Hi Sallyanne, please tell us about the Mumpreneur behind Harper Stein.
Gosh, where to start. Well… my name is Sallyanne Louisa and I am a whizz at applying mascara whilst mediating squabbles and bouncing a baby on my hip! On a serious note, I am the mummy to four little children; 5, 2 and 11 month old twins. We all live in a picturesque cottage in the Kent countryside (well, that’s the plan when we finish renovating it!) with our three legged cat and our Labrador who could give ‘Marley and Me’ a run for his money! I am also the founder and Global Director of Harper Stein - an invitation only dating consultancy for affluent gentlemen based in London Bridge.
When I’m not jet-setting, attending events, meeting with members or profiling their matches; I’m changing nappies, building camps and making mud-pies with the children. I couldn’t do what I do without the help of our amazing nanny. Juggling motherhood with being the Global Director of Harper Stein is certainly a challenging adventure but I am so passionate about our business and thoroughly enjoy my role at the helm, which makes it all worthwhile.
The entire concept is very interesting. What was the driving force behind it?
Thank you, yes it is very interesting – there is never a dull day that’s for sure! From a young age I realised that I was never going to be a small cog in a big business wheel. I knew that I wanted to be my own boss. I needed to focus my efforts to something that came naturally to me, something I enjoyed and something that would make a real difference. The beginnings of Harper Stein were the result of that focus. As a team, we find and nurture ‘love’ for a living, making a real difference to the lives of our members and that still makes me smile to this day.
How did the business go from concept to launch?
This is an interesting question because there was never really concept or a launch. Some years ago I was lucky enough to assist a very well-known gentleman to find a partner. His recommendations of Harper Stein propelled us into the elite group we work with today. My next member was a referral from him and so on. It defined how we operate. The success I achieved for him and those he referred gave me the confidence and encouragement to grow my service in an entirely unique way; based purely on reputation and referral. We don’t advertise. Our doors open to new members by invitation only and this is mainly thanks to him!
What was the response like from your target audience?
All new members have been referred either by an existing member or by an ambassador. They usually know first-hand who we are, what we do and why we are absolutely worth their investment. When one of our renowned invitations lands on their doormat, it is very rare that our offer of membership is turned down.
What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not running Harper Stein?
My most favourite thing to do when I’m not working is spending time with the children; it doesn’t matter if we’re having a duvet day, baking cookies or putting our wellies on to go out on an adventure, time with them is absolutely at the very top of my list!
How did you fund it all in the beginning?
There was never really a need for funding. In the beginning I didn’t even have a dedicated bank account let alone a business card or a website! My very first member must’ve had great trust and confidence in me. He paid in full, enough for most people’s annual salaries, and I got cracking – failure was not an option!
The dating world can be tricky, what advice would you give to entrepreneurs searching for the perfect match?
Make time to invest in a relationship and know yourself. Really know yourself, because that will allow you to recognise who your ideal partner is. Attraction is of course a major factor, but once the forgiveness of lust is gone, there needs to be more to the foundations of the relationship if it is to stand the test of time.
The very first step when a new member comes on board with us is psychological and relationship profiling. It’s a rather fun process where one of our expert relationship psychologists works with the member to unravel everything, so that we both have a clear vision of who their ideal match is.
If you could have one person record your voice message, who would it be and why?
It would have to be Audrey Hepburn! Her voice is just classically beautiful (and I dress a little like her too).
What has been the most exciting and the most challenging experience so far?
We work with gentlemen who are extremely successful and affluent. They may be well-known in the public eye, leaders of successful organisations or ‘old money’, as they say; either way they are all very used to being in control. One of the biggest challenges my team and I face is saying no. Relationship and partner ideals are usually entirely achievable, but some aren’t and sometimes there are also things that the gentleman needs to work on if he is to be truly happy in a relationship. As relationship psychology experts, it is our job to be honest and to guide – this can sometimes be a big challenge but one that we are always thanked for in the long run.
I have had some amazing experiences but, although not particularly glamorous, my most exciting must be my first flight in a helicopter; without much warning or time to say no, I was given the controls! I do not like flying at the best of times and for someone who also likes to be in control, it wasn’t the type of control I was looking for! But after a few moments, the exhilaration was wonderful and I would highly recommend it!
What are your top tips on staying motivated?
Believe in yourself, always. Even when you’re questioning everything. Have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, know the key steps you need to take to get there and focus on the next step. Keep moving forward no matter what and give yourself credit for how far you have already come.
How do you celebrate success?
I’m quite lucky in that I get to celebrate success most days – you’ll find me lunching with members or single ladies at exquisite restaurants, sipping cocktails and mingling at an event, jetting to a members’ villa or home estate to ‘touch base’, attending opening nights or exclusive previews. I’ve even spent the day with a luxury track side view of the Grand Prix, Monaco.
But, the most special celebrations are the ones I share with my family. One of the best feelings is being able to treat them; this year we’re going on a luxury trip to Lapland to visit the home of the real father Christmas! I’m not sure who is more excited.
What plans do you have for Harper Stein over the next 12 months?
This year we plan to continue expanding our team both in the UK and internationally. I am very proud to say that my colleagues and ambassadors are an exceptional group of individuals who truly share my passion and dedication. They love what they do and that reflects in our service and reputation.
To find out more about Harper Stein, head over to the official website.