I want her job: Personal shopper

Shopping – there's far more to it when you're doing it as a full time job. ELLE speaks to Yan, a US-based boxer at ShopandBox

By Andrea Tim | Published: 18 Oct 2016

Dream job: Shopper

Personal shopping has been given a new spin. Previously a service only available at the beck and call of celebrities or at exclusive sections of department stores, it has now expanded online and given life to global personal shopping platform ShopandBox.

The website runs as a peer-to-peer service that connects the shopper (that's you) to the Boxer (the personal shoppers) based on interest and shopping locations, making it possible for you to buy nearly anything from anywhere in the world (with a fee, of course). Upset that a brand you like doesn't ship to your country? Talk to a Boxer from one of the 28 countries where ShopandBox is present to have them shop and ship your purchases to you. Think your item might be cheaper overseas? Let ShopandBox recommend Boxers who can help you hunt that item down. You get the gist.

Shopping every day – it sounds like a dream job. We spoke to Singapore-born Yan, who started out as a Boxer for ShopandBox and now also runs their operations in the US, to find out if 'boxing' is as exciting as it sounds.

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Yan and I am currently taking up cooking classes in Boston, Massachusetts. Besides my passion for cooking, I have been a Boxer for ShopandBox for about two years! I joined the team on a full-time basis a year ago and now I also manage the US operations, train other Boxers and help out with marketing.

How did you start boxing?
While searching for cooking tutorials on YouTube once, I chanced upon a video review (on Clicknetworktv's Tried and Tested series) of ShopandBox, which was brand new at the time. I thought that it was a really interesting idea, especially as my friends and family were always asking me to bring things back from the US for them!

Describe your typical work day.
When I'm not at my culinary classes in the morning, I check my inbox for ShopandBox notifications, spend time chatting to my shoppers about their orders and answering any questions they have. Once a shopper confirms an order, I bookmark websites and stores with the best deals and I start shopping. The evenings are "unboxing" time and I always look forward to this! That's when I check each product purchased for defects, take pictures, organise items to optimise international shipping fees and repackage them to be shipped to my shoppers the next day.

I also mentor other Boxers, curate and shoot new products to post on the ShopandBox Instagram account, and source for the best deals to feature on @shopandboxdeals.

What's challenging about your job?
I would say that it's ensuring that every product purchased, especially the cosmetics, are delivered safely and undamaged. Also during sale periods or limited edition launches, it can get pretty hectic trying to get items for multiple shoppers before they sell out!

What do you write in official forms that require you to name your occupation?
Personal Shopper.

How do people react when you introduce yourself and what you do?
When I say I'm a Boxer, people think I mean Muay Thai!

How many people have you met who share the same job?
Around 70 to 80 people; they are active personal shoppers for ShopandBox.

Would you recommend others to go down the same route?
Yes, why not? This job suits people who love shopping. You get to meet people from around the world who share the same interests with you. I've also met so many people who think what I do is a dream job! (They're right.)

Do you ever get bored?
You mean bored of shopping? NO! I enjoy shopping for people without having to spend a single dollar.

In an alternate universe, what would you be doing instead of boxing?
I would love to own a café, a place to gather with familiar faces and share joy, laughter and food!

ShopandBox is available as an app, which you can download for free from the App Store (for iOS) and Google Play (for Android).

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