Elton John at your next party? This entrepreneur will arrange just about anything…for a price.
(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)
Would you like Elton John to perform at your next private party? A carpet that covers an entire beach so your wedding guests don’t get sandy feet? How about tickets to a sold-out show, a table at a hot new restaurant or a simple bouquet of “flowers” made from 100 folded 1,000 Hong Kong dollar notes, so you can give to your partner on Valentine’s Day? Or maybe you want to spend $40 million – yes $40 million – on a party for your friends so they can watch you propose marriage to your girlfriend like a Saudi prince once did. (She said yes. Phew!)
“We made it happen,” Aaron Simpson, the chief executive and co-founder of Quintessentially told the BBC. Simpson’s company has been basking in these days of billionaire excess.
Quintessentially is a concierge firm. You call them when you need something done. Anything. And, like Simpson says, they make it happen. While the company doesn’t reveal actual numbers, it’s estimated that last year the firm, who employs 2,500 “lifestyle managers,” grossed in excess of $193 million while providing services at its more than 70 offices around the world. The BBC also estimates that the firm serves about 100,000 customers including 800 billionaires who pay up to $193,000 a year for not just party planning, but a variety of public relations and strategic marketing services to help promote their products and services.
“We can arrange most things – unless of course it is illegal or there is a moral objection to it, and that very rarely happens – perhaps once or twice a year,” Simpson said in the BBC report. “But otherwise everything is pretty solvable.”
Simpson, an East London native and a former film producer, started up the company in 2000 after joining up with two of his friends and raising outside capital. He grew the business primarily through word of mouth and reportedly counts among his clients Madonna, Richard Branson, JK Rowling, P Diddy and numerous brands like Ferrari, Channel, Gucci and British Airways. The company has ambitious growth plans for the future, including the building of a giant $272 million “super-yacht” – a floating, 100-room private club that will move around the world to provide luxury accommodation when hotels are booked for events.
One way you can tell you’ve succeeded is when others copy you. According to an industry expert, Quintessentially is part of a growing luxury concierge service industry catering to the uber-wealthy.On a personal note, Elton John did not appear at my 50th birthday party, but we did celebrate at a local restaurant and it was very nice.