It was almost 20 years ago when friends Ben Elliot, Aaron Simpson and Paul Drummond noticed a gap in the market – a need for a quick and efficient service that catered to the ever busy, ambitious and affluent community in London. It was a simple idea: delivering things that people wanted, for those who didn’t have the time, or inclination, to do it themselves. In December 2000, Quintessentially was born – a new luxury lifestyle management company that promised to facilitate everything from day-to-day nuisances like finding nannies, plumbers or gifts at the last minute, or sourcing concert tickets or restaurant reservations at the 11th hour, to the elaborate end of the task spectrum; organizing private concerts with popstars or US$20 million marriage proposals in the Egyptian pyramids.
It was, undoubtedly, the right idea at the right time.
Today, the business boasts more than 60 offices around the world (with four major owned hubs in the UK, US, Dubai and Hong Kong), a 1,000-strong team of expert lifestyle managers, a membership of more than 160,000 clients across its international network, and US$100 million in sales for the last year.
“We were pioneers in this sector and remain a true authority on luxury and providing the very best in personal service,” reflects Annastasia Seebohm, the Group’s New York-based CEO.
“We are fortunate to have an extremely unique ecosystem, and are able to offer expert advice, access and support wherever our clients are in the world. With specialized divisions in restaurants, travel, art, education, events and real estate, there is little we cannot help our clients with.”
Quintessentially’s highest ranking requests, Seebohm finds, are for restaurants, tickets and access to exclusive events. The business prides itself on creating unforgettable experiences, for both private individuals and the world’s most recognized brands.
So, who exactly are its clients?
“Our private members are discerning, curious and extremely busy individuals, and range from CEOs and philanthropists
to leading creatives. They are keenly interested in self-improvement and giving back,” Seebohm shares.
Quintessentially also offers its services to luxury partners from all sectors. It seems all partners and clients are united by one fundamental desire – to save the most precious commodity they have: time.
“Our private members are discerning, curious and extremely busy individuals, and range from CEOs and philanthropists to leading creatives.”
With almost two decades of unparalleled access and insights into the behaviors and trends of its high-net-worth audience, Quintessentially seems ever-evolving, reflecting the changing demographic of its clients.
“Over recent years we have witnessed a real shift towards more meaningful experiences. Health and wellness have become major focuses and there has been a significant growth in philanthropy-led requests. The affluent consumer today demands more than the tangible product; they expecta heightened, immersive experience.”
In June, the group launched ‘Bespoke Projects’, a one-stop shop for luxury brands to execute VIP consumer hospitality programs and experiences of any scale, anywhere in the world. “Today, brands are defined by the relationships they build and the experiences they create,” says Seebohm.
“There is so much competition for luxury consumers’ loyalty that brands are investing in this heavily and we are in a position to create multi-faceted experiences.”
There is no ask too big for Seebohm’s teams to execute, from bespoke guest itineraries, unique cultural and culinary adventures, to expert host, celebrity guest and on-site concierge services.
A recent brand experience spanned 17 days with 1,389 VIP guests and an 88-man team across 26 markets. All in a day’s work for Quintessentially.
Managing markets and time zones are part and parcel of Seebohm’s role as Group CEO, a position she has held since 2018. Having been with the company since 2012, Seebohm rose quickly up the ranks, first leading business development in the Group’s London headquarters, before heading up the US arm in New York, tripling revenues in her first year.
On her appointment as CEO, Forbes promptly dubbed her ‘The Queen of Luxury’. The dynamic British-born expat may be only 32, but her youth, she says, is an advantage.
“When you consider that almost half of the luxury market is set to comprise of millennials and generation Z by 2025, I’m effectively our target market. My focus is to help adapt the business and increase our offerings to this specific audience while still exceeding the expectations of our current core audience who are already extremely established and in their 40s to 50s.”
Her leadership style, she shares, is centered on presenting a human face in business. “I want to foster an open environment, where colleagues can be themselves in the workplace, show and share emotion, while still delivering to a world-class level.”
Seebohm adds that her approach extends to clients. “We are, after all, a business grounded in high-touch relationships – where being authentic, personal and true to your values, and those of the business, really counts.”
While the role is exceptionally demanding and requires extensive travel, Seebohm relishes the time spent exploring new countries and cultures, meeting new people, and bringing some of the world’s most sought after events to members.
This December will mark Quintessentially’s third consecutive year catering to the 150-plus VIP guests at Sir Richard Branson’s annual charity pro-am tennis tournament, The Necker Cup, held on Branson’s private island, Necker, in the British Virgin Islands.
“We are lucky to work with amazing brand partners and influencers,” says Seebohm. “Bringing our members together, creating a community and sharing experiences through life-enhancing events is a big part of what we do.”
Seebohm’s hope for the future of the business is simple – to continue to be the benchmark of excellent, personal service, while ensuring connectivity, authenticity and philanthropy remain at the core.