Marketing Week (MW): How have the demands of high net worth individuals changed since you founded the business?
Ben Elliot (BE): When we founded Quintessentially in 2000, the focus of the business was on delivering a proactive and dedicated service. That has not changed in 11 years. HNW individuals demand the very best, whenever and wherever they are. Since we launched our membership base has transformed and with offices in over 60 cities globally we’re able to cater to their demands across the globe. To ensure we were able to deliver this sort of dedicated service, we spent time hand-picking experts in every luxury division and now we have teams of experts in every industry.
MW: When did you realise there was a gap in these markets for a high-end offering?
BE: When we receive queries about where a member should invest in the wine market, whether they should buy a certain piece of art, where to book the most romantic holiday, how a member could get hold of a sold-out gift, or where a family moving to the UK should enroll their children in school, we wanted to be able to tell them for certain that we knew the answers. The increasing demand for these services drove us very quickly to know which high-end offerings were the ones to focus on.
MW: What has enabled your business to grow to this level?
BE: The driving force is demand. For example, we’ve been in Asia for some years now where the focus has been on tier one cities like Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. We have recently started to get requests from HNW individuals in tier two cities, so we are looking at opening more offices there. We’ve just opened offices in Angola and the Dominican Republic, again due to demand. While many of the offices are singularly owned by ourselves, the ability to join with local partners and form expert franchises across the globe has also allowed the business to grow at such a pace.
MW: Do you think there is an opportunity for mainstream brands to target a wealthier consumer?
BE: Mainstream brands target a specific consumer, and luxury brands have a different target audience. Some mainstream companies are incredibly successful at providing products demanded by their target audience, but by changing that offering in order to make it more ‘upmarket’ they may be alienating their core consumer.
Many luxury brands have started trying to appeal to a more diverse audience by offering cheaper alternatives, but it has to be looked at on a very individual basis. Certain products appeal to certain individuals and by trying to engage the masses, they risk losing their dedicated few.
MW: What lessons can mainstream brands learn from you?
BE: Know your market, work with experts, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, never break the trust of your client, and always focus on the service you deliver.
Our members always come first and we’ll certainly do everything in our power to make sure that we continue to deliver a flawless and proactive service across the globe.