Have you ever thought about whether you are a hunter or a gatherer when it comes to your shopping style?
In this podcast episode (yes it was a very fuzzy video), Jill Chivers of Shop Your Wardrobe and I discuss how the concept of hunting and gathering from ancient times is still an applicable idea for modern shopping.
If you’d like to download it to listen when you’re driving, doing the housework or walking the dog, you can get it on the Castbox app (look for it in your app store – it’s available on both IOS and Android)
When you think about hunting versus gathering what are some of the differences?
Hunter Style Shopping
Hunting is more of a solitary pursuit (unless of course, you have an expert hunter like me on your team on a professional shopping expedition) whilst gathering can be a solo or group activity depending on your personal preferences.
Hunters are Purposeful
Hunters make a decision about what they want, go out with a direct focus on what they want to buy and look specifically for it, ignoring everything else around them.
They may also be a specific criterion for that item.
They find it. They buy it. They take it home.
It’s a purposeful activity.
They are shopping with logic as their decision maker.
The Comparison Hunter
There are hunters who are after the fastest result possible – the go in and get it, then get out hunter (as I’ve just described) and then there is the comparison style of hunting. Instead of getting the first item that meets your criteria, you’ll look at all the different options in different stores – comparison hunting – when you’ve found the best one, then you’ll buy that. It’s still very purposeful and focussed.
The Downsides of Hunter Shopping
Because of the expectations, you place on your shopping trip, if you don’t meet your goal – find the thing and bring it home, you can easily be greatly disappointed – even feeling like a failure (remember, it’s the clothes and the retailers, not you that are wrong). You can put undue pressure on yourself that is unnecessary.
Alternatively, you may settle for second (or third) best, just wanting to take home “the kill” for your time and efforts and so not be as picky and choosy as you should be.
Another downside of hunting is that you may miss the fabulous item that you’d love as your vision is blinkered by your total focus on your intended prey.
A person with Hunter style tendencies will maintain a clothing shopping list of what they need to buy, what they need to replace and will make time to take focused shopping trips to achieve these aims. They will generally only shop when they have to, when there is a need, and are less likely to shop with friends.
They are more likely have a smaller wardrobe, one that is more capsule in nature – finding the piece that goes with many other pieces to create multiple outfits. Unless, they buy multiples of the same item (loved it in one colour, going to buy it in every colour) which is often a shopping mistake.
Gathering style shopping is often more about the experience and often not about looking for anything in particular.
They go shopping, they look around, they let items grab their attention, they are prepared to fossick through the racks, they are often shopping with their emotions as the decision maker. They want to be inspired by what they see.
Gatherers are Often More Social
It may be more social (though not always). A stroll around the mall with your friends is a way that many gatherers spend time with those they are close to.
Open to Opportunities
Unlike the hunter who is more blinkered in their shopping approach, a gatherer is more open to opportunities. They look around and will notice more of what is around, and may try on and consider more different styles of clothes.
They may enjoy the stimulation of the environment and approach shopping in an unspecific way, with nothing in particular in mind to purchase, or have a vague idea of what they want, but vague only.
Gathering is Lower Energy
Gathering is more of a non-stop activity – it requires less energy and focus and can be sustained for long periods and doesn’t have the same pressure as the hunting shopping experience.
Enjoyment of the time spent can be the prize, rather than the thing you bring home. It can be window shopping – or as Jill call’s it “the art gallery method” where nothing is actually on sale and it’s just an enjoyable experience in visual stimulation.
When I spend time on a gathering style shopping experiences, this is when I find my unique and interesting pieces, most of my heroes are found this way.
Gathering is a great way to shop when you’ve got all your basics covered when you’re just looking for some unique and interesting heroes to complete your wardrobe, to keep it fresh, to add some zest.
Downsides of Gatherer Shopping
Gatherers get into trouble if they have the feeling that they have to take something home and will buy the wrong thing or just anything (in the way the hunter may too). It’s very easy for them to gather too much, too many of the wrong things, and make poor choices.
Even when gathering we feel the need to take home something for our efforts and as we see more, we may buy more.
Gatherers may waste a lot of time or not be specific enough about what they need to fill the holes in their wardrobe and so have a more haphazard wardrobe.
They frequently are unaware of what they already own, and so purchase similar items, forgetting that they already have something similar at home.
Or they will purchase another pair of jeans, or black pants, or whatever their “always handy” item is, to feel that their time and energy haven’t been wasted.
If you tend to overshop, Jill recommends not going on gathering style shopping expeditions – it’s like keeping lots of chocolate and cake in your house when you’re wanting to lose weight.
Gatherers often have a larger wardrobe and if this doesn’t suit their personality, they may feel overwhelmed by what they own, that’s the old “wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear” syndrome. They’ve built up lots of stuff, but nothing really goes together as it was often bought without a plan.
Gatherers may also try out more styles and stray much further from their style recipe, which means they have more bits and pieces that just aren’t making them happy.
Online or Bricks and Mortar?
You may think that one is more prone to online and another to bricks and mortar (or the mall), but really I’ve seen both styles done both in the mall and online. Neither option is exclusive territory to either the hunter or the gatherer.
What’s your approach? We’d love to know your experiences – both the good and the bad!