I am a farmer’s daughter from a village in Hampshire, educated at the Royal Agricultural College.
I was told by numerous recruitment consultants that with only 4 ‘O’ levels and a Diploma in Farm Management, I would never work for a city bank. My second job having learnt some secretarial skills at the National Farmers Union was working as an administrator on the trading floor of Goldman Sachs. I then went on to work for 12 years at IMG Media and more recently for private HNWI in family offices as a Private and Business PA.
I moved to Wimbledon 4 years ago with my 2 teenage daughters and found it very hard to integrate into a community when I was too old to stand at the school gates and only by sitting in coffee shops, attending local clubs and talking to a wide range of people, did I start building up a network of not just friends, but where the best places were to go in the area, where I could find the best facilities, trades people etc.
Wimbledon is an aspirational area of London to live, not just because of the beautiful homes that we have here, but the famous Kings College. More and more British and foreign homeowners are moving to the area but their natural inclination is to shop in Central London, thereby not utilising the exceptional business and services that are on their doorstep. With greater parking restrictions being imposed by the Council, the footfall through the Village is at an all-time low and my passion and drive to help the community and also utilise my organisational skills, gave me the concept of the first town concierge that I know of.
What inspired you to start the business?
To connect the residents with their local Village services in one of London’s most famous and aspirational places to live which is struggling just as much, if not worse, than some of the communities outside of London.
Set achievable goals in realistic timeframes.
What is the greatest challenge and the greatest reward in being your own boss?
The greatest challenge is trying to change set habits of Village establishments and to encourage those to see the bigger picture which can be a lonely road. My reward is knowing that I am setting something up very special and unique that will ultimately help lots of people and support struggling businesses.
What motivational tips can you give to our members about goal setting and managing both successes and failures
Set achievable goals in realistic timeframes. Be flexible that goals might need to change or be accomplished via a different path than you started on. Learn from your failures, see why they were failures and don’t be disheartened. Celebrate the successes, however small, as more of them will come.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a business owner?
To become a business woman. My natural instinct is to help people and it does not come easily to me to charge for my time or services and I’m having to get over that guilt feeling. It is also not to trust so easily and as there are those out there that will take advantage and to learn to protect myself and my company.
How have you benefited from mentoring or coaching?
I tried a government scheme Mentor but unfortunately did not receive the benefit that I had hoped and will at some stage be looking at coaching to help me with my presentation skills.
What advice can you give about the benefits of networking?
With the amount of networking companies and opportunities around, make sure that the groups that you do join, give you the right audience, support and potential opportunities. Go on a regular basis to build up stronger relationships with the group and meet with as many members for a 1:1 as possible, as you never know by spending some time with someone talking, what could come out of it. ALWAYS make sure it is a 2 way street and you are looking to give back as well as take.
it is a community focused company that helps people, it gives me that feel good factor already.
What are your tips for scaling a business and how do you plan for and manage growth?
When I wrote my business plan, I wrote my summary paragraph of where I ultimately wanted the company to be first and then worked backwards. My plans are therefore all written down and drawn in diagrams so I can visualise what I’m working towards. I’m making sure with all the branding I am doing now, the company is ready for that growth.
What does the future hold for you?
Very very exciting times. I am building an empire that I am going to be very proud of and because it is a community focused company that helps people, it gives me that feel good factor already.
Please feel free to add other questions and answers to the interview piece this is for guide purposes only.
Essential Concierge Wimbledon is a unique lifestyle management service that works with the Wimbledon Community to ensure their lives run smoother and more efficiently working alongside the excellent shops, businesses and local services. We are a highly efficient team of personal assistants, lifestyle and property managers who are able to work behind the scenes as a Member’s very own Private Office providing a tailor-made service to the individual’s business, personal and family lifestyle requirements and able to facilitate quickly, efficiently and with the upmost confidentiality.
We also offer an exclusive and unique Relocation Service, to ensure that by the time a client arrives in their new property, whether they have moved within the UK or from abroad, they will feel that they have lived in Wimbledon most of their lives. We work with every Client to provide an in-depth tailor-made package designed around their family, business and lifestyle needs so every preferred local service from schools, tutors, kids clubs, doctors, dentists to yoga teachers, cleaners and dog walkers are at their disposal when they arrive.
Because of the lifestyle of our clients, Concierge Membership is not just about offering a VIP service locally but also helping the Clients wherever they work in London, offering them business support to enable them to achieve a healthy work/life balance, managing their diary, travel itinerary planning for themselves or visiting clients, forward planning for corporate event opportunities as well as offering the best tables at restaurants, invitations to restaurant openings, VIP hospitality at sporting events and concerts etc.