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Five Minutes With… Georgina Stewart, Director at Girl Friday

From lighting your favourite candles for your arrival to booking your favourite restaurant, Georgina Stewart at lifestyle concierge company Girl Friday knows a thing or two about perfecting luxury concierge. We sit down with her to find out more.

When did you start Girl Friday?

I started it about four years ago. I’ve been in London 15 years now doing property management. I worked for a lovely company called Kelling Designs, for four years, where the founder Emma Deterding taught me everything. After five years with another company, who does very similar things to Girl Friday, I left and was unsure what to do. I got approached by a few clients and Girl Friday was then born – and it’s continuing to evolve.

What services do you provide?

We focus predominately on lifestyle turnkey, so we check in on a house, and if a client is arriving, we go and set it up for them. We put out food, flowers, candles – all the things you’d want to be there on arrival, almost like a hotel. So, when you arrive in the evening, the curtains are shut, there’s your favourite smell and a restaurant reservation is waiting for you. We do quite a lot of personal assistant stuff too, so if it’s a small trip, we can book that or work with travel partners. Having worked across events and travel for clients over the past 15 years, I feel I know the best in each field. I’ll give the client an option of three partners and then work with them over the process and help them negotiate the best deals.

Where are your clients based?

We have a lot in London and in America. I was also in France quite a lot last year, moving people internationally, which I think aged me about 100 years! If you think moving is difficult, moving internationally in this day and age is a whole new level. It was a challenge – but I do love a challenge!

Most of my UK clients live in America but their properties are in Chelsea, Notting Hill, Mayfair and I’ve just started working a lot in Covent Garden, which is a new area for us. It’s been rather fun.

How do you elevate your service for ultra-high-net-worth clients?

We very much listen to our clients, so we feel we can anticipate their needs. I’m not going to pretend that we can deliver the Harry Potter manuscript before it has arrived, but we have pulled rabbits out of hats before. We are very honest with our clients and I have a phenomenal database of partners that we have really strong relationships with. Teamwork, attention to detail and knowledge are at the heart of everything we do.

What are some of the biggest challenges and highlights that you’ve faced?

I suppose client expectations and things that are out of your control are the biggest challenges. We work with people who are running huge companies, so when you explain to them that BT just won’t send someone out to fix the internet for a week it’s always a bit of a challenge! Also, sometimes you just get 12 hours notice that someone is about to jump on a plane and everything has to be perfect. But I love working with people and I’ve been lucky to work with some incredible individuals and I’ve got to know them in a very relaxed setting.

How do you deal with the stress of planning?

I’ve learned breathing and Pilates. I used to get incredibly anxious and stressed, but I’m very lucky – I have wonderful clients. As long as you’re honest and they know you’re trying your hardest, that’s all you can do. There’s no point stressing about the impossible or things you can’t change. There is always a solution of sorts.

What’s on the horizon for you and the business?

We are doing lots of things with our American clients and partners – there are so many opportunities out there. And London really seems to be back on its feet again. There’s lots of excitement with the Coronation, and there’s a huge amount of foreign interest in the city, which is great for property and lifestyle management!

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