We bring you an exclusive interview with Aaron Simpson, co-founder and executive chairman of the Quintessentially Group.
After graduating from the University of Oxford, Aaron Simpson enjoyed a glorious career in film production; he initially worked for Scala and Rocket Pictures, and then he set up his own production company, Flashlight Films. Aaron was an instrumental figure in the Q Foundation – the organization dedicated to supporting charities around the world.
His strong entrepreneurial spirit has been the driving force in the enterprise and establishing Quintessentially, as a global company, and today it is an influential British brand with offices in more than 65 cities around the world. Aaron is the chief executive officer for more than 32 companies that have grown into a portfolio of businesses that cover every aspect of a luxurious lifestyle with a growing presence around the world. Aaron is a consultant and board member of several private companies, such as The Entrepreneurs Exchange, Non-Executive Director of the Moon Ltd. – 3D Virtual World 365, Non-Executive Director Idris Ltd. – Investment fund for entrepreneurial ideas and a number of other tasks that he privately own. Aaron is happily married man and lives with his wife in London and Ibiza.
W: What makes Quintessentially so special?
We are the leading international luxury lifestyle company, which launched in 2000 as a small London based concierge service, but we have experienced a complete transformation in a decade and currently have offices in over 60 countries around the world. The service we provide to our discerning and high net worth Members, including corporate accounts, is proactive and personalized, catering to every member’s needs, from last minute restaurant bookings, travel arrangements, and access to private parties, as well as fulfilling every unusual request and successfully connecting businesses all over the world.
Quintessentially Lifestyle can offer access to the inaccessible and can make the seemingly impossible, possible.
W: How did you come up with the idea of providing such a personalized and exclusive service?
It was conceived as a luxury concierge service for friends based either in / around London or for those who frequented London and didn’t have a PA or friend to gain them access to the capital’s sought after venues. A few years ago when we wanted to expand to become a luxury lifestyle group, we decided we would not outsource any services and would take direct control in order to ensure the best standards. We focused on finding the leading authorities in every luxury field. So far we have over 32 sister businesses covering everything to do with luxury including travel, wine, art, personal shopping, private aviation and public relations. Last year we launched a recruitment section, Quintessentially People, to find the right individuals to meet some clients’ challenging staffing needs, from PAs and personal chefs to accountants.
W: What were the most demanding wishes of clients, that you made?
No demand is too big or too small! Over the years we have had some truly amazing requests from our members, which is a testament to their varied imagination! We’ve closed the Sydney Harbour Bridge for a member to propose at the top of it, we’ve organised a romantic dinner on an iceberg, we’ve sourced the world’s most expensive bottle of wine, we’ve created a drive-in style batman cave in a member’s house. We’ve also arranged some amazing adventures for members wanting to see tombs in Egypt that aren’t open to the public, or to trek across Tibet and have dinner with the Dalai Lama – I’m constantly impressed by what the team can do and the amazing service they provide.
W: Which is the easiest way to become a member and the requirements for membership?
The easiest way to become a member is to apply on-line at www.quintessentially.com by filling in the ‘Join Us’ form. We will then look at your application and contact you directly. Quintessentially also, like any club, attracts members through word of mouth and referral. As we gather momentum, we anticipate a large number of unsolicited approaches.
W: Do you receive more exclusive demands from the east or the west?
I would say currently more from the East; recently we sent Balik Salmon to India, caviar to Hong Kong, sent Chinese food from China Town to Thailand and 500 macaroons from Ladurée in London all the way to Singapore.
W: Can you give us insight into look of your working day?
My working life hasn’t changed too much since I started although I don’t travel as much as I used to but that’s to be expected when you’ve been running a business for over 12 years. My day is filled with lots of meeting – meeting corporate clients, members, new business prospects, touching base with the various sister businesses in the Quintessentially Group that I manage etc. No day is the same which keeps it fresh and exciting – I’ll always be meeting someone new and interesting. I have to attend many events as part of my role, various award ceremonies, dinners and launch events. It’s important to me to keep abreast of all that goes on in the world of Quintessentially.
W: Who is the most interesting person, that you know, in your life and why?
Most interesting is very difficult to define. Most interesting because she is fascinating to me, is my daughter Sophia. I can, and do watch her for hours as she discovers everything new in her life. It’s an amazing time and one I cherish. Although I could do without the 4am wake up calls sometimes!
W: How does good fun look from the perspective of people like yourself?
Fun to me is new experiences, travel, the chance to meet unique and interesting people and companies, all of which I get through working at Quintessentially. Experiences are key – whether it’s discovering a new city with some insider guidance from the local Quintessentially team, or learning a new skill – I recently took part in a skydive for the Quintessentially Foundation which was amazing! I enjoy the people I work with, and spending time with family and friends and I love living in London – there’s something new and fun to see everywhere you look and I’m constantly trying the latest restaurant or theatre opening.
W: Do you have queries which include Croatia and what then do you recommend?
Yes. If it is a Q Adriatic member who already knows alot about the best destinations and spots we do have secret gems up our sleeves. For example, small family run restaurants on inaccessible parts on one of over 1000 islands, offering fresh fish caught the very same day and hidden wine cellars. Also we often arrange one-off bespoke experiences such as truffle hunting with an expert in the woods of Istria. If it’s a Q International member visiting Croatia for the first time, we offer the flagship destinations on the Ddriatic sea; Dubrovnik, Hvar and Istria, where we have the capacities and quality Quintessentially members are used to. It is not just the sun and beaches that Croatia has to offer but also untouched Mediteranean landscape. Relaxing in a high end resort on the Dalmatian coast, watching the sea flora and fauna while strolling the lungo mare, realizing that this might be the clearest sea you’ve ever seen.
You can sail for days along the coast, each day discovering a new and even more beautifull bay, and feel the Mediterenean as it once was. Q Adriatic can be your personal guide, always ready to provide the best service and offer localised, insider recommendations ensuring you experience something that little bit more unique.
W: Which event was total surprise for you (in the good way)?
Launching the luxury shopping mall, Esentai Mall, in Almaty Kazakhstan was one of the most challenging yet highly rewarding jobs Quintessentially has ever worked on. Working within such a different culture had a range of surprises in store but the Quintessentially Events team managed this with flying colours, ultimately creating a memorable, wow factor luxury event widely publicised around the world.
W: What is your current challenge in life?
Finding enough time in the working day to fulfil everything I need to. London is so fast paced and it is a constant battle to find enough hours in the day to get everything done, balanced with a satisfying social life, which is why a service like Quintessentially can really help time poor individuals.
Author: Diana Mikloš
Photos: by permission of Quintessentially