John Lewis’ best kept secret: Emma Snowdon, the personal stylist

Emma Snowdon, a personal stylist from John Lewis;  has opened up about what it’s like being a stylist for the Newcastle Eldon Square store, her journey, and how her passion and personality was what landed her a job in the fashion industry.

The personal styling service at John Lewis offers several different appointments; holidays, work wear, special occasions and wardrobe updates for clients of all backgrounds. The role of the stylist is primarily to advise the client on fashion trends and update their wardrobe.

However, Emma has said that personal styling has now branched out into doing more than just styling for customers. Personal Stylists are now doing a lot of eventing, including pop up events. Emma and the team at John Lewis, are aiming to do a different event each day. The personal stylists get to arrange all the events, and have plenty of freedom in doing so. Recently they created an event with the charity Children North East and organised a charity fashion show to raise awareness whilst having fun.

Emma said: “We’re working up to doing an event every day now. We go onto the fashion floor and make sure we have a presence. We play music and hand out leaflets, we get people coming over wanting to know what we’re all about. Instagram has been a huge thing for promoting our service too. A lot of people wander in not knowing about us, in desperate need for a dress that they need for tomorrow. Once we’ve helped them, chances are they’ll tell their friends. We’re getting there with the publicity, it’s word of mouth that we rely on.”

Emma didn’t do a degree in fashion, she started her career working as a visual merchandiser for the clothing company GAP. After working as a VM for five years, Emma decided to apply for the job as a personal stylist, using her visual portfolio.

Emma has always had a love for fashion, clothing, and shopping. She said: “This job mixes perfectly with my personal life, we do a lot of Instagram and I tend to do a lot of that at home too. If I ever buy anything from here, I’ll always post what I buy.”

Working for John Lewis, the personal stylists are encouraged to be as adventurous as they wish with their clients.

Emma said: “The thing that surprised me about John Lewis was how inclusive they are of all different styles. I’m quite a quirky and adventurous style and John Lewis has really embraced that. We ran a bloggers event not so long ago. Three personal stylist styled three different bloggers, we all had the same brief but we did totally different things to show how different we all are. Although there is five of us in the personal styling team, you’ll never get the same thing from us.”

It could be said that most people view John Lewis as being old fashioned, but Emma wants everyone to know that that’s not the case at all.

Finally happy in her job, Emma says she’s comfortable, but there is always room for progression and improvement. “Being a personal stylist isn’t just about doing one job, with it being totally different every day and learning different things,” Emma said this job keeps her happy and doesn’t feel like she’s stuck doing the same thing.

Since being young, Emma has always had a passion for fashion. After doing an English Degree, she knew that she wanted to be involved in fashion one way or another. Alongside working for John Lewis, she also takes time out of her personal life to blog all things fashion and also has a YouTube channel.

We asked Emma where she gets her fashion influence from and she said both street style and Instagram. She said if she sees someone on the street or the metro wearing something she loves, she’ll take a sneaky photo, go home and see if she has anything similar and recreate the look.

As a keen Instagram user, Emma also uses the ‘saved’ button as her secret collection of fashion inspiration. Admitting to being a nerd, she said she also loves to create mood boards on Pinterest of certain styles.

Emma also said: “Equally, I get a lot of inspiration from menswear. When I learned how to tie a bow tie for work, it made me want to wear one. Things like that just fall into my lap – girls can totally rock a bow tie too.”

Emma’s blog is fashion based, but also incorporates lifestyle and travel. Really interested going forward in sustainable fashion, she writes a lot about capsule wardrobes and how to save money on your wardrobe. This fits in perfectly whilst working as a personal stylist, as people think when they book an appointment that they have to spend a lot of money, but it’s not about that. John Lewis, Emma, and the team want customers to come back and see them.

“We aren’t on commission, we want you to go out the door and be happy at your own pace.”

Emma’s go to fashion piece is vintage. It’s a vintage sequin jacket bought from a vintage stall. At £20, this statement jacket was a total bargain. Emma said “I actually wore it for a christening recently and everyone asked where it was from, I was like ‘sorry, it’s vintage.’ I just love it.”

As a self-confessed lover of vintage, Emma said that her favourite designer is old-school vintage designer, Frank Usher. She described him as being really popular with older ladies who go on cruise ships.

“I would say if there was one, it would have to be him. There’s no one who I would say ‘I love everything.’ I’m like a magpie, anything from anywhere. I don’t think fashion should be so heavily influenced by designers, it should be by your personality. I wouldn’t want to tie myself to one designer, I love bits and pieces from different collections.”

Emma’s style and career advice for Fashion North readers is:

“I would say, don’t be disheartened by applying for things and getting knocked back. I applied for so many fashion jobs, I was already working as a VM when I wanted to go into personal styling, and it was really hard to get into. It takes a while to find the job, you feel like you’re never going to be in a position where you’re happy because that’s the most important thing. Just keep applying, even if you’re not formally trained, there’s always places to start. As long as you have the passion, keep holding onto it. I was devastated from all the knockbacks, thinking ‘what’s wrong with me?’ But if your passion shows through then you will find something. John Lewis said that’s the reason they gave me this job. My personality and my passion, that I wanted to do it so much.”

If you would like to view any of Emma Snowdon’s social media, blog, or are interested in booking an appointment, please see details below.




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