NEW YORK—Back-to-school shopping is an annual rite of passage for many students and some adults, which can sometimes translate into joyless online shopping done solo. With Roxy Hauldren, a stylist and personal shopper partnering with Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, buying new clothes here in one of the fashion capitals of the world is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Throw in behind-the-scenes access to designer showrooms, tailor-made style tips and a Pumpkin Spice latte for energy, and you have the makings of a trip guests won’t soon forget.
For Hauldren, a Midwesterner who moved to New York four years ago, the idea of personal shopping as a viable career path became realistic as she saw firsthand how overwhelming shopping can be in New York City. There are a plethora of options available, but for the uninitiated, it can be hard to digest.
“I saw tourists walking out of stores with the same things, getting lost and overpaying,” said Hauldren, owner of Shop With Rox. “It’s such a big city and it’s really hard to get comfortable quickly with only a few days and then know everywhere to shop or where to go.”
Kimpton hotels in Manhattan—Hotel Eventi, Ink48 and The Muse—are among the participating properties offering this excursion, which includes a pre-arrival consultation and questionnaire with Hauldren; personalized digital lookbook or shopping itinerary; discounted three-hour session for private, all-access shopping tour; and an additional price break for Kimpton guests.
While shopping with Hauldren, she works hard to eliminate the “Pretty Woman” factor—not the part from the ’90s flick where Julia Roberts’ character goes on a fun and extravagant shopping spree—but the part where she’s initially unable to get the high-end service she desires. Plus, not every woman or teenage girl is able to afford or wants to buy $800 shoes on Madison Ave.
“I match the styles and personality with where to go in New York City and I create the experience for people visiting, so they can find something special. The things I’ve bought on vacation inspire me. The prized possessions collected from Paris or Miami,” Hauldren said. “I got the idea to connect people with the actual designers to take things to the next level. I let the designer tell the story and make the connections with people rather than walk into a store and buy off the rack. It’s taking six or seven designer showrooms matched ahead of time, so you feel like a rock star and shopping becomes fun.”
Hauldren knows shopping in New York is not for the faint of heart and she runs a tight ship, keeping track of time at each store and making stops for coffee or snacks to ensure her clients stay energized and content.
“When I first started, I would do epic, five-hour sprees but now it’s 3.5 hours, max. They leave ready to go have happy hour and on to the next big thing. I’ve got it down. It’s been tested with 600 women and I’m in tune with their needs. I know the ‘I need a cupcake face’ and I’m ready,” she said. “I’ve had woman say to me, ‘It’s not just clothes off the rack, you’re seeing the designer’s story and the whole other side of the fashion world.’ And you’re getting discounts, so it’s a whole a new way to shop.”
Her clientele includes women coming into the city for business, who, while on a break, take a shopping tour to get a large amount of shopping done in a short amount of time, according to Hauldren. Men also seek out her shopping excursions for their wives, sisters and girlfriends.
As a brand, Kimpton prioritizes making sure the guests have these unique experiences that fit the cities they’re in and not just at the hotel. Shopping in New York City is the experience many travelers fantasize about and the Shop With Rox partnership proves to be a seamless fit.
“I love the Kimpton brand. So many of my clients have stayed at the properties; they’re very hip and have the type of people who are booking my shopping tours. It was important for me to align myself with a brand that is hip and fashionable,” she said. “My mission is to make shopping accessible to everyone—any budget, size or color—that’s important to me. I have designers who design up to size 24 and items range from $10 to $10,000. One day I’ll have a lady who is 65, and then I’ll have two girls for a Sweet 16. The variety keeps my partnerships growing and interesting.”