If you have more money in the bank than time on your hands and are juggling a successful career with family and personal life, you may want to consider hiring a concierge. The line of work once specific to the hotel industry has, over the years, evolved into hyper-individualized services in industries ranging from property management and domestic staffing to pets and pregnancy.
As over-the-top as such expenditures are, fans of hiring concierges consider them somewhat practical purchases: in the long run, people argue that through concierges, they’re saving time and work and even bettering their overall health and well-being. As we move towards a more service-oriented world, it is more important than ever to understand consumer needs and values. People now value services more than products. The growing focus on lifestyle has enabled lifestyle management companies to administer certain aspects of an individual’s or family’s lifestyles with the objective of making their lives easier.
Melissa Psitos knows the business better than most. As founder and president of Lilypond Services LLC, based in New York City, Melissa has experienced the industry from all ends. “After working a decade in luxury hospitality as a governess/personal assistant to high-profile and celebrity families,” she explains, “I grew to know and understand the unique needs and wants of private families. It became clear at that point that the next logical move for me was to begin to cater to them on a whole new level.”
While the majority of these companies offer standard services, some have expanded to offer clients a “tailor-made service” accounting for their individual needs and objectives. Boutique agencies, who strive to have a deeper understanding of their clients, cap the number of clients and limit them so that they offer a truly personalized and impeccable service 365 days a year. They are small in terms of their size, but their services can stretch to all corners of the globe. “I work closely with my team to design each client’s engagement while craftily bringing together our collective and extensive experience in the high-end luxury service market,” Melissa says. “If we weren’t referral-based or ‘boutique’, I wouldn’t be able to bring my knowledge and expertise to the services offered through the company, but more importantly, I couldn’t channel out my passion for serving the needs of this revolutionary market.”
For a monthly or annual fee, lifestyle concierge experts step into the lives of people who need things done but do not have the time to spare. Based in the heart of the Hamptons, the Hamptonite Club is the premier members-only luxury lifestyle management company. “What makes us unique is in the way that we only serve The Hamptons. This limits us to a geographical area but also opens the opportunity of being the market expert and leader in our field,” states founder Therese Lindstrom-Kamaras. “All our staff members are local, and we know everything Hamptons.
We have personal relationships with our business vendors also, which makes the quality control easier when we book services and order goods for our clients.” Therese’s clients sign up for memberships for the summer or the year, while the office manages all transportation, event planning, reservations, personal assistant services and anything else their client’s need while in the Hamptons.
For the one percent of the world, the fees associated with these concierge services might seem like a bargain. In fact, some pay for memberships with more than one concierge service, to increase chances that a request will be completed. At their core, concierge services guarantee VIP treatment anywhere in the world. Founded in London in 2010 by Lorraine Hall, Changing Expectations LLC is on the international scene. Founded on the British private hospitality industry code of ethics, blending California cool and New York trade, Lorraine describes her clientele as “globe-trotters by default.” Correspondence, extensive itineraries and Zen luxury retreats across all time zones, languages and exotic cultures play a key role. “We are branching out to Switzerland and Cambodia, and that is just scratching the surface,” Lorraine reports.
With these services comes a new mentality toward the help. They aren’t just following orders anymore. They’re taking the lead, sometimes guiding their employers’ most important life decisions — even something as personal as raising a child.
Clients are willing to have less power over certain aspects of their lives, because it’s easier than doing it themselves. Manhattan-based company Society Staffing specializes in sourcing and selecting the best individuals for domestic and corporate positions.
CEO Robert Wynne Parry understands the intimacy of what he does. “I’ve always felt that we are an extension of our clients — their homes, businesses, properties, family — and the quality of our service is reflective of that.”
Keeping up on industry trends and changes in the emerging markets is vital to the future of this private client culture. “There is a boom in luxury real estate right now. As there continues to be this growth, with more families owning multiple homes and properties, this industry is a real necessity,” Robert explains. Robert makes sure he actively follows the needs of the homes and the individuals working in them. “Whether it’s Smart Homes, new design trends or changes in the household management infrastructure, we stay tuned to any industry fluctuations.”
As the saying goes, “The greatest gift you can give someone is your time.” In this day and age, time is our most valuable commodity. Let’s invest it wisely.