Luxury service should be effortless and flawless. And that is exactly what we can learn from Bryan Peele, the Founder and President of the prestigious Estate Managers Coalition, a non-profit organization for professional estate managers. Apart from working as a professional estate manager himself, he ensures that EMC works to achieve its goals. To achieve its mission, EMC holds professional education events led by experts and monthly mixers with reputed guest speakers.
Let’s take a look into his insight into the world of the rich and the famous.
Q1: To be successful in an industry, one must be passionate. How and why did you choose to work as an estate manager?
A1: I’m not able to do anything well unless I am passionate about it. Passion seems to be a common denominator in all that I do, and that passion is the most evident in my chosen profession as an estate manager and president of The Estate Managers Coalition. I fell into the world of estate management quite by accident after a challenging period of my life. I was at a crossroads professionally and a friend of a friend suggested an estate manager position. She said “estate manger,” but what I heard was “estate planner” and almost immediately said no, until she clarified exactly what the position entailed. It was entirely unanticipated and yet perfectly serendipitous, because I took the job and it was a perfect fit for me on so many levels. The rest is history.
Q2: Can you tell us a little bit about the mission and goals of the Estate Managers Coalition?
A2: EMC is a non-profit organization that acts as the authority on estate management and was created based on the standards of honesty, integrity and professionalism. We seek to promote higher professional standards, develop improved business models, enhance business conditions and promote the advancement of the industry as a whole. We lead by example and we give back to our community and members through community projects, networking and education. We hold monthly mixers for EMC members and corporate members, and we create Master Classes where our members can learn everything from the art of storing wine to caring for Frette linens.
Q3: Like personal assistants and super-yacht captains, estate managers are extremely influential when it comes to purchasing decisions. Can you explain to luxury brands why UHNWI tend to listen to their key staff when it comes to making large purchase decisions?
A3: Estate Managers have their finger on the pulse of luxury and culture at all times, and we stay on top of trends so that our principals don’t have to. We wear many hats, and one of those hats is a 24-hour concierge. We know the hottest restaurants, travel destinations and luxury brands, and our principals rely on us to know what’s happening at any given moment. As a result of this responsibility, and once trust is established and maintained, principals will organically rely on their estate managers not only to maintain the lifestyle they live, but to elevate it as well. All estate managers are influencers and connectors and we always know how to find the best of the best.
Q4: Give us an example of a typical day as an estate manager and why you love your job.
A4: While no two days are typically the same for an estate manager, it’s still important to have an established foundation for each day, including a detailed house manual, trained supportive staff, and a multitude of spreadsheets and checklists that hold each member of the staff accountable for their respective “zones.”
I love this career for many reasons: 1) I am naturally adept at multi-tasking, and this job allows me to shine in that arena, 2) I feel that every day is greeted with a new set of challenges and obstacles, and being naturally resourceful, this allows me to utilize all of my skill sets, talents and connections to make someone’s life easier, and 3) It’s about being of service, and not to sound too cliche (but I will anyway), it was Gandhi who said “to truly learn how to be of service, one must lose oneself in service to others,” and I subscribe to that sentiment.
Q5: As an estate manager you have to know how to throw a great party. Any tips for creating an event that is memorable?
A5: To truly create a memorable event I start with a comprehensive understanding of the purpose and intent of the event. My belief is that less is more and that every great event starts with an event flow that I have created and outlines a distinct narrative with a beginning, middle and end. I develop themes based on my personal knowledge of the hosts, such as Black & Blue or 40s Cuba. From there, it’s all about hiring the best caterer, florist and staff to create a unique and distinctive event that will make people feel at home. Whenever I can create something special, I do, such as hiring a mixologist to create signature drinks for the event, or hiring a luxe valet service that leaves a white rose in each car at the time of departure. I believe that all of the little details add up to make a big impression.
Q6: In your opinion, is social media a great way to reach UHNWI and/or their estate managers? If so, which social network is used most often?
A6: The UHNWI’s I know and have worked with are not as active on social media, however, their estate managers are and they are a direct route to their principal and they are active influencers.
Q7: It is often said that estate managers guard the door to the fortress pretty tight. For a brand that wants to work with estate managers in the hopes of reaching UHNWI, what is the best way to get noticed?
A7: The best way to get noticed is the same in every industry – access. Obtaining that access to UHNWI’s is where Estate Managers Coalition comes into play. At EMC, we connect estate managers and globally recognized luxury brands that see and understand the value of having direct access to estate managers. EMC holds monthly mixers, which includes corporate members who want to showcase their latest products or services and network with estate managers. Corporate members can apply to become a part of the Estate Managers Coalition and gain access to this exclusive group. As far as I know, there is no other organization or service that can deliver proven results and access like EMC.
Q8: According to your personal experience, in terms of marketing, what is the best way for a luxury brand to reach the UHNWI? Should they spend their money offline or online?
A8: It is my personal experience that the best way to reach the UHNWI is through relationships, so that would most definitely be offline. Good old-fashioned relationships that can be fostered and nurtured directly with the estate managers who wield purchasing power over their estates and principals. EMC is the ideal outlet for making those connections, and providing corporate members with the opportunity to showcase their products and services in front of estate managers at our monthly events. It is a small international community, so if you win over the estate managers first it will happen organically through their social media engagement. EM’s are all about discovering “the next best thing” for families, so once they find it they want to be the first to share with colleagues. It’s competitive, but friendly.
Q9: What does the future hold for you? And The Estate Managers Coalition?
A9: Personally, I love being an extended member of the family I represent at any given time. I give 100% at all times, and as long as they understand that it is a two-way street and take care of me in return, I am fulfilled. As for EMC, we are looking to expand to create a New York chapter in 2015 and a London chapter in 2016.
Q10: As a last question, what is your personal definition of “luxury service?”
A10: To me, luxury service is service without being obvious that it’s service. It’s when things get executed flawlessly and performed with the synchronicity of a Rolex. That said, everything should be accomplished without the principals really ever knowing what is happening behind the scenes, it should appear seemingly effortless. Granted, the challenge is to always maintain the smile and cheerful disposition, which for me starts with gratitude for the job I currently have. If gratitude is my starting place each day it makes everything easier.