Get My Batsuit, Alfred!

Learning Curve

Because the industry is so young, there are few places one can go to learn the trade. Filing believes a good concierge is born, not made. Many of today's successful personal concierges had to learn the ropes from talking to other concierges.

Naylor is about to fill the concierge education niche. With 12 years as a concierge entrepreneur under her belt, she's a grandmother in this fledgling industry. Now that Capitol Concierge has established its services nationally, she's in the process of rolling out a program that will help her link partners with concierge businesses in their cities. Called VIP Desk.com, it's the first online concierge service.

One of its components is City Concierge Network, which provides links to concierges in local areas. Partners receive the support of a sales force and management team, plus a weekly update on what's hot in their markets. Naylor has counted 150 inquiries so far, and offices are being established in Atlanta, Dallas and New York City. "Our biggest challenge is finding great people who can execute consistently," she says.

Kraus admits there isn't a lot of mystery in figuring out what it takes to be a personal concierge. "A lot of what we do is everyday stuff," she acknowledges, "but having a concierge is like having a really smart person working on your behalf."

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This article was originally published in the March 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Get My Batsuit, Alfred!.

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