Have you ever wished you had more hours in the day to get all those menial tasks done? Or perhaps an extra pair of hands to help tick off that expanding to do list. Well, now you can.
Fed up with feeling like she was struggling to stay on top of everything, former corporate executive and mother Louisa Dyson launched Personal Concierge service Alice+Albert to help fellow time-poor families to better manage their own lives. Assisting with everything from grocery shopping and house work to pet sitting and holiday planning, a Personal Concierge’s role can be as little or as large as you like.
While the concept of a Personal Concierge service is not entirely new, it is still largely unknown in Australia. We chat to Alice+Albert founder, Lou to get the lowdown.
How did the idea of Alice + Albert come about?
I spent many years trying to manage a busy home and personal life with a full-time career, sometimes doing it well and other times not so much. Life was really hectic and I missed out on a lot of things, particularly to do with my son in his early years. It’s genuinely hard to keep on top of everything and do everything well and I wasn’t the only one that struggled. After I was made redundant I decided that I wanted to do something to help others that were in this situation. Whilst a personal concierge isn’t a new concept, it’s still quite unknown in Australia and it provided me with the perfect platform to build my corporate skills and own life experience into something that provided guilt free support for everyday life.
What is a personal concierge?
A Personal Concierge takes the tasks that you don’t have the time to do, the skills for or simply just don’t want to do and gets them done. Whether it’s a lingering personal or home project, an obscure request, your everyday to-do list or help with the weekly chores, no task is too big, too small or too crazy. Using our extensive network of trusted service providers we get things done in the background whilst you spend more time doing what is important to you.
How can Alice + Albert help the average person?
We recently conducted an Australia wide survey and found that over 75% said that domestic chores were the number one thing taking precious time away from socialising with friends and family and over 22% spend over 10 hours a week running errands outside of work. Our affordable services help with all aspects of these pain points through our Personal Concierge Service to look after weekly errands through to our Home Butler service, which takes care of domestic duties and helping you to come home happier every day. Our packages are flexible and tailored to suit each individual, it really comes down to understanding how much your time is worth and how much you value your free time. We offer free consultations to help you work this out if you’re unsure and how Alice + Albert could be used to benefit your personal circumstances.
What are your top tips for de-cluttering?
De-cluttering can seem like an overwhelming task that’s just too hard. I suggest picking one room that would bring you the most amount of satisfaction to get sorted and start there. Block a few hours out in your diary, put your phone away, make a plan, get stuck in and don’t stop until you finish. The sense of achievement you’ll get from completing that one room will hopefully give you the inspiration and confidence you need to get started on the other areas of your home.
What are your top tips for someone moving house?
We help a lot of clients move in and out of homes and quite often we are called in at the last minute, mainly because our clients think they have plenty of time and can manage it themselves. Whilst this is often the case, moving home is a huge deal and the amount of work is often underestimated. It takes a lot of time, can be emotional and stressful and is often being done in between your day job and every day life. My advice would be to get started on de-cluttering and downsizing of belongings as soon as you know a move is going to happen. Do your research, book in service providers well ahead of time and have back-ups in case they let you down. If you can afford it, pay someone to help you with the actual move rather than trying to do it yourself. Whilst you think you are saving money, the stress, strain on your body and tiredness can take it’s toll meaning it could cost you more in the long run. If you can’t afford it, then don’t be afraid to ask as many friends and family as possible for help so you aren’t doing it alone.
What does a standard day in the life of Lou look like?
5:30: Crossfit session
7-8:30: Prep lunches, get ready for the day, drop Archie at school
9-3: Meetings, consultations and client service delivery
3-5: Pick up and spend time with Archie, walk the dogs, catch up emails + phone calls
6-9: Dinner with Chris and Archie or out to networking/education events and/or client consultations
9-10: Try and watch one of my favourite TV shows or read before bed to try and wind down
SLEEP: my absolute, non-negotiable, number 1 thing that sets me up for a good day, ask my partner Chris what I’m like without enough of it…I’m usually in some crazy place between hysterical laughter and tears!
Why should someone struggling with an overwhelming home get in touch?
I believe that home should be your place of calm amongst the chaos that is most of our busy lives. If you don’t have somewhere to retreat to, then it’s harder to re-group and approach your day with clarity and focus. There is nothing better than when all the tasks have been ticked off your home to-do list and you are able to sit down and relax however these are often the tasks that get left to last and can cause the most amount of frustration/angst at home and this is completely normal. This is exactly where we help and bring this much-needed sense of calm and happiness to our clients’ homes.
What is the one organisational item/app/thing you couldn’t live without?
My phone – the amount of reminders, notes and apps that help me keep on top of my own life as well as that of my clients’ means I would be completely lost without it. Thank goodness for the cloud, my one piece of advice would be to make sure you always have all of your devices set to sync and back-up whenever possible so you avoid any potential technological disasters!
What are your top three Instagram accounts you follow for inspo?
Social media is a funny old world, one that can both inspire us and deflate us within the space of a few seconds. Whilst looking at beautifully styled Instagram profiles provides some visual satisfaction, my real inspiration comes from those that I actually draw value from for some aspect of my life, whether it be personal or professional:
@grace_and_grind – for her drive, honesty, saying it how it is and making me giggle (as well as posting pretty things)
@ellelavonstylist – for sharing so much knowledge in confidence boosting post (that are also great to look at)
@wherewelay_inchstudio – for inspirational home design and styling, my go to for interiors
Best advice you’ve given/received?
I can be really good at giving advice but often bad at listening to it myself so this is something I’m constantly working on. The best advice I can give is knowing when to ask for help. It doesn’t have to mean that you are showing weakness or failing, instead look at it as being smart that you have identified it and are doing something about it. I’m all about working smarter, not harder and ensuring you make the most out of life.
Here are a few of my mantras:
“If you don’t ask, you’ll never know”
“You wouldn’t speak to someone else, the way you speak to yourself. So be kind and back yourself.”