In an attempt to woo customers away from online shopping, brick-and-mortar retailers are providing an important experience that the internet can’t: hearing someone say “you actually look good in that.” Some stores, such as TopShop, Anthropologie, and Club Monaco, are making styling services more accessible, and hoping that the personal touch that stylists provide may give them an edge. The internet, for all its convenience, can make it hard for companies to have their customers feel like they’re getting any personal attention.
When it comes to stylists, the conversation is often focused on the stars they dress: Why did Olivia Pope wear more bright colors on this past season of Scandal? But stylists have interesting experiences all their own. For The Atlantic’s series of interviews with American workers, I spoke with Rachel Venrick, a personal stylist at the Nordstrom in the Mall of America, about what it’s like to dress the average American and how technology has made it easier for her clients to get the looks they want. The following interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Adrienne Green: How did you get your job and how long you have been doing it?
Rachel Venrick: I call it my quarter-life crisis. I had been working in professional sports for the Oakland Raiders. I am originally from Sioux Falls, and I wanted to get closer to home, but I wasn't ready to necessarily go back yet. So I chose Minneapolis. I started working at Nordstrom as a sales person and I just fell in love with the company. I had thought about opening up my own clothing boutique, so I thought it would be a great starting point, and I was hired then as a personal stylist. I've been doing that for about six and a half years.