L.D., July 2018: Florence now welcomes more than 15 million visitors each year. As a result, the city is flooded with touristy venues that offer sub-par food and shopping. Shop 4 It is a secret means to explore more deeply what the city has to offer, including those special places that speak to what Florence truly is — an old city filled with artisans, not just a 21st-century destination. Maren and Shop 4 It enable the visitor to find those unique spots that the common tourist would not otherwise find, and it makes the trip to Florence so much more vibrant. Twice, she has helped me find artisan jewelers to create beautiful rings that look like they are drawn from Renaissance paintings — not the regular jewelry that is easily found on the Ponte Vecchio, for example. Meeting the jewelers and bringing back authentic Florentine art has made my trips to Florence all the more profound than this beautiful city already is. I highly recommend having Maren as your guide — she will take your visit to a deeper level and you will leave with a memory of Florence (and, perhaps, some lovely items!) you would not have otherwise been able to find alone. She is absolutely lovely and generous with her time and suggestions.
T.D., Oct. 2013: On arriving in Florence you are confronted with an array of leather goods, scarfs, gold etc. It is absolutely overwhelming. This is where you need the professional advise of Maren. My two young daughters and I embarked on a wonderful afternoon with Maren to purchase my Florentine Wish list. I booked Maren after reading reviews on Trip Advisor. My husband and sons (who are “allergic” to shopping were encouraging us to employ Maren to take us shopping in their absence. A win/win situation really). The communication (emails) between myself and Maren were easy, quick and arrangements made very easily. On my list was gold, shoes and a handbag. We went to two gold shops before settling on a wonderful bracelet at a third place where they make items to order. If I wasn’t with Maren I would not have even had access to this establishment. We then brought a number of shoes from a small but lovely shoe store before finding my “perfect” handbag. 3 hours flew by, but everything was brought off my wishlist. Chia is the most gorgeous Pomeranian – who loves to shop too. If you want to cut thru the cheap, nasty, predominately Chinese made goods in Florence and purchase some quality, genuine Italian goods I highly recommend you employ Maran (and Chia). They know exactly where to take you and I guarantee you will have a totally productive, memorable few hours “Shopping in Florence”.
Oct. 2013: I stumbled upon Maren’s website one sleepless, jet lag evening in Rome. I could not believe my luck when my search for a personal shopper led me to Maren. She was quick to respond to my emails and asked pertinent questions to help organize our time together. Needles to say, in the allotted two hours I had purchased beautiful leather goods and had checked everything off my shopping list. Her friendliness and warmth make the experience truly memorable. She is a wealth of information on all things Florence/Italy. Thank you Maren! P. O., Bellevue, WA
Sept. 2013: We had the most magical experience finding beautiful, handmade wedding rings, which would not have been possible without Maren. She arranged for us to meet with an artisan, where we were able to help design the rings we wanted. Ours are simple with exquisite engraving, but this artist could have made any fine ring based on the sophisticated and lavish samples in the shop. Everyone who helped us was kind and caring, making the experience just as memorable as one would hope buying wedding rings would be. We now have beautiful rings and a beautiful memory. Thank you, Maren! L.S. San Francisco
From J.R., July 2012: Florence Shop 4 It was such a special experience for my daughter and me. Maren Erickson, our fearless guide, effortlessly showed the ins and outs of the Florence shopping scene. By providing her with our requests (ie. shoes, leather goods, jewelry, etc.) beforehand via email she brought us to her favorite shops–most of which gave us a discount because of Maren’s close relationship to the shopkeepers. She is not pushy about making purchases at every stop, but is rather more concerned that her clients love what they buy.
One of the most memorable parts of our day with Maren was our visit to a jewelry workshop. She allowed my daughter and me to take all the time we needed to look at and try on the many beautiful jewels encased in the front of the shop. We even got the chance to see the jewelers at work! Next, after compiling a tray of possible purchases, we proceeded to a private area to narrow down our options. In the end we decided on a very special gold ring and a custom made leather bracelet with a Roman coin for my daughter, and a rose gold bracelet for myself. The workshop is not open to the public and therefore these purchases would not have been possible without Maren’s assistance and connections.
We highly recommend Florence Shop 4 It, especially to those who have never visited to Florence before. There are so many little shops in Florence that having a “guide” of sorts was extremely useful. Maren is great fun, extraordinarily patient, and fairly priced. Happy shopping!
July 2012: We are back in Australia again, and want to thank you so much for arranging our shopping in Florence. We would never have found such wonderful products in such a short time if not for you. I cannot speak highly enough of you. You are a wonderful, wonderful kind person. Vicky
June 2012: I just wanted to tell you what a wonderful time we had shopping with you in Florence this May,2012. It was one of the highlights of our trip. I love my leather jacket and gloves…and what can I say about those fabulous boots other than just how fabulous they are! Mum loves her handbag as well. It would have been far too daunting to tackle all those shops on our own, so having your local knowledge was invaluable! I.B., Victoria, Australia
MAY 2012: HELLO MAREN, WE CAN’T TELL YOU HOW MUCH YOU MEANT TO US ON OUR TRIP TO FLORENCE. IT WAS THE HIGH POINT OF OUR ITALY TRIP. WE KNOW WE COULD NOT HAVE DONE AS WELL WITHOUT YOU AND CHIA. WE HAVE RECEIVED OUR JACKETS AND ARE THRILLED WITH THEM AND ALL THE PEOPLE INVOLVED. I HAVE CONTACTED MY TRAVEL CONSULTANT AT REGENT CRUISE LINES AND TOLD HIM OF OUR EXPERIENCES WITH YOU AND PASSED ON ALL THE INFO ON YOUR CARD. HE ASKED FOR HOW TO CONTACT YOU AND SAID HE WOULD RECOMMEND TO ALL HIS SAILING CLIENTS YOUR SERVICES. AGAIN THANKS AND HOPE WE CAN DO IT AGAIN IN THE FUTURE………………………….ANDY AND ELLEN, TUCSON, ARIZONA
May 2012: My friend and I found Maren through the Internet, and we were very happy we did. When we arrived in Florence, there were so many tourists and crowds that we were thankful that Maren would be leading us around to the stores, plus the fact we were on a tour and only had one afternoon free to shop. Before meeting her in Florence, we corresponded through email, so she was aware of what things and for whom we would be shopping. Maren took us to the right shops, and she and her little dog, Chia, had a lot of patience with us. Her expertise was invaluable and save us time and money. We would highly recommend her for your next shopping trip to Florence as we are so pleased with all the purchases we made in Florence.
April 2012: Dear Maren, My friend and I thoroughly enjoyed our shopping time with you. We thought Chia was just the most adorable and well behaved dog. You were so helpful and your advice so valuable. We love everything we purchased, and my friend was so impressed with the shop you took him to for shoes. The owner and a man from the factory where the shoes are made, came to our hotel to refit the shoes, because they were not positive that the initial fitting was perfect. We were impressed with how much they wanted us to be satisfied with his shoes. Since we knew we would only have a short time span to shop, your knowledge of where to go for what we wanted to purchase, save us time and money. Thank you so much.
March 2012: I am the guy from San Francisco Maren was mentioning. I am back in SF now, and sad to have left Italy, and sad to say goodbye to Maren and Chia! I am a busy professional gay man, I know what I like, I love clothes and shoes and have a good eye for fashion, especially what looks good on men. So I couldn’t imagine hiring a shopping guide before. But for this trip to Italy, I was only in Florence a few days before heading to a dear friend’s wedding in Trieste, and knew I was short on time. My last time in Florence was 10 years ago, and so I knew I wanted to look at leather coats. I also packed lightly, and knew I wanted an Italian suit for the wedding, and didn’t want to schlepp one of my own suits from the States. I contacted Maren knowing I would be short on time, and wanted someone to hone in on a few quality shops with reasonable prices. Maren was a dream! We hit it off right away, and with her guidance and in depth knowledge of the Florence shopping scene, I was able to walk away with some gorgeous pieces: two leather coats, two leather bags, belts, a gorgeous Italian suit and a pair of the most beautiful, comfortable, high quality hand made shoes I have ever owned. Thanks Maren for the easy breezy shopping, your advice and eye, and your great personality. A word to the gay men who love quality clothing: if you have the time and money to spend, want incredibly good quality at reasonable prices, contact Maren! Do yourself the favor, and skip trying to do it on your own. Maren knows the best places and deals, plus she is a blast to spend time with. Happy shopping, and thanks again Maren!! D.T.
April 2012: I can’t thank Maren and her team enough for being our personal guide in Florence. I took my mom to Italy for her 60th birthday and our favorite part of the entire trip was our afternoon shopping with “Florence Shop For It” – – they took all the hassle out of everything and made it the perfect afternoon. We booked them for 4 hours and needed only three and we found EVERYTHING on our list. When I tell you that they are PROS – I am not kidding. There are not words to describe how pleased we were with the service and their expertise. OUSTANDING – we would recommend them to anyone who goes to Florence. Thank you so much for making our trip so special!
Michelle and Maria W.
Oct. 2011: I found Maren’s website when planning my trip to Florence. I was impressed by what she said and the services she offered. I wanted quality shoes and clothes at competitive prices. I scheduled a date and time for her to help my daughter and me shop Florence. She was met us at our hotel, was on time, and took us to wonderful shops and stores. I was on the hunt for Italian leather boots. The shop she took us to was any shoe lover’s dream. I bought a pair of shoes and two pair of handmade boots! Our time with Maren and Chia will be the shopping experience of our lives.
Oct. 2011: Thanks so much Maren for one of the best and efficient days of shopping I have ever experienced! You took me to places I would have never found on my own in such a big, shop conjested city. I absolutley love the bags, boots, shoes and scarves you help me find. The kindness and “girly” kinship were much welcome too. And of course having someone who knew the shop-keepers and could speak Italian was a big bonus as well!! I would not hesitate for a moment to reccomend your services to friends and clients. It really did make me shop so much more focused and efficiently. Looking forward to my next trip to Florence with you. Sincerely, Kathy
April, 2012: If you are in Florence and shopping for unique items, you will not go wrong booking an appointment with Maren. She met me right on time with my requests lined up. I purchased exquisite gloves, a beautiful scarf, lovely papers (I make handmade books), some ceramic items and an absolutely fabulous bracelet that has hardly left my arm since I purchased it. Your time will be well spent, as she gently reminded the talkative ceramics artist that we had other appointments…The jewelry design shop was an experience in itself.
So my advice (and I am a shopper) is: if you want to make sure you are getting high quality items at a fair price, Maren with Florence Shop 4 It is a BARGAIN!