Every day presents a new set of challenges for the New York-based concierge company Insider, according to its CEO Lindsi Shine. The company, which was founded 10 years ago, assists its high net-worth clients in everything from securing a coveted restaurant reservation to planning a citywide scavenger hunt for 300 bankers and hedgefund managers.
“Our clients are either business people who want to have access to anything and everything as quickly as possible, or the working woman who doesn’t have time to balance all aspects of her life and needs help with day-to-day errands,” says Shine. And while her clients pay top dollar for Insider’s services (a $600/month minimum retainer for five hours of time), she has no qualms about getting rid of members for bad behavior.
“I have a two strike policy. It’s written their contract,” she explains. “If I get a phone call [from a hostess or hotel manager] telling me my client was being rude, the first time I assume they’re having a bad day. The second time is a strike out. They’re representing me, and if it’s going to ruin a relationship for me, no amount of money is worth it.”
After ten years in business, Shine estimates she’s “gotten rid of” 30-40 clients.
Of course, she’ll also turn away “anyone who’s ever asked for drugs or indecent proposals. We rarely say no unless it’s illegal or there’s some type of danger involved. We really do everything and anything.”
To get an insider’s look into what it takes to make the impossible possible for well-heeled clientele, we asked concierge companies across the country: What’s the most outrageous request you’ve ever received?
City: New York
Founder: Lindsi Shine
“One time we had to get live chickens from Greece delivered to someone as a practical joke. Another client had a party and needed all these different Hermès products flown in from around the world. There was one item only available at the Hermès store in Dallas, and the only person I know there is Troy Aikman, so I had to have him go to the store, buy it and send it to me.” insidernyc.com
Founder: Paola Bortolin
“One client wanted to surprise his significant other with a certain five-person band at their hotel. He wanted the band to wear tuxedos, learn a specific song and then have them teach his significant other how to play the song on the violin. We were only given 30 minutes notice, but we made it happen.” liaisonlifestyle.com
City: New York, Los Angeles, Miami
Founder: Tony Abrams
“We chartered a private plane to do a party at the Kentucky Derby, and the client wanted to serve Kobe Beef…but there wasn’t any Kobe Beef available in Kentucky. So we had to fly the plane back to New York, load it up with Kobe Beef and send it back to the Derby.” fourhundred.com
Founder: Robert Anderson
“I had a new client that fell in love with a jacket on the runway at New York Fashion Week. It was Thursday and she wanted it for an event on Saturday. I tracked down the designer who had the jacket with him in Miami, so I sent one of our employees to Miami to get the jacket for the client and deliver it by Saturday.” ralifestyle.com