This is an interview with Mary Babinski, Lead Design Consultant at FLandB, an Estate Managers Coalition Member.
Edited by guest estate manager Martha Lockie.
How did FLandB first start working with estate managers?
About 10 years ago we received a call, mid-June, from an Estate Manager in need of 40 custom colored beach towels for a July 4th party in the Hamptons. Everything was received in time and because of this she asked us to help her with additional projects. In time, she was referring her colleagues to us for assistance and we developed further relationships with this community from there.
How do you work with clients who have multiple homes needing all new bed, bath and table linens?
Every estate is unique. We understand that one size does not fit all, and approach every project with versatility to meet the Estate Manager’s needs. We would initially want to have a quick phone conversation to get to know them and learn about the project.
At that time, we would find out what challenges, if any, that they currently face when ordering linens for all the homes. It is that first conversation that will help us set the course for our next steps of working together. Many times, they can simply email us images of the space, and we will in turn reply with our recommendations.
If only replenishments are required, this process very simple. If assistance is needed to help select fabric options that coordinate with the interior, we will suggest various luxury brands and styles. We will then send complimentary fabric swatch samples to the Estate Manager wherever they are in the world.
What do you need from the estate manager in order to maintain inventory levels?
How much lead time do you need for a project this large? For replenishing a current home, we would help to build a list of the current inventory and note the minimum stock levels that they would like to keep. For all projects, the lead time depends on if the Estate Manager would like stocked or custom, made-to-order, linens. For stocked items, the turnaround can be within 24 to 48 hours. For custom, made-to-order, items the lead time varies by brand.
What do you enjoy about working estate managers?
We enjoy the process of getting to know them, building trusting relationships and understanding the needs of the estates they manage. Although it may seem cliché’, we truly love what we do and feel a great sense of pride in making sure that the Estate Manager shines in the eyes of their principal. It is important that they feel comfortable contacting us for any reason. No request is too small.
I know you have 24/7 online ordering. How fast can homes receive their linens?
We actually find that most Estate Managers prefer to email us a list of what is needed and then we will provide them with a quotation for their review. After the order is placed, if there is no rush, our company will pay for all shipping costs within the Continental U.S. If needed, items can be express shipped anywhere in the world. Many estates have their own UPS, Fed. Ex., or DHL accounts that can be billed for expedited shipping.
If a yacht is in dire need of blankets and moored in a very out-of-the-way locale, how would you go about getting them to the ship asap?
We will quickly provide style, size and color options in order to help them find the best blanket to meet their needs. Because there is always stock availability with our “go-to” luxury brands, like Coyuchi, Sferra, Matouk, and Yves Delorme, we can have items shipped within 24 to 48 hours if needed. We then work with Chief Stew to determine their preferred method of shipping and make it happen.
I’m so grateful and humbled to share the news that I’ve been named one of Los Angeles Power Players of 2017 by Modern Luxury Angeleno! See the full feature and complete list of Power Players in the digital issue.
Thank you all for your continuous support and thanks to Angeleno publisher Christopher Gialanella and team Modern Luxury for the recognition, as well as photographer Vincent Vallejo.
The Monaco Consulate in New York hosted EMC NYC in conjunction with the Monaco Yacht Show for a wonderful event.
With the support of Her Excellency Maguy Maccario Doyle, Ambassador of Monaco, Gildo Pallanca Pastor, General Consul, and the Monaco Convention Bureau, the first evening reception held at the Consulate of Monaco hosted around 80 privileged guests, members of American associations of asset managers for wealthy clients or the personal assistants of celebrities from Los Angeles and New York.
Here are some scenes from the evening sponsored by Ulysse Nardin. Thank you for hosting us!
Photos by Suzanne Vreeland.
Edited by guest estate manager Martha Lockie.
Jeremy King and Chris Corbin of Corbin & King in London, have created their first hotel together, The Beaumont.
Located in the heart of Mayfair, this 5-star hotel expresses luxury, creativity and a sovereign sense of hospitality. Not only does this art deco inspired hotel boast personally styled rooms, but it is also home to sculptor Anthony Gormley’s “ROOM,” 742 square feet of luxury, art and architecture.
“ROOM” includes a geometric sculpture, which extends from the hotel and contains the dark, oak clad bedroom. Sculpting Darkness is how the artist describes this area: the only window is above the bed and a long hallway/stairway with black curtains separates the sleeping area from the rest of the suite. This creates a meditative, cave like space perfect for guests who want an alternative state of consciousness or a pitch-black chamber, ideal for overcoming jet lag with some deep sleep.
The Beaumont’s American Bar, Colony Grill Room, Lotos Room (for fine dining) and the exclusive Cub Room (a private bar and lounge for the hotel resident and their guests), are popular spots for locals and out-of-towners alike. The Beaumont is located on a quiet garden square in Mayfair, has 23 exceptional suites and 50 beautifully decorated rooms, is also within walking distance to the districts museums and shopping.
The Beaumont Hotel comes highly recommended by Estate Managers Coalition President, Bryan Peele, who has been a royally treated guest. Bryan urges everyone to try their signature gingerbread cookies! See more:
Here are the answers to some questions I thought Estate Managers would like to know:
What qualities does the Beaumont possess that consistently earn you the status “best in the world?”
The Beaumont has been often praised for the feeling that it transmits to its guests upon a visit. Many express gratitude to the front of house staff for going beyond their duties, always being genuine and friendly. Staff therefore could be the number one reason for The Beaumont success. At The Beaumont we also like to think one step ahead of our guests’ needs, anticipate their desires before they even ask and also offer maximum recognition so as to make sure all our guests feel special and treated well regardless of their background.
What special seasonal packages will you add for Spring?
We will be sending our spring newsletter next week offering our guests two special packages:
The Beaumont Easter Break – this rate offers -15% off the prevailing Best Available Rate (from £370.00inc VAT per night for a Classic Room). The Beaumont Easter Break rate includes a simple continental breakfast in the Cub Room and late checkout, giving our guests plenty of time to enjoy the many holiday attractions and events happening throughout the city.
The Beaumont Easter Weekend – this offer allows guests to stay for two nights and not only be granted special amenities, but they will also be able to enjoy various activities inside and outside of the Hotel:
- Per booking the guests will receive Two National Art Passes, valid for 12 months and entitling to free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic houses across the UK, as well as 50% off entry to major exhibitions.
- A personally decorated Valrhona chocolate Easter egg, created by our pastry team and decorated by the guest in the pastry kitchen.
- Full English Breakfast each morning
- A room upgrade (subject to availability at time of arrival)
- Late check-out time of 2.00pm
Both offers of course also include the complimentary minibar with snacks and soft drinks that is replenished daily, complimentary Wi-Fi, local drop-offs in hotel’s in hotel’ vintage Daimler as well as access to hotel’s spa and 24-hour gymnasium.
What is your staff to guest ratio?
The staff to guests ration would be at least two employees per room.
Team building – how does the Beaumont family operate as a team?
The Beaumont is very dedicated not only to its guests but also to its staff. This is the driving force of the hotel and is responsible for the first impressions of our guests. Therefore it is very important to make sure that the employees come to work happy and enjoy their time here. Our General Manager, Jannes Soerensen, has come up with a guiding principle program that engages staff to be mindful of how they treat each other, our guests and taking care of the space as if it were their own. A team of dedicated employees from all departments engage in regular catch ups to ensure various fun and interesting activities are implemented throughout the year to make sure everyone in the hotel team is acknowledged and feels part of it.
Edited by guest estate manager Martha Lockie.
Elizabeth Campbell, owner of PawsOnPark, traded her New York City corporate job working with people for a business where animals are her associates.
PawsOnPark is Manhattan’s Upper Eastside premier pet care service and provides every detail of amenity from Central Park walks/runs, to trips to the vet, to sleepovers while owners are out of town.
I made my yearly trip to NYC last October and spent some time visiting an estate manager friend of mine. I met him at his principal’s apartment before we headed out to the theatre. Four Irish wolfhounds ran this home. They were as big as moose and ranged in ages from two to ten. The dogs were kenneled off in a mudroom when I arrived, but everywhere in the house were signs of scratching, chewing and general dog mayhem. Not to mention, it smelled “doggy.”
“My boss keeps me so busy I don’t have any time to take the dogs out for a walk or to the vet, and it’s all I can do to get them to behave. I need to find a solution before he gets back in town and I lose my job!” Luckily, I knew about PawsOnPark and contacted owner, Elizabeth Campbell, immediately.
Ms. Campbell has an extensive background working with animals. She grew up raising, training and showing dogs and funneled her personal passion into PawsOnPark. Fundamentally, she believes that pets behave better when they are well cared for; this includes regular exercise, routine veterinarian exams, socialization, consistent loving care while owners are away, and puppy / behavioral training when needed.
When your principal brings home a new puppy, PawsOnPark provides crate and obedience training so they can begin life in new surroundings with a solid foundation. No one wants to be angry with the newest member of the family and having a professional provide this structure is invaluable.
Walks, runs and lots of play are on the menu at PawsOnPark. Puppies and dogs of all ages thrive with exercise and play and will likely misbehave if they are unable to get their “ya’ya’s” out. Just like humans, their health and wellbeing depends on lots of fresh air, exercise and socialization. Because dogs are pack animals, it’s beneficial to socialize them as much as possible. Even if your family has only one dog, dogs like meeting other dogs in the park and on walks; smelling, barking, running and playing – it’s fun for them. The main reason most dogs chew the furniture, mess in the house and bark incessantly is because they aren’t able to release pent up energy. PawsOnPark customizes runs/walks to suit individual age and health needs, and offers weekend hikes outside the city for the adventurous pooch. A Paws Report text is sent at the end of every walk with a photo, plus any interesting updates so pet owners don’t miss a thing. A happy dog is a well-behaved dog!
PawsOnPark offers daycare and sleepovers for pets needing some extra loving care. When the family is out of town and you’re on vacation, when you need an empty house to do some seasonal cleaning, or when no one is home in the evening for feeding or “tuck-ins,” etc., PawsOnPark will take care of all pets with the same love and attention their family gives them.
PawsOnPark currently services Upper Eastside homes, but will soon expand to include other New York neighborhoods. They are also available to take pets to veterinarian appointments, as all PawsOnPark animals must be up to date with their shots. EMC’s New York Estate Managers can reach Elizabeth at 917-371-2687 and gather additional information from her website pawsonpark.com.
“Dear Mr. Woodley” is the column of Estate Managers Coalition resident butler, Crispin Woodley, who will answer your questions about all things “butler-esque.”
From proper introductions to thieving guests – to handling undermining children – to how to let Madam know that her outfit is simply inappropriate, Mr. Woodley advises with the knowledge and flare of European etiquette and protocol which only a fine butler understands.
Edited by guest estate manager Martha Lockie.
Dear Mr. Woodley,
My boss is always telling me, “Take my Tesla out for a spin!” or “Join us for dinner;” and last week he offered me the use of his Malibu beach house for my upcoming birthday party. Even though I would love to use the beach house, my instincts tell me this may not be a good idea. And, I don’t want to be rude or seem ungrateful. I was wondering what your advice would be?
Anxious in the Palisades
One challenge Butlers and Estate Managers face when working for HNW individuals is resisting the temptation to accept gifts and favors. However, handling this without integrity and restraint can spell death for those in our profession. Europe and the U.K. are more formal societies in this respect, and people are naturally wary of an overly friendly demeanor. Principals overseas are expert at practicing boundaries so this type of situation rarely arises. This is, however, commonplace in the U.S. and my experience is that saying no in the most creative and polite way, then immediately changing the subject is the best reaction.
I had a Butler friend in Beverly Hills, we’ll name him Harold, whose employer was giving him gifts and allowing him to drive the Rolls Royce. Everything was fine for a few months until one day his boss came home screaming about a dent in the car. Harold insisted he was not responsible and knowing his integrity, I feel confident vouching for him. His boss deducted the cost of repair from Harold’s paycheck, which was a substantial sum. Harold felt powerless to challenge him – which was proper as we are trained to “take it on the chin,” and accept consequences with grace.
Things didn’t go much better for Harold after that. His employer was now having him work 14 hour days and when Harold attempted to offer reasons why he was unable to stay late, his boss would reply, “Oh I see, you like me enough to take my gifts but not enough to give a little extra time.” Harold’s boss was a perfectly lovely man, however it is still a part of the human condition to give expecting something in return. Harold is no longer under his employ.
When being presented with gifts and favors, I have found it most effective to say things such as: “Thank you very much for your kindness sir,” or “you’re too generous madam, I couldn’t possibly,” Couple this with an excuse or change in subject like: “Shall I begin packing your suitcase now?” or “Honestly madam, I would rather use my car as it fits in the tight parking spots better and I won’t have to drive around for an hour to find a sizable space.” It’s always best to keep the relationship between staff and principal professional. After all, we are in the home, we are not of the home!
Spring is the time of the year when we naturally think of organizing and switching out seasonal wardrobes in the homes we care for.
Edited by guest estate manager Martha Lockie.
There is no better time to clean your principal’s winter wear before putting it away in the back of the closet or storing it at the bottom of a drawer. Estate Managers Coalition member Door-to-Door Valet Cleaners emphasizes the necessity of removing spots and stains before wrapping up everything until it is worn again next year.
As far as delicate and couture clothing is concerned; Door-to-Door Valet Cleaners promises quality and special attention, allowing Estate Managers to breathe easy knowing their principals valuable winter garments are impeccably cleaned and wrapped before storing for the next six to nine months.
Here Door To Door Valet Cleaner’s 6 Tips For storing your principal’s seasonal wear:
- Dry clean garments that you’re putting away, even if they are normally laundered at home. This is to ensure they are clean and free of stains prior to storage. The reasons for this are many; dry cleaning is a dependable process which provides a more lasting effect than simple washing, stubborn stains are easier to remove, the possibility that insects such as moths will nest and multiply in the clothes is eliminated, and garments retain a fresh smell when unwrapped months later. Door-to-Door Valet sufficiently removes all food stains, even those unseen, thus eliminating the scent that attracts bugs to clothing in the first place.
- Location, location, location. Choosing the right place to store garments is key. Beware of hot places such as an attic, heat sets hidden stains and direct sunlight fades fabric.
- Plastic storage containers with lids are better than cardboard boxes. Cardboard is acidic and the glue used to construct them is attracts insects.
- Many people believe that using mothballs is the only way to stop pests from eating fabric. Although very effective, the fumes are highly toxic and so they should not be put directly on clothing. A Cedar blocks work better, are reusable (purchase additional concentrated cedar spray) and they smell nice.
- Door-to-Door Valet suggests using their premium hangers when storing clothing in a hanging valise. Heavy items such as jackets and coats are best hung on padded hangars. Hang skirts on skirt hangers with clips (I drape a small piece of soft fabric over the spot where the clip will go for added protection). Finally, use hanger loops when the garment has them.
- Door-to-Door Valet provides museum quality archival materials to wrap delicate garments that are either couture or one-of-a-kind, family heirlooms, baptismal gowns or wedding dresses for a lifetime of storage. Door to Door Valet makes sure all garments of such nature are stored accurately.
About Door To Door Valet:
The Veera family stepped into the dry cleaning business in the early 1980’s and revolutionized a dated industry with top of the line equipment, impeccable quality and customer service.
The Veera family have owned and operated the flourishing West Coast family business for over twenty years. Door-to-Door Valet is at the top of their industry, proudly earning the title for Los Angeles of “America’s Best Cleaners.” Notably, each piece of equipment used at Door-to-Door Valet is chosen for its exact ability to deliver a superior result: personally inspected garments delivered to your employer’s door, ultra clean, smelling fresh and mended when needed.
Not only does Door-to-Door Valet use newest equipment with the most up to date features, they also own one of the only 1940’s Ajax French drapery presses. The Ajax press is delicate enough for high-end textiles, presses the fabric in a single motion, leaving the edges to be finished by hand pressing. It’s this careful attention to detail that Door To Door Valet has built their reputation on.
Estate Managers will want to know that certifying as “America’s Best Cleaner,” in the greater Los Angeles area for the last 2 years is an exceptional stamp of approval, especially where the high net worth employers are concerned. These top 30 dry cleaning companies in the country are rated on everything from customer service to quality of service.
Door-to-Door Valet covers every detail when cleaning and repairing your principal’s delicate and couture clothing. They provide specialty hangars, archival chests and woven nylon reusable bags for principals who do not want to use plastic. Their Beverly Hills store opened on December 21, 2015 and they have nine other locations in and around Los Angeles, Santa Monica and the South Bay. Estate Mangers will be pleased to know that Door-to-Door takes care of your employers delicate wear in the expert fashion they demand.
I’ve previously shared about Baccarat Hotel, my home away from home in New York. Last week, The New York Times published a great piece about glass attendants at the Baccarat, along with other “magicians behind the curtain” at some of New York’s most outstanding hotels.