Lifetime, the home of Project Runway, has been expanding its fashion programming this fall. First, the network premiered the (now infamous) made-for-TV movie House of Versace on October 5; a few days later, Lifetime debuted Million Dollar Shoppers, a new reality series about high-end personal shoppers (and their difficult and demanding clientele).
Million Dollar Shoppers will conclude its first six-episode run tomorrow night. Ahead of the finale, we spoke with personal shopping duo and longtime friends, Gregg Asher and Tayler Carson Sandvick. The only cast members to work as a team, Gregg and Tayler have an easy, goofy rapport and a playful sense of style, with an eye to capital-F Fashion (Christopher Kane is a fan).
Below, Gregg and Tayler tell us about building careers as personal shoppers, filming a show, dealing with challenging clients, buying Saint Laurent and getting sick of trends.
theFashionSpot: How did you both get started as personal shoppers?
Tayler Carson Sandvick: I got started fresh out of college. My degree was in journalism and fashion PR. I had just moved to Dallas, because I'd gotten married. And my first job out of college was Dior. So, I started with this full couturier background, and I started building a network of clients from Dior. And after I left Dior, I started doing fashion PR, I started blogging. I worked for an Internet fashion publication and started going to New York all the time. Eventually my career landed me in New York. I was fashion blogging, I was writing and then I started to build a clientele of people who wanted to work with me outside of blogging and wanted me to style them. So it was a natural progression for me.
Gregg and I go back ten years. He and I hit the scene together, in a social way. He and I always had this different, yet complimentary, sense of style. And so being friends and loving fashion so much, it was just a natural fit for us to work together. Everything happened organically. It wasn't strategically planned, it kind of happened, and it's been this beautiful partnership ever since.
Gregg: The story went the way Tayler said. I moved to Dallas a little bit before Tayler did and I went to the opening of Dior. We were kind of kindred spirits. Like a long-lost sister, or something like that. And so we started hanging out, and she was telling me about some of the clients that she had and then we'd go shopping together. When she moved to New York, she needed help with some of her existing gala clients, so she was like, "Will you go pick up this?" And blah, blah, blah. Who doesn't love to shop with someone else's money? So we kind of went from there and when I would go to New York to attend Fashion Week, we would hook up and do some stuff up here. Then, she moved back. So we just have been doing it, off and on, for a couple years. And it's just fun.
tFS: Tell me how you got involved with the show.
Tayler: Gregg can take that one. That was allll Gregory.
Gregg: I had a girlfriend who tried out for the New York Housewives show. I was going to be helping her with that and the casting person — with True Entertainment — kept me on the roster for a fashion show, because she knew that my angle was fashion — that was where my passion was. My friend didn't end up on the show, but [True Entertainment] held on to my name for four years. They offered some other projects, including a show about a fashion kid that was killing wild boar in South Texas and some crazy shit like that (I even really honestly thought about that one). When this one came up, it was perfect. And the timing was impeccable. So it was like, why would you not? And Tayler was game. So we just went up to New York and did some castings. So it was an easy process after the four years.
Tayler: It happened so fast for us.
tFS: Gregg, do you think you would have done the show without Tayler?
Gregg: I don't think it would have been as successful or as authentic. I can't say that I wouldn't have done it, but the dynamic between us makes it so genuine. And that's what friends have all said — maybe I don't like so-and-so on the show, but knowing you guys, I know the way you all talk, and it's so you. That's the best compliment. It doesn't feel forced or staged to me. And I don't think either one of us would have been as successful on our own, with this particular project.
I'm saying that for both of us. It felt like the right thing to have a friend to do it with — and it really made it easy, because when you're dealing with a difficult client, it's nice to be able to turn to a friend and say, "Are you kidding me?" If you're there by yourself, you don't have anyone to talk to or bounce off of, so I think it eases the blow a little bit.