Abbie started Lifestyle Elements way back in 2004 when she was 23 and still Abbie Martin, not Allen! Pre-facebook. Pre-twitter. Pre-iPhone. Thanks goodness it wasn’t pre-internet, or this business may never have started.
Nanny to Concierge
The story really stared three or four years before however. Whilst Abbie was studying Marketing at University she was a Nanny to a gorgeous 5-year-old girl. Her Mum was a busy executive turned businesses owner, as well as being a single Mum. Thus, instead of just looking after the 5-year-old, Abbie was also given wider responsibilities such as organising the carpet cleaners, delivering packages, doing the grocery shopping or pet sitting. One day, while Abbie was busy ironing, one of her employer’s friends came in and said “gee, I wish I had someone like you!” Now Abbie knew she wasn’t just talking about the ironing (Abbie’s ironing is nowhere near as good as the job our ironing ladies now do!). No, Abbie’s mind was ticking over as she realised that there must be a lot of other busy people out there who would be happy to pay to simply get stuff done.
Abbie knew this would be a great business and ideas of how it would run flashed in her mind. Through her online research she discovered that yes, this was in fact an industry, the concierge and lifestyle management industry! Abbie tucked this information away in her brain for a few years whilst she went on to finish her degree and enter the working world. At around this time Abbie met Tim, a few months before her 21st birthday. Little did they know that ten years later they would be working together in their own business!
It wasn’t until 2003, when Abbie and Tim decided to spend ten months together on a European working holiday, that Abbie once again thought of her personal concierge business idea. Travelling on a bus in England, as she stared out the window at the rolling hills and green woods, Abbie realised when she got home, she had no job waiting for her, no mortgage to pay, and only her own fear stopping her from starting her business! For the next 6 months, 5 of which were spent on that European working holiday, Abbie started planning and note taking and brainstorming and designing – the personal concierge business she was going to start when she returned. If you’re wondering, at that stage the business was going to be called “In The Bag” – you know, “we’ve got it in the bag!” Not bad, not bad, but just not quite right!
The couple returned home and Abbie set up her huge, grey PC in Tim’s room at his parents. Here the real start happened, as Abbie prepared for the life unknown, before Lifestyle Elements was officially launched on February 1st 2004. Abbie was excited, nervous and had no idea what she was in for! Yet being young, in Abbie’s mind, meant that she had nothing to lose, everything to gain, and had plenty enough reason to ask tonnes of stupid questions – and she did!
When We Officially Became A Family Business
Over the years the business had grown, we’ve taken on staff, Tim and Abbie got married, and we moved into an office. Then, in early 2010, Abbie got pregnant! It was planned. Yet not matter what, no amount of planning can really prepare you for the day when you find out you are pregnant. You are over the moon, picturing your baby bump, and tiny, tiny clothes. Then you start to wonder, 9 months from now, who on earth is going to run the business while Abbie’s on ‘maternity leave’? After a lot of tooing and froing it was finally decided, at Tim’s suggestion, that he quit his job and come into the business.
Four weeks before Harper was due, Tim became an official staff member of Lifestyle Elements (of course, he had been unofficial support staff for years). Pretty much that same day we found out we would be having the baby in two weeks, not four. We were given an induction date, and the next fortnight was spent getting Tim up to speed and preparing for two large weekend Christmas events. Oh, and getting organised for the imminent arrival of our bundle of joy! Many people joked “trust you Abbie to have your birth booked in the diary two weeks prior!” and in one respect this was a huge bonus as it put the pressure to just get everything done. On December 21st 2010, at 12:30pm, Harper Lilian Allen arrived, and the newest member of our family, and business, was here. We’ve now since welcomed Sadie Monica Allen to the family, 23rd June 2014.
Why We Love What We Do
Knowing that we are truly making a difference in people’s lives, their day-to-day, hectic lives, is the number one reason we love what we do. Lifestyle Elements is able to offer our clients a practical service that ultimately improves their lives. Whether it is knowing their fridge and pantry is always going to be stocked, that their Mum is going to get to her doctor’s appointment on time, or that they have someone to call when the dramas of life happen, we are here to genuinely help our clients, and it is why we love what we do! I mean, who do you call when the hot water heater explodes just as you are walking out the door to work? Who do you email with a list of things to get before you head overseas the next day? What person is going to walk your dog, pick up a prescription, wrap your Christmas presents or book a limousine? A Lifestyle Elements personal concierge of course!
We love never knowing what call or email we are going to get. We love the challenges of last-minute requests. We love getting to know the families we work for. We love it when clients tell us “I was trying to work out how to do this, and then I thought, Lifestyle Elements will know!”
We love being your personal concierge!