New York City. April 16, 2020. At the end of February, veteran stylist and personal shopper Amy Roseveare unveiled a digital project a year-and-a-half and many dollars in the making: The Curated Shopper (TCS). It is a paid membership website that combines her love of fashion and styling with travel for clients seeking more-specific insight into Roseveare’s fave shopping spots. Think of TCS as the San Francisco-based fashion professional’s little black book of boutiques she finds worthy of time and purchases.
The only problem with the idea, which garnered nearly two-dozen signups in its first two weeks, is that Roseveare debuted it just before cases of the COVID-19 virus mushroomed worldwide.
“I had to cancel launch parties and all my travel for this year—six months’ worth,” she says sadly over the phone. Another casualty? Media coverage, since she had to tell her public relations specialist to halt outreach until the world reopened for business. (This reporter stumbled across the story on her own.)
Corona virus or not, TCS is a welcome concept for luxury lovers. Concierge services have long offered sophisticated shoppers a way to find the best of every category, so a personally vetted shopping experience—with an eye for fine jewelry—is a nice addition.
Roseveare developed her site after years of subscribing to the 41-year-old Hideaway Report from Andrew Harper Travel, a membership-based, luxury tourism-inspired review guide. In it, travelers learn about top destinations, experiences, and itineraries—similar to offerings on The Curated Shopper—but with a travel-focused hook, not the retail direction Roseveare’s clients crave.
Also like her travel peer, Roseveare mystery shops each locale and store to ensure they meet her standards. But don’t think you can buy your way into inclusion or a favorable review—there’s no advertising or sponsorships.
“Stores can’t pay to be on my list, and I don’t take a percentage of sales,” says Roseveare, who does earn income through the site’s $300 annual fee.
For Roseveare, the joy is in scouting out boutiques that might otherwise be missed. Consider Liberty in London, a lifestyle store she loves for its selections of home goods and stationery, among other items. “Most people just go to Harrods and Selfridges,” she notes about tourists to England’s capital city.
Though the Corona virus stay-at-home mandate has crippled Roseveare’s 2020 travel plans—“I had to cancel trips to Chicago, Boston, Montreal, Los Angeles, New York, Stockholm, Paris, Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Antwerp,” she says—there’s still plenty of recently posted content to digest and trips to virtually plan.
To date, shops across 17 cities are profiled, and some 125 stores are noted in Roseveare’s Shopping Guides and Journal (read: blog). Expect magazine-like layouts and interactive maps as well as downloadable checklists of places to visit. Drop-down menus allow viewers to shop by country, then by store type—accessories, home goods, jewelry, and men’s and women’s clothing. For each destination, she offers tips, such as where to have lunch, and sometimes insight into when to travel. In her Guide for Aspen, Colo., she notes “two slow seasons where many businesses close—mid-April to mid-June and mid-October to Thanksgiving.”
Jewelry shops get special attention, which isn’t surprising given Roseveare’s longstanding attendance record at the Couture jewelry show. (“I’ve been going for seven years,” she says.) Guides highlight both purveyors of contemporary designs as well as estate styles. In Edinburgh, Scotland, she advises members to check out Joseph Bonnar for its Victorian lava cameo bracelets, Georgian fobs, and “perhaps the most extensive collection of antique Scottish jewelry” she’s ever seen. In Orange County, Calif., she calls A’maree’s “probably one of my favorite stores.” The reason? Great architecture that juts out over water and a robust inventory of jewelry from Bibi van der Velden, Noor Fares, and Sidney Garber.
Write-up about a jewelry store on The Curated Shopper
Even Internet-only outlets get a mention. Roseveare opens up about daily logins to MyTheresa.com for the more than 200 designers listed as well as “collaborations made exclusively for the site,” she says. Bonus? “Items arrive at your doorstep in just a couple days, and they take returns for 30 days.”
Still, not every destination is a shopper’s paradise. For example, Whistler, British Columbia, is “epically gorgeous,” says Roseveare, but it’s not a great place for consumers. Instead of stores to visit, she offers readers this consolation: “Use your time to fully enjoy the mountain life.”
Meanwhile, “Map it” buttons will allow you to (shocker!) view exact addresses on Google, which will help you reach those stores worth visiting. Also helpful (especially now): the majority of featured stores have shoppable websites, which have become a financial lifeline for many independent retailers amidst the pandemic.
“It’s a great way to support independent stores during this unprecedented time,” observes Roseveare, who herself has done a little damage online. “There are a lot of good deals to be had.”
What you won’t find on TCS? A cookie-cutter-designed and poorly organized site with text simply copied and pasted from stores. (Author’s note: This writer loves the cursive XOXO signoffs peppered throughout the Guides.) Final offerings include no-nonsense articles like “Should I sign up for Clear?” and “What’s the best carry-on for air travel?” to ensure members will be well-equipped for any of the excursions they choose.
How Roseveare signs off on some pages in her Shopping Guides
In its short life, TCS has amassed some highfalutin fans. New York City-based stylist Joseph Rosenfeld calls a subscription “like having your favorite style guru and travel guide right there with you.” And renowned interior design superstar Karen Sutherland, from Santa Barbara, Calif., rates the site’s content as first rate. “The amazing personal networks she shares are priceless! She is my go-to when I am looking for something special.”
A downloadable list of stores to visit in Dallas from The Curated Shopper
Another client, the CFO of a tech company in San Francisco, told Roseveare she used her New York City Shopping Guide on a trip (before the city’s lockdown) and “explored neighborhoods she never would have otherwise.”
What’s next for the two-month-old site may be the one thing Roseveare can’t quite control: more cities. Still, she appreciates hearing from members about places she should add when the COVID-19 travel restrictions ease.
“I love hearing suggestions of where members would like me to scout,” she says.
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