Meet Shreya Patharkar, Founder of Lafayette Luxury And Their Global Business Head As We Learn About Curating The Ultimate Lifestyle Concierge Experiences

Shreya Patharkar, Founder of Lafayette Luxury
Lafayette Luxury, a premiere luxury concierge based in India, has helped it’s discerning clientele to organize and create some of the most extraordinary experiences. Whether a Michelin starred dining reservation, super yacht charter, or a trip to a remote destination, Shreya and Prathamesh along with their team are equipped to handle nearly any request. We sat down with them to discuss their backgrounds, how Lafayette Luxury developed, the luxury concierge landscape and their plans for the future.

Linda:  Shreya, tell us a bit about your background and how you got started in the luxury concierge business.

Shreya: I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur and build an empire of my own. After high school, I went to Singapore for my further studies. Post that I moved to Australia and studied commercial law at Macquarie University, Sydney. While studying at the university, I picked up part-time work, just to gain exposure and experience in all fields. That is how I came across the luxury sector and while working there I realized that I was cut out for this. Soon after that I took up personal shopping and image consulting courses in the United States. Post my return from the states I decided to move to Dubai – the land of luxury as we call it, to pursue my career.  While working as an image consultant in the UAE, I worked with a diverse clientele, ranging from celebrated Emiratis to business families of the country. While I was exploring the field of Fashion, styling and image management, I also took up a course on Luxury Brand Management from FAD Dubai and that’s when the idea of establishing Lafayette hit me. And here I am today!

Linda: And Prathamesh, how did you come across Lafayette and what is your role in the firm? Do you also happen to share the same background as Shreya?

Prathamesh: It’s quite a story actually. Melbourne, Australia has been my home for past few years now. Last year, I finished Australian Open and travelled to India. I was going to stay back only for a brief period before returning to Melbourne. However, the covid crisis hit and the border closures were implemented. It was around that time I came across Lafayette Luxury and Shreya. I was super impressed by the company and especially since it’s a niche market in India at the moment I saw a good potential. Shreya was kind enough to let me in on her brainchild and offer me a position at the firm. I work at Lafayette in the capacity of Global Business Head taking care of business and brand.

Speaking of backgrounds, Shreya and I have it quite the opposite. I have more of a science and numbers background. I did my undergrad in mechanical engineering and business management from Symbiosis India. Thereafter, a masters in project & risk management from Swinburne, Melbourne. I have worked in different industries early in my career. Before joining Lafayette, I was working at one of the world’s largest privately held companies in global food service management and hospitality services, executing global concerts and sporting events such as the open.

Prathamesh, Lafayette Luxury

Linda: What are the core offerings of Lafayette Luxury; what can a client expect when working with Lafayette Luxury?

Shreya:  Lafayette Luxury is all about experiences and the fine things the world has to offer. We let our clients enjoy the luxury of time for the things that matter the most to them while they leave all their lifestyle management work to us. Time is everything and we make sure our clients get to make the most of it. We are a lifestyle management and concierge company at our core. Our key offerings range from Travel, Experiences, Charters, Luxury Fine Dining, Personal Shopping, Real Estate, Investments, VIP Events, Student Concierge and more.  

Linda: Are there any limitations in terms of where or when your services are available?

Shreya:  For our members, the services are available 24 hours a day for 365 days a year anywhere across the globe. Our vast network of vetted partner companies enables us to make that happen with ease. So, there are no limitations in terms of where our services are available. However, due the ongoing pandemic there can be some instances when few of our services might not be available solely due to the lack of availability, resources and government regulations in that particular region. But that’s about it. And said that, now provide specialist air ambulance services for emergency travel and a few other essential services just to make lives easier in these crucial times.

Linda: What sets Lafayette Luxury apart from other concierge companies?

Shreya: The desire to go that extra mile for the clients for every small or big request is something that sets us apart we believe. This emotion runs throughout the team which is beautiful and unique. Moreover, we are still pretty new in the industry and want to make a mark. This drives us to do the absolute best, keeping the members at the core of everything we do!

Linda: Amongst your experience offerings, we’ve seen incredible itineraries including Space Tourism, Dog Sledding in East Greenland, Aston Martin on Ice in New Zealand, Dinner in the Sky, and Mount Everest Sky-Diving.  It’s safe to say these are not your typical vacation experiences.  Why is it important to offer such out of the box adventures and which of them is most popular amongst your clientele?

Shreya: We all want some larger-than-life escapades from time to time, don’t we? Our team picks out such experiences and itineraries which like you said are not typical. These kinds of bespoke experiences are the heart of what we want to offer at Lafayette Luxury and have been successful in offering those till date. Well the Dog Sledding has been the popular one until now but we cant wait for someone to experience the rest!

Linda: What are the benefits of a Membership with Lafayette Luxury? Is a Membership required or do you also offer bespoke one-off services?

Shreya: A membership with us gives you direct access to a dedicated client alliance personnel, your one-point-contact for every request. The client alliance personnel take into consideration their tastes and preferences and make every request happen for them as per their preferences and it just makes things effortless. Plus, there are a plethora of benefits that come with the membership which are not offered to one-off clients. There is no additional service charge for members but we do have to charge a service fee for one-off services.

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Linda: What does luxury mean to you Shreya? How does that translate into your service commitments?

Shreya:  Luxury is very subjective. For some it’s all about experiencing the finer things in life, while for others it’s simply managing to take some time off and spend quality time with their loved ones. For me Luxury is not just a want or a desire. It goes way beyond that. It is an eternal emotion which gives an individual a sense of achievement and power to live the best life possible. Therefore, at Lafayette any curation of experience or any client request, no matter how big or small is like an emotion to us and we make sure to get the client connected with the brand or the particular experience on an emotional level and that is how I believe we are able to deliver more than what is expected.

Linda: How has the concierge business changed amidst COVID-19 and what are you doing to adapt to the current climate?

Answer: Surviving the pandemic has not been easy for any organization and especially for a luxury concierge when the priorities of the consumers have moderately shifted from luxury to essential. Earlier, the luxury of time was way more important to our members and they were happy to spend extravagantly for that. But now, since the pandemic even those members are holding back on unnecessary spending and seeking value for every dollar spent. Consumers have prioritized where and on what they want to spend. For example, one of our members loves traveling so she did not cut back on that. We have curated luxury experiences and itineraries for her and she has already traveled to Maldives, Dubai and also within India. On the other hand, one other member loves hosting dinner and cocktail parties with fancy decor with his closed family and friends often and he has not cut back on hosting such evenings to create memories. Therefore, curating services according to the members preferences delivering absolute value for money has become more important than ever now. We are making sure every recommendation we make is backed by thorough research and the client gets more than what they would expect.

Linda: Where can our audience find you? Do you have a physical footprint or in-person consultation offerings?

Shreya: We are currently based in Pune, India and run our operations from here. We are planning on setting up another office in Dubai and making it our second base. Said that, we are always up for a chat and would love to tell your audience more about Lafayette Luxury. You can find our contact details on our website and drop us a direct line. We absolutely look forward to it!

Linda: Are there any new / upcoming events or experiences Lafayette Luxury will be offering?

Shreya: There are many on the list. With our plans on expansion of our second base in the UAE, we are also working on adding new experiences for our clients especially in the MENA region. To name a few Cruising on the Nile river in Egypt, Gastronomy and Retail expedition in Dubai, a night in a luxury ensuite tent in the Sahara with breakfast in the hot air balloon in Morocco and many more. Also with travel booming in India we have introduced great experiences in the country like to explore the royal heritage of Rajasthan where our clients can experience royal living in different heritage properties in the region, experiencing the best properties and Villas in the Himalayan region for mountain lovers and even detox and rejuvenation spa vacations for those who wish to focus on their health.  

Linda: What are you most looking forward to this year in terms of personal achievements, business goals, global events or breakthroughs?

Shreya: First of all I am grateful to have survived the pandemic last year. We all know how the Pandemic has helped all of us to reflect upon our individual growth and reinvent ourselves. With that thought and a lot of research I would really like to promote Sustainable tourism in my country and help out the local communities in not so developed tourist spots to keep the economy flowing in the locality. Moreover, this year I am really looking forward to Lafayette Luxury to be an established lifestyle and concierge brand in the UAE and expand further in the Australia and New Zealand region as that is on my goals list for 2021! 

Linda: And what about you Prathamesh?

Answer: The past year has been an absolute roller coaster ride, hasn’t it? For me it was all about moving countries and taking up new challenges. So, this year, I look forward to acing those challenges and growing on a personal as well as professional front. We have set some big goals for the business and very much look forward to achieving those goals and setting up a solid foundation for the future of the organisation. I always measure breakthroughs by the long term partnerships businesses make and by its perpetually growing elite clientele base. Therefore, my primary aim for the next year would be to further extend Lafayette’s vendor and partner network whilst landing clients from all parts of the world and make the brand a familiar name in the luxury market. 

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