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A self-described “shopaholic,” Eve Cantor started her company — which helps women rediscover or maximize their fashion choices from their existing outfits — as she mourned the death of her father. Eve said she wanted to honor her dad by abstaining from dancing, playing music or shopping for one year. Because of that, Eve was forced to find a new look through clothing she already owned. “I love to shop and I couldn’t shop for a year,” she said. “I had to shop my own closet and work with pieces I had.”
Eve, a former personal shopper for Barneys New York and fashion boutique owner in Chicago, takes her discerning eye to her clients’ closets. Over three hours, she will pull out those shirts or dresses long buried in the back of the closet and find new ways to coordinate them for a new outfit. If an item needs to be adjusted, Eve will bring it to her seamstress.
MO: Can you talk about how an exercise of mourning and reflection led you on an entrepreneurial journey?
Eve: My father past away a few years ago and as a mourner I took on an ancient Jewish law of not wearing new garments. As a “bit” of a shopper, this seemed like the most impossible task. I found myself in a creative exploration of my own closet. I was looking at my closet in memory of my dear Father. In this, I merited to come up with this inventive business idea “Shop Your Closet”.
MO: What are some tips for women to maximize or rediscover their fashion choices from their existing clothes?
Eve: Take everything out, so you can see what you have. Donate the pieces you haven’t worn in 2 years unless you have been pregnant or you really will lose those 10 lbs. Have a trusting friend or hire a stylist to help you objectify your clothes. You may be committed to seeing your clothes in only one way. This and alterations can help save unworn expensive purchases. ACCESSORIZE, it updates pieces that are a decade old.
MO: What have been some of the biggest challenges in establishing “Shop My Closet” and how have you overcome them?
Eve: I am still on a major marketing journey of overcoming peoples fears of having me, a stranger in their closet. I realize that being undressed in front of a stuffed closet of hard to get rid of memories, weight highs and lows and an undeclared fashion sense is a major sensitivity. Every client that I have had is thrilled and has had a major change in self perspective when we are finished. I created a video to help people get to know me so they were a little less intimidated. That worked, I now have strangers calling me. It’s still not enough ;)
MO: What’s been your marketing strategy for selling such a personal service? Who do your main clients tend to be?
Eve: Word of mouth has been the most effective. These are my warmest leads. I have also been giving presentations to networking groups, corporations and career benefit seminars.
I have some clients that have amazing fashion style and need a validator to help them to get rid of stuff. I have the client who has no clothes and no fashion sense and we then need to go shopping, then we shop her closet. Many of my clients have great pieces that they have purchased with one or maybe two looks in mind and are bored with. Just because someone has disposable income it does not mean they have the wherewithal to shop or put it together, this is the most typical customer for me.
MO: What are some tips for packing for a trip that will have variable weather conditions and demand a variety of of outfits for several types of occasions?
Eve: Part of my service includes a full photo book of my clients in all of their newly coordinated looks which included purse, shoes and accessories (if they need help w/it all). When its time to get dressed all they have to do is pick the outfits they want to wear from their book and then just pull the pieces. Its a no brainer for packing and getting dressed
MO: Can you talk a bit about the psychology of fashion and how that can affect the relationship we have with our wardrobes?
Eve: I find that every client has a story attached to their pieces. The nostalgia factor is pretty high. They met their husband in that dress, they were the skinniest ever in those pants (15 years ago), their mother in-law bought that blouse for them, jr prom dress, job interview outfit 10 years ago etc… We think we have what-to-wear and the truth is that we have a keep-sake closet of memories. Its confusing when we are only wearing 5-7 outfits all the time and we have a stuffed closet full of clothes
MO: What’s one of the most common but easy to fix issues you see your clients facing?