By Jennie Wong
The Charlotte Observer.
When it comes to high-profile clients, some entrepreneurs cultivate them, some stumble into them, but secretly everyone wants them. Why be just a florist when you can be “Florist to the Stars?”
But before you start chasing those VIP customers, here are some rules from business owners who’ve cracked the code.
The first rule of celebrity clientele: You do not talk about celebrity clientele.
Julie Tache’s Charlotte, N.C., real estate agency Homes With Cachet buys and sells homes on behalf of some household names (and behind-the-scenes executives) from the NFL, NBA and NASCAR. “I always make a deal with my well-known clients that I won’t discuss their personal business, so I would rather not mention names for print.”
Rebecca Stewart agrees. Stewart is the CEO of VIP Nannies, which, true to its name, furnishes nannies, housekeepers and personal assistants to some of the most recognizable and powerful people in Hollywood. “Part of the reason we are so successful in servicing A-List celebrities and high-profile families is because of our discretion and confidentiality. So while I cannot tell you exactly who they are, I can tell you our clients are Oscar-winning actors and directors, music moguls and professional athletes.”
The second rule of celebrity clientele: Connections matter.
Joy Randall is a Charlotte-based makeup artist whose business is literally famous faces. She has helped everyone from Dale Earnhardt Jr. to Fantasia Barrino to Trace Adkins look their best for the camera, and she got her start in the high-profile niche through the nonprofit National Association of Black Female Executives in Music and Entertainment.
“My first high-profile client was actually more than one. I was booked to do makeup for a Celebrity Moms Luncheon with NABFEME, so I had the pleasure to work with the mothers of Pharrell, Missy Elliot, and Ludacris, among others,” Randall wrote in an email.
Tache has also grown her real estate practice through her pre-existing connections. “I’m fortunate to come from a sports broadcasting background, so I’ve networked in groups with these folks for years. After 17 years of covering the Panthers locker room, it’s been natural to form business relationships with some of those players as a result.”
The third rule of celebrity clientele: They’re not like other clients.
Stewart describes some of the differences. “They tend to have multiple homes, each fully staffed, and travel extensively. They want the best and are willing to pay for it. And they will pay attention to every single detail.”
Tache adds, “It also helps to understand that, in many cases, you are also working with personal assistants, financial advisers, and other folks who help manage that person’s business and interests, so you need to understand the mechanisms of working with multiple people on the same transaction.”
The fourth and final rule of celebrity clientele: No “fans” allowed.
Randall writes, “Celebs are used to fans and will treat them as such. For business relationships, keep professionalism a priority. Be on time. Do your job and do it well. And don’t be too chatty!”
ABOUT THE WRITER
Jennie Wong is an executive coach, author of the e-book “Ask the Mompreneur” and the creator of the product quiz website www.ABorC.com