SHOPPER FOR HIRE

Pamela Leonard is banking on the fact that busy executives don’t like to shop. She’s also banking on the fact that they do, however, enjoy giving gifts. If her two assumptions are true, she and her new business, Executive Gift Purchasing Service, should be right on the money.

Her service, a kind of a you-pay-I’ll-shop deal, was started on the side as a favor for friends of friends. The idea became popular enough that in October, she become a full-time gift selector. She threw a party for friends, friends of friends and acquaintances-mostly in the oil business -and made her services known.

Leonard’s company offers three services: a reminder service, a gift selection-and-search service, and a creative gift-giving service. The first offering is fairly self-explanatory; for $65 every 10 names per year, she will call a client and remind him or her of upcoming special occasions -a wedding anniversary, a daughter’s graduation, a sec-retary’s birthday. The second service costs $20 per hour, and she will either shop for a designated item or do the choosing herself. With the third service she will arrange for and create less-tangible gifts: a balloon ride, a sur-prise birthday party of per-haps a candlelit dinner.So far, Leonard has more than 50 customers, most of whom are reminder-service clients, so she will have a shot at extra commission when-ever a special occasion pops up. And although most of the clients are local doctors and lawyers, several of her cus-tomers live overseas and rely on her to prepare “care pack-ages” for their children who attend Dallas schools.

Although most of the bet-ter-known area department stores offer shopper services (often free of charge) Leon-ard insists that her service is far superior -she isn’t limited to the selection of one store, and, she says, she can be much more personal.

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