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A personal shopper for East Hampton's most elite women charges $225 an hour and uses a spreadsheet to plan day-to-night vacation outfits for clients. Here's what her life is like.

Published by Business Insider on Thu, 15 Jul 2021


<p><img src="https://static1.businessinsider.com/image/60ef07f061b8600019f170a9-2400/Lisa Frohlich JPG.jpg" border="0" alt="photo of a woman in a black and white dress in front of a light green wall" data-mce-source="Lisa Frohlich" data-mce-caption="Lisa Frohlich."></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>Five years ago, jewelry designer Lisa Frohlich moved from New York City to East Hampton with her familyand shortly after reinvented herself as a stylist and personal shopper.</p><p>Frohlich has since become the East Coast elite's secret styling weapon, working with a small cluster of clients on every aspect of their closet.</p><p>She only works with women and limits herself to a dozen clients at any one time to ensure she can remain high touch. "I get asked all the time to do men, but it's just not an interest of mine," she told Insider.</p><p>She bills like a lawyer, charging her clients $225 an hour for her expertise. Unlike many personal shoppers, she doesn't earn extra from commissions on purchases.</p><p>"I'm too busy to figure out what a store should be paying me based on what I've helped them sell," she said. "My clients know the cost is just my time, and I have to say, it's a better value for them." The most a woman has spent in a single session, she shared, is $19,000, though many clients regularly spend between $9,000 and $10,000 at a time.</p><p>Clients pay that much for her to imbue them with a distinctively East End affect. "Hamptons style is always wanting to look perfect without trying too hardeven when a lot of women get blowouts and makeup professionally done before an event, they don't want to look like they do," she said.</p><p>One styling mistake marks out every newbie to the area. "Everyone here wears wedgesskinny heels belong in NYC because they don't do well on the beach or in the grass," she added.</p><p>Brands she works with include<a href="https://www.zimmermannwear.com/us"> Zimmermann, which was founded by two Australian sisters and is known for its beachy glamour</a>. "It's not Dior or Gucci prices, but $700 to $1,100 for a dress, which for my clients is manageable without having to call home and ask about it," she said.</p><p><a href="https://www.farmrio.com/">Brazilian label Farm Rio</a> is another staple. "Everyone out here wants to be in sundressesit's the uniformand these can transition from day to night," she said. The retro cotton prints of <a href="https://www.ladoublej.com/en/">La Double J</a>, founded by Milan-based journalist and vintage collector J.J. Martin, are also another favorite.</p><p>Here's how a typical day for Frohlich during the summer season might unfold.</p><h2><strong>Mornings are focused on private clients, who pay her to do everything from buy new dresses to pack for vacation</strong></h2><p>Frohlich has 13-year-old twins, a son and a daughter, and her focus is always on them first thing. "I stay up late, so I tend to be a little draggy getting out of bed," she said. She takes her kids to school around 8 a.m. and starts work around 9:30 a.m.</p><p><img src="https://static4.businessinsider.com/image/60ef0856a8d8c00019b03237-2400/IMG_5244.jpeg" border="0" alt="family photo of parents and teen twins" data-mce-source="Lisa Frohlich" data-mce-caption="Lisa Frohlich and her family."></p><p>For around three hours each morning, she'll focus on appointments, whether at stores or clients' houses. In the summer season, her busiest days are Mondays and Tuesdays, as the women she works with will be entertaining house guests over the weekend.</p><p>That client base is evenly split between high-power, C-suite women looking for her counsel on both workwear and weekend outfits and well-to-do stay-at-home moms whose closets are more casual.</p><p>"I have two great clients who work for banks that I've styled head to toe," she said. "The big challenge for them is to be fashion forward but dress appropriately, without being in navy suits. I always recommend something hard and something softa blazer with a flowing skirt, maybe."</p><p>Another focus is trip prep. Clients will often hand Frohlich their itinerary, say, for a week in St. Barts and ask her to round up appropriate outfits for the entire vacation, whether a beachside bonfire or a snorkeling trip.</p><p>"I need to know what they're doing in the water so I can know whether it's a triangle bikini or a rash guard," she said. Then, she'll create an Excel spreadsheet listing every outfit, including the specific accessories, dividing each day into morning, noon, and night.</p><p>Some clients even allow her to pack on their behalf. Her secret to keeping everything wrinkle-free: wrapping each item in heavy tissue paper and tucking it into a plastic bag.</p><h2><strong>She's part Marie Kondo, part Manolo Blahnikclearing out closets and finding the perfect shoes</strong></h2><p>Frohlich used to primarily rendezvous with clients at their homes. There, she could pack their luggage, bring clothes for them to try, or help edit the existing contents of their wardrobe.</p><p>She worked with the one-year rule: If you haven't worn something in the last 12 months, it goes.</p><p>The pandemic, however, has loosened those parameters. When she encourages a client to jettison a high-end outfit, she always suggests selling it on a consignment site like TheRealReal, though she's always refused requests to handle those transactions. "It would really take me off the deep end," she said.</p><p>This year, she's also increasingly avoided home visits and instead suggests meeting in East Hampton village at the stores.</p><p>Often, the biggest challenge she faces is footwear: Women are often self-conscious about their feettoo large, perhaps, or covered in bunions as a result of years in high heels.</p><p>"In summer, they'll say, 'Find me closed-toe sandals,' and that is a bit of a challenge, so I have to push them past their comfort zone," she said.</p><p>She could also be tasked with buying gifts. "I have a client who buys expensive handbags as gifts for her houseguestsevery time someone comes, she buys the same bag in a different color and gives it to them," she said. "One time, I bought three of them, at $2,200 each, and when I came to her house, I sneaked in to deliver them. And she was having a dinner party and said, 'Come in, have some wine' and next thing I know, I was there for cocktails and a nice dinner."</p><p>Frohlich also spends time shopping solo in the village. A major part of her job, she noted, is to recce stocks at boutiques, pulling items she knows might work for certain women and asking the store to put them on hold. It streamlines the appointments whenever she returns, client in tow.</p><p>East Hampton's assortment of luxury brands is increasing: <a href="https://www.voguebusiness.com/consumers/post-pandemic-playbook-navigating-seasonal-retails-shapeshift">Tod's and Balenciaga just opened there</a>, as did multibrand boutique <a href="https://www.one1main.com/">One Main</a>. The holy grail, though, was Gucci, which just inked a deal for a long-term tenancy after trialing the market via a three-day pop up last summer.</p><p>"When I saw that sign go up, my heart was beating so fast," Frohlich said.</p><h2><strong>She switches from personal shopper to private consultant after lunch</strong></h2><p>She breaks for lunch, often grabbing sushi at Citarella, the high-end grocery store that dots the Hamptons, and then pivots to a desk job each afternoon.</p><p>This is when Frohlich focuses on her consulting business. Mostly she works with emerging brands on their strategy and stylingstartups cofunded by clients she's spent the morning dressing.</p><p>"A lot of them have worked hard in corporate America, and then they got back for a second phase of their career, maybe starting a dress or handbag line. They ask me what I think all the time," she said.</p><p>Frohlich's afternoons are admin-heavy, toothink chasing alterations with local tailors. "I get very defensive for my clients because they sometimes get gouged because they're summer residents," she said. "Shortening a pair of khaki pants should cost $20 and not $75 if they're a designer pair. I get really fired up about that."</p><h2><strong>By 3.30 p.m., she'll be picking up her kids from school and ferrying them to activities</strong></h2><p>Her husband commutes to the city for his job, so Lisa is the lead parent on weekdays.</p><p><img src="https://static3.businessinsider.com/image/60ef088ca8d8c00019b0323f-1856/IMG_8294.jpeg" border="0" alt="photo of a couple standing outside in formal wear" data-mce-source="Lisa Frohlich" data-mce-caption="Lisa Frohlich and her husband."></p><p>There are times, though, when her afternoons will involve hosting events, usually between 4 to 6 p.m. on a Tuesday or Wednesday to hit residents without guests in tow.</p><p>These could include in-store VIP shopping events with cocktails and music, or the<a href="https://modatrova.com/pages/hamptons-6-29"> annual multibrand pop-up she hosts once each summer</a> in her own backyard. Frohlich invites a dozen or so fashion labels from across the country to showcase their wares to 150 of the wealthiest women in the Hamptons.</p><p><img src="https://static3.businessinsider.com/image/60ef08dfa8d8c00019b03247-2350/Lisa at a brand event.jpg" border="0" alt="woman in pink dress standing in front of a pink cart" data-mce-source="Lisa Frohlich" data-mce-caption="Lisa Frohlich at an event."></p><p>Local designer stores often host private dinners at clients' homes, tooa tastemaker might have a supper with Armani for a dozen people, for instance. Frohlich helps out in several ways. "They'll either pay me to promote the event, ask me to bring as many clients as I can, or might just say, 'We have five seats for you,' and give me a percentage of the sales for the night," she said.</p><h2><strong>Her kids often cook dinner for the family before she spends the evening writing</strong></h2><p>After supper with her kidsthey often cook for her, with her daughter's special lobster salad and her son whipping up pasta primaveraFrohlich will start work again.</p><p>In January, she started a newsletter, which she sends to just 1,500 women out East. "I'm not a journalist, but I came up with some really great ideas," she said. It's become a passion project, though she's declined requests by brands to pay for inclusion.</p><p>She does receive countless samples sent in the hope she'll wear or recommend the brand, so Frohlich might spend the evening rifling through those deliveries.</p><p>Nighttime is also for social media. She admitted to resisting<a href="http://www.instagram.com/hamptonsnystyle"> joining Instagram</a> for some time but has found it invaluable for work. Her around 4,000 followers don't offer mass exposure, but that's the point: They consist almost entirely of wealthy women from her area.</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/day-in-life-personal-shopper-stylist-east-hampton-elite-2021-7#comments">Join the conversation about this story &#187;</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/red-wine-good-heart-health-benefits-healthy-cardiologist-2019-4">How heart disease created America's wine industry</a></p>
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