Jul 19

Catherine Balavage interviews Ben Elliott on Quintessentially and charity.

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As well as being an excellent concierge business, Quintessentially also does lots for charity. Including at the historical House of St Barnabas. A beautiful venue where volunteers do good things for the homeless. Giving them a hand up. Not a hand out. Here, Ben tells us all about it.

Tell me about Quintessentially.

The idea came about when Aaron and I noticed we were spending more and more time connecting people which made us realize there was a huge gap in the market.  The concept of creating a concierge service available 24/7 to bring busy people a service that saves them time and hassle by providing expert fixers who are always on board to assist them –  from sourcing tickets to sporting events, providing access to the hottest gigs in town, securing last minute hotel reservations and travel deals, or simply booking restaurants.  When we spoke to people about it they loved the idea and Quintessentially was born.
We now have 54 offices worldwide, 25 sister businesses and this December we will celebrate our 10th Anniversary, a landmark that we are incredibly proud of.

What kind of membership do you offer.

The General Concierge

This general membership grants you access to the AskQ concierge available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for restaurant and club bookings, travel arrangements and all other requests.

The Dedicated

There’s a reason Quintessentially Dedicated is our most popular level of service – it provides our high-profile members with a personal account manager in one territory of your choice whose mission in life is to alleviate their daily stresses by offering complete lifestyle management. The Dedicated membership draws on Quintessentially’s golden contacts to offer you discounts and exclusive access, as well as advanced notice for upcoming events and parties.

Dual Dedicated Membership

The Dual Dedicated Membership will allow you to have two account managers anywhere in the world. This has proven very useful for business VIP’s and clients in the entertainment world who travel between two cities on a frequent basis, eg London, New York or London, Hong Kong for example.

The Elite

At the global Elite Membership level you can be sure Quintessentially will have the expertise and insider information to get you what you want wherever and whenever you want it. Elite members of Quintessentially are provided with a team of personal Elite account managers in all of Quintessentially’s covered regions around the globe. You’ll be connected to fixers and researchers in every major city across the world, all available 24 hours a day to fulfill all your needs.

The Bespoke Elite

The Bespoke Elite will provide the member with 4-5 Account Managers in their main travelling territories (Maybe London, New York, Dubai, Hong Kong and Moscow).

The only way to describe this is like having a best friend/Life Style Manager taking care of any last minute needs that you may have and working closely with our members personal assistants with regards any last minute requests you may have in any country around the world and working in a proactive way rather than a reactive way which the Dedicated Membership provides.

You do a lot for charity including raising a lot of money doing the ultimate cycle ride. Tell me about what you are doing at Quintessentially Soho at The House of St Barnabas

The cycle ride was brutal but fantastic! We raised over £115,000 for Quintessentially Foundation….
As for Quintessentially Soho – after walking along Greek Street for the umpteenth time, I took the time to stop and knock on the door of The House of St Barnabas. I had heard about its garden, and inspiration for A Tale of Two Cities and I knew it had a mysterious crypt. Plus, I knew it had been a House for Fallen Women.

The charity has called this magnificent 18th Century building home since 1846 and has looked after people effected by homelessness in some capacity for all these years. Three years ago a fire had gutted the House and the charities trustees couldn’t afford to rebuild it for use as refuge. So I got friends, family, employees to help and donate their much valued time, art-work and furniture to Quintessentially Soho at The House of St Barnabas which opened in October last year. It is a not-for-profit enterprise which sees all membership fees go straight to the House.

The life Skills programme that was up and running well before we arrived has flourished under the partnership. The programme is there to teach people affected by homelessness vital life skills that they have either forgotten or not used for many years. It is an amazing project that provides personal support through vocational training, teaching, work placements and support in accessing jobs. 

Quintessentially Soho provides unique work experience on site and a real working environment for volunteers on the scheme through the restaurant and bar on the first two floors.  Over the past ten months the programme has seen over 20 volunteers successfully graduate.   Statistically, the Life Skills programme has seen 50% of its volunteers moving into future employment and 48% going into further education.
What we have achieved there is simply amazing and I am incredibly proud of it.

What is next?

We have numerous projects in the pipeline – our most exciting is Quintessentially One. In the summer of 2013 super yacht Quintessentially One, the world’s first exclusive private members’ club will set sail. It is set to be the most stylish and luxurious way to the see the world, Quintessentially One is the first and only ship of its kind.
Next years charity challenge? Who knows… Watch this space.

Thank you Ben.