Marlo Szellos has what, for most of us, amounts to a dream job: Curating the racks and racks of amazing clothing at Holt Renfrew for her personal shopping clients. Her job requires her to be as savvy about her customer’s needs as she is about style, and use her keen eye for fashion to create looks her clients would never think to try, but will definitely love.
What does a typical Thursday look like for you, starting from when you wake up – to heading to bed?
I’m generally up at 7am with the kids and it’s always hectic, from getting everyone fed to making sure teeth are brushed and that no one forgets anything! After I drop both kids at school I have a standing half hour appointment with my trainer. Last year I started working out just a half hour at a time; it allows me to keep up my strength but doesn’t eat into my whole morning. Then I can go home, shower, and get ready for work, which luckily for right now is just across the street from my apartment. Once I get to work I touch base with my assistant and we review the day’s appointments and follow up. I will typically have 2 to 3 appointments a day and each appointment can be up to 2 hours. I pull clothing, shoes and accessories in advance for each client so that I am ready when they arrive. My assistant is then free to answer my emails and follow-up with deliveries or pick up alterations. At the end of the day I recap with my assistant and prepare for Friday. Then I typically buy some groceries, go home, make sure my kids have done their homework and then we all have dinner together. Usually I end the night in front of the TV for a bit and end with a book in bed, and sometimes a glass of wine if I need it!
What was your first job out of school?
I worked in retail through the end of high school and between summers when I was in University. I then moved to Paris to attend fashion management school. My first real job after I graduated was for a buying office in Paris. Holt Renfrew was the account I worked on and I did research for them in the French market. I worked with the buyers when they came to Paris during Fashion week. I stayed in that job for 9 years.
What are the 3 skills you require most to do your job well?
You absolutely must love fashion and need to have an eye for it. Relationships are extremely important, so you need to get along really well with your colleagues and clients, and you have to be a pro at multi-tasking. So many unexpected issues pop-up in a day, even in an hour, and you have to juggle priorities with ease.
What do you love most about your career?
I love being able to give my clients confidence through the clothes they wear, whether it is in their jobs or helping them feel special for a date or a big event. I have a lot of moms who come and see me because they just need to stop wearing sweats or workout clothes all day and they want to feel pulled together and feminine. The best compliment I get is when a client says she would have never tried a piece I show her and then it becomes one of her favorite things.
Do you have any warnings?
In any work environment, it can be easy to get caught up in the politics around you, so I stay focused on the clients and the fact that I work in a store with some of the best fashion in the world.
If you could try a different career on for a year, what would it be?
I am fascinated by recruiting; I love the idea of finding talent and placing the right person in the right career. I love connecting people.