Private concierge and administrative assistance: Discover annabel services
We spoke to Stéphanie, who is the operation manager for annabel in Paris. She grew up in London and worked in international relations for over 15 years and spent 6 years as an expatriate in Georgia and Kazakhstan. Her and her husband moved back to Paris in 2019, where she started working for annabel.
What is annabel?
Annabel is a UK Company, based in London and have managed to create a great team of PA services all over the UK. Now, we have 17 ‘Annabels’, and we have between 30-40 clients based in the UK.
They tend to work for people who have too much on their hands, quite often they have a property to manage, or their own business. Sometimes they have children, a lot of admin work, or they may travel a lot. In any case, they are looking for someone trustworthy who can provide a tailored service to them, and that’s what annabel offers.
So far, our greatest asset is that we keep clients for a very long time. When clients choose us, they will usually stay for a number of years, and the staff we provide almost become a part of the family.
You can find more information about them on their website: https://annabel.co.uk
How Did annabel Start?
At the beginning, our co-founders (both of who are called annabel!) became aware of the demand for our type of services, and this led them to start the company together. Now, having a base in France makes it much easier to keep up to date on our plans abroad. For instance, all the assistants communicate via the team platform: travel plans, the best hotels, visa issues. For example, when there was covid, I could report back on all the latest measures in place in France. Each ‘annabel’ works for 1-4 clients and they tend to be very integrated into the client’s family.
What PA Services Does annabel Offer? How do you Differ from Competitors?
Services really depend on what our clients need. From planning travel, booking restaurants, managing housework, staff payment, even returning Amazon packages, home office or financial support, diary planning and staff management it’s really anything to do with managing a household.
Annabel also offers a new bespoke relocation consultancy service, from planning through to settling into your new home, with minimal disruption. They offer detailed project management, seamless liaison with all stakeholders, professional move administration and a comprehensive encyclopedia of your new home. Their hand-picked team truly listens to their clients, does not take commissions and respects confidentiality. They offer undeniable results to make your move easier.
Annabel also provides a bespoke consultancy service for house moves, offering support from planning to key handover, minimizing disruption and ensuring a smooth transition. Our experienced team specializes in international moves between London and Paris, assisting with complex paperwork and ensuring a warm welcome at the destination.
Our services include project management, client liaison, move administration, and providing a comprehensive A-Z encyclopedia of the new home.
We also have ‘annabels’ who do property management, translation, etc. But we make sure that our staff are able to establish boundaries too: if they don’t feel comfortable doing the work our clients ask for, they can say.
There are very few companies that offer the same services in France, which makes annabel really special. We’re very careful to preserve the bespoke and very exclusive client experience. So, each assistant has come from a small network of trustworthy people we know we can rely on.
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Are You Planning to Expand to More Cities?
I started working in France because one of the families from the UK relocated to France. I think there is definitely a demand for these kinds of services here. Many people don’t know that we exist, but they could really benefit from us.
Regarding other cities, we like to have some kind of proximity to our clients so that we can check in with them. We try to check in with them, in-person, either once a week or every two weeks. Even if everything can be done at a distance, it’s important to see them face-to-face too. So no, we’re staying in Paris for the moment. However, if there were potential clients in other major cities we would consider finding ‘annabel’ in those cities too.
What Advice Would You Give to Expats in Paris?
Having been an expat for a number of years, now that I’m back in Paris I remember how complicated it is to get settled here. In other countries, the admin is nowhere near as important as it is in France. Fortunately, lockdown started just after our return and gave us some space to breathe. I had three children in school and we were moving from so far away. We had to get all the furniture, find an apartment and open a bank account, everything was so overwhelming.
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So, if I could give you one piece of advice: Get an ‘annabel’!
You need that person who can be on hold pressing 1 2 3 or 4 for admin phone calls, and who is not going to be frustrated because they know what to expect. Support is essential, it means you can enjoy Paris and spend time with your children.
I’d also recommend that you learn the language. It’s important for expats in France to learn French. It takes a lot of time, but it helps you in the long run.
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