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Burlingame lifestyle startup grows
October 16, 2013, 05:00 AM By Angela Swartz Daily Journal

Angela Swartz/Daily Journal
Bluebelle Co-founders Laura Held and Rachel Shamash run their company out of a small office space in Burlingame.

Best friends, business partners and Peninsula natives Laura Held and Rachel Shamash have recently been expanding their Burlingame lifestyle management company.

The two Hillsborough-raised women began Bluebelle Concierge three years ago, offering services from personal assistance to personal organization, project management, corporate concierge, as well as gifts and specialty packages help. Their office is on Broadway in Burlingame and the two say they offer a service that is less of a commitment than hiring on a personal assistant.

“People don’t have time to manage their lives,” said Shamash, 26. “People are working more hours and it’s harder to manage work-life balance. A lot of our clients are just overwhelmed people or in transition.”

For those who are moving into new homes, the company can help ease stresses by setting up utilities or finding summer programs for kids.

Because of the company’s success, they’ve added two new employees to their team in the past two weeks and developed an internal curriculum for handling projects that range from planning a birthday party, organizing clutter and putting together custom gifts. This past summer, they added a new mom package, along with a service that assists on home projects and relocation management for those who are moving into new homes.

The company’s team approach is what sets them apart, Shamash said. Having a team with a variety of specialties and high-level, competent people is also good, she said.

Additionally, practicing what they preach — in terms of maintaining a work and life balance — is important to them, Held, 27, said. Finding this balance is hard at times, as business owners, the two said, as they both work 60-hour weeks.

“Our mission at Bluebelle is to help our clients be more present when not at work,” Shamash said.

Why choose Burlingame for their office?

“It’s nostalgic and represents who we are,” said Held, who worked as a personal assistant when she attended the University of California at Berkeley. “It’s in between San Francisco and Palo Alto and in the center of our service area.”

The two, who both previously worked in consulting, attended San Mateo High School and said they frequented Burlingame Avenue as girls.

Bluebelle has even inspired the women’s friends to start their own ventures.

“It’s hard for women to take the step to start businesses,” Shamash said.

Giving back to the community is important to them too, they said. They partner with one nonprofit a quarter. This quarter they are working with San Francisco’s Alliance for Girls organization that aims to eliminate social, personal and cultural barriers for girls. The women hosted a party to celebrate the nonprofit and raise $5,000.

They’ve partnered with various businesses in the area, as well. An example is using a particular framing company to work with on a project.

“We’re always going to go to small local businesses,” Held said. “There’s a person behind those businesses. In return, they spread the word to their clients about Bluebelle. A lot of what we do is finding the right people to provide the service to the client.”

Have the women gotten any weird service requests?

Helping a client buy a car before it’s even out on the market or helping arrange a risky sporting activity for the next day are a couple of examples.

“We’re not really a glitz and glam concierge service though,” Held said. “Our clients just value high-quality service.”

Their clients, who include tech entrepreneurs, aren’t making extremely luxurious requests, Shamash added.

“They’re just local people who want to spend more time with their family,” Shamash said.

Although they’d like to keep the company a boutique service, the two would like to have different Bay Area locations in the next five years.

Bluebelle charges $75 per hour for project management and $55 an hour to run errands.

“We’re here to help when things get crazy,” Shamash said.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 105



Tags: their, shamash, service, people, clients, personal,

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