Sometimes I walk into a shop and am not sure to look first at the mannequin in the window, or the lush, well-kitted ladies that roam the floor in the garments, stylishly clad like a model straight out of the look book.

These are the ladies at one end of the rag trade that finish the sale before shutting up shop. An integral part of the retail industry, they are also a walking, talking PR machines for the labels they work for, looking good in the clothes, making customers want to pull exact outfits off the racks to emulate and subtley coaxing them to part with their pennies for that signature piece.

But, with this doll-like appearance, there is an art to being a good shop assistant and it lies somewhere between being helpful, attentive and friendly, but not too much of any of those. Shopping can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned shopper, and sometimes you just wanted to be left alone to sort through the racks yourself.

Our photographer Caleb Ming went out in search of capturing some of these shop girls in action around Melbourne, looking good while they work. Here's what he got.