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Abbie Martin: At Your Service

Monday, 26 May 2008

It’s 5pm and a million things run through your mind as soon as you step inside your home; the grocery shopping hasn’t been done, the house is a mess and you can’t remember if you picked up your dry cleaning.

Wouldn’t it be perfect if someone had remembered to do all that for you?

Enter Abbie Martin, Personal Concierge and owner of Lifestyle Elements – a company that offers all the skills of a personal assistant and more.
“We’ve all got tonnes of things we need to get done, and most of us are busy working, or we’ve got family, or we might have a particular event happening at the time,” Abbie says.
Lifestyle Elements offers “a personal assistant to help get your ‘To Do’ list done.”

While the business offers services such as errand running, dropping off dry cleaning, organising tradespeople, cleaners and grocery shopping, it also provides traditional personal assistant skills for small businesses.

“We are a backup person you can call on to help you, for whatever, whenever you need it.
A lot of my clients tell me it’s a huge sense of relief, even to hand over what needs to be done. Then they can start focusing on what’s important to them, whether it’s their career, their family or another hobby.”

No longer exclusive to celebrities, the idea of becoming a personal concierge was sparked while Abbie studied for a degree in marketing. In order to support herself, she became a part time nanny, and found she was completing more tasks than a traditional nanny would, by helping to organise her employee’s schedule and running errands.
After some more investigation and research, Abbie learned she could develop these skills to create her own business, all at just 23 years of age.

Asking for help

In such a time poor society, it is unsurprising that people attempt to be everything to everyone, particularly women. Abbie says that a personal concierge is there to balance out your life to leave you with the good bits.

“[People] can choose to use our services to improve their lifestyles, improve their work life, their desires, and what they really want to focus on. It’s about providing our clients with a choice in their life.”

From business owners and executives to teachers and mothers, Abbie assists predominantly women to gain that work/life balance.

“There is no same day [as a personal concierge]. We usually have the regular bookings that we have in our calendar. Then there might be other phone calls, where something needs to be quickly typed up, or a phone call needs to be made. I had a client who crashed her car and we were the ones who needed to liaise with the insurance agency and crash repairers on the spot, so it had to happen. There are things that are scheduled in, and we have regular bookings for clients, but we never know what will come up, what phone call or what email we’ll get, so that’s half the fun.”

A booming business

Across Australia there are between 50 to 100 personal concierge services, and counting.

“That’s a result of the word getting around that this service exists. In Adelaide it’s a little slower to develop, but I think that’s a trend generally in business. As we go, the personal concierge will become a term that people get used to. The trend is certainly there, and if we look at America, which is probably five years ahead, it’s growing dramatically.”

“I’m living my dream for the age that I’m at. I would never have thought that now, at 27, I would have run my own business for four years, and now be able to employ someone,” Abbie speculates.

On average her company deals with ten clients a week, who may vary from her total of 25 active clients.

“I can see the business is going to develop, and I imagine I’ll have more staff by the end of the year.”

While Abbie organises the life of her clients, she says she keeps her own life on track by knowing as many details as possible, being flexible and managing information.
“I don’t believe that people are naturally organised,” she says, noting that organisation is something that people must learn and cultivate.

“What I’m doing right now is getting the most important things done and the other things will follow.”

As for the future, Lifestyle Elements has big plans to expand nationally and internationally and to provide a global service.

For herself, Abbie wants to give herself the flexibility and work life balance that she instils in others.

“[I want to] inspire other people that what they want to do can be achieved. It doesn’t matter how old they are or where they live, or whether they’re male or female. The opportunities are there for them. So that’s my vision for the moment.”

And what a vision that is.


Helpful facts:


Pictured top: Abbie Martin, Pictured bottom: Lifestyle Elements Logo


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