Entrepreneur Series Profiles for The Florida Agenda Over the month of August, we will be highlighting entrepreneurs of the community
and getting their take on building a successful business within the community.
Photo: Style Concierge with Sauvage Director Victoria Matveeva and Maria Lankina
How long have you been here? What brought you to South Florida?
I’m a native Floridian. I have been here all my life!! I love it and enjoy every minute of it!
Please tell Agenda readers about your business.
This service is for the individual who can afford luxury in their lifestyle but doesn’t have the time or simply doesn’t enjoy shopping at all. This service is also for the individual who feels they are not that stylish or fashion savvy and trusts the eye of another individual whom they admire and specializes in the field of fashion and personal shopping. Style Concierge also helps privileged individuals and companies in the areas of image consulting, styling for special occasions, events and shopping tours. Many people are unfamiliar with shopping tours. A shopping tour with Style Concierge is geared towards families and individuals who have a taste for luxury and are not from the South Florida area, are new to the area, or have been here for years and are not familiar with some of the most “exclusive” shopping malls, private boutiques and vintage stores. We set up private shopping for some of our clients, as well.
How long have you had your business and how is it going?
I have had the business for about 10 months now and it’s going great! I have been doing it here and there throughout the years working in luxury retail stores.
What niche did you feel was missing, that made you start your business?
I just felt like being a stylist and personal shopper is something that is very underground and you don’t hear about it a lot on the surface like for example, being a nurse, salesman, doctor, etc. There are a lot of questions people ask me about this business and how to break into it. In fact, before I started I had a book of questions. Many people, especially wealthy and upper class individuals, need a personal shopper and stylist just as well as they need an assistant, housekeeper or nanny. It’s an image and lifestyle to portray that has a lot to do with time.
How does your business benefit the community?
I make people feel beautiful, happy and confident. Confidence in yourself and what you do is a major player in “success.” Style Concierge is a role model to the community in the areas of image, health and beauty. We want to mimic people that at least look like they are beautiful and living a great, luxurious life. At the end of the day, I am making someone else’s life a little easier.
What advantages do you feel there are having a business within the gay community?
The gay community brings a lot of energy and ideas to my kind of work. They are fashion and entertainment! They display a lot of charisma and character, which is important in my line of work. Whether you are seeing a lesbian, a gay boy, a transgender or female impersonator, they are all inspiring! If you look and pay attention, you can learn a lot.
What disadvantages do you feel there are?
There are no disadvantages! In any community, it’s all about hard work, tenacity and who you know.
How would you identify your management approach? Iron Fist or more Flexible? What do you see as the advantages to your approach?
When it comes to building business, keeping business, customer service and clients, it’s an Iron Fist! When it comes to scheduling, looks, dates and times, I’m a little more flexible. You’ll find in this business that you have to know who and what you are dealing with. There are so many angles.
What do you feel about the idea that the summer season is slow? How do you combat this pressure?
Summer is slow? My business is steady. It’s all about customer service and taking care of your clients. They will work with you all the time! I normally save a lot, even when I’m making a lot of money, so that there is a nice cushion for slow times.
How do you think the community as a whole responds to your business?
For those that are accustomed to having a luxury lifestyle and are jet-setters, they love it and need it! People love new things, fashion and exclusivity. For those that aren’t familiar with this line of work, they wonder either how to do it or how does he actually make money
? Some people probably don’t care!
In your lifetime how do you feel the gay community has changed?
I see that they are starting to understand that they do get old and life isn’t all about fun, parties and dating! They are starting to take their lives and careers more seriously!
Do you see a positive change in attitudes towards the gay community?
Yes. We are all equal.
Do you believe there is credence to the idea a business geared towards the gay market is cutting out a major section of the wider community?
Yes and no. It’s about individual comfort.
How do you minimize that effect?
Advertising in all publications.
What plans do you have for the future?
To grow and nurture Style Concierge, Inc.
If you had an open check book, what business would you go into next?
A charity for kids who are gifted in the areas of fashion, music, entertainment and the arts, but just don’t know how to get the exposure they need or just don’t have the means to get involved. A fashion-only magazine. A monthly publication showcasing only editorial and accessories. H
Style Concierge is a luxury personal shopping, styling, image consulting, shopping tour and alterations agency for the discerning individual who enjoys and needs all things fashion, beauty, confidence and style. Eric Christian can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and online at www.styleconciergemiami.com