client’s needs.
  • Val Shops With You: ‘A Quickie’: $230 (up to 2 hrs); ‘Wardrobe Update’: $460 (up to 4 hrs)
  • Val to the Rescue: $260 for a 2 hr in-home look-book session
  • Val Packs For You: $190 for a 2 hr in-home packing session

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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