A Business That Gives You the Most Precious Gift of All
With our hectic pace of life, we all realize that this gift is time. Clare Barry, Managing Director of Victoria James Concierge, this year’s winner of Luxury Lifestyle Awards, knows all about this invaluable resource and can professionally help people plan and spend it. She will share her understanding of a successful and customer-oriented business, methods of surpassing competitors and her company’s victory in Luxury Lifestyle Awards.
Clare, please share the story of your company’s creation with us. What stood behind this idea?
I had been working as a PA to CEOs for a number of years. During my last role, I helped a family relocate to the UK. I assisted in finding them a home, schools for their children, dealt with the removal firms etc. Once the family had arrived, every time they needed something, whatever it maybe, they contacted me. It was them who suggested that with my contacts and knowledge I should set up my own business.
I have loved building a business and showing my son that anything is possible with hard work. Victoria James covers all of the skills I have developed over the years from previous roles. Creating and growing a business takes a lot of hard work, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I think I have the best job!
It has been very important to me that Victoria James remains a personal service as we deal with a lot of our clients on a personal level. Exceptional customer service is incredibly important.
Now with my team we have an amazing network of contacts and fantastic relationships with our clients.
These days concierge service is not a new business anymore. What do you need to do to stay unique and attractive to consumers long-term?
I think it’s fantastic that the industry is growing.
What I would consider our unique quality is that I know every single client; all of our clients are allocated a Lifestyle Manager according to personality and skill set, so the client receives the best service. Our clients always deal with the same Lifestyle Manager.
We also tailor-make all of our membership packages for our clients, to ensure that they receive best value for money. I don’t believe you can have one package that fits all. Everyone is looking for something different and it’s important to be flexible.
What, in your opinion, are the key secrets of leadership in this sphere? How difficult was your road to the top?
I have an amazing team that I work with, I believe looking after your team members and ensuring they feel a valued part of the company is essential. Being flexible as your company grows, taking on new ideas and trying new things.
Yes of course, I look back at things that I did at the start, that I wouldn’t do now, but I have learnt from them all.
In this industry there is a lot of trust involved, which takes time. I have been very lucky that I took on some amazing clients at the beginning who are still with me now.
What is the greatest reward for you personally in this job?
Achieving the unexpected! When a client is struggling with something and they ask us to sort it out for them, making our clients happy is amazing.
This year Victoria James Concierge was named the best in the category of Luxury Concierge Service in the United Kingdom according to Luxury Lifestyle Awards. What does this victory prove to you?
We were blown away when we were told we had won. Having our hard work recognized by Luxury Lifestyle Awards was fantastic and has made us very proud of the service we offer to our clients.
What are your goals for the future? Are you planning to expand/ add new services / reach new clients?
Yes we are growing as a company, but it’s important that we don’t lose that personal touch. We have lots of exciting things coming up!