35-year-old Sallyanne Louisa is the mum to four little people and the founder of Harper Stein, an invitation only dating consultancy for affluent gentlemen. She shares with us a fascinating insight into the world of love for the rich and famous as well as the juggling act that comes with motherhood and business.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your current role
Well, where to start… when I’m not jet-setting to events, meeting with members or profiling their matches; I’m changing nappies, building camps and making mud-pies with our four children; 5, 2 and 11 month old twins. 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 service and thoroughly enjoy my role at the helm, which makes it all worthwhile.
Tell us a little bit about your company, it sounds very interesting!
Thank you, yes it is very interesting! Of course privacy and discretion underpin everything we do here at Harper Stein so I can’t reveal too much but as a little insight, I can say that our members are an elite group; extremely successful and affluent gentlemen whom retain us to find their perfect partner. We also welcome singles ladies to connect with us and if we feel that one of our gentlemen members would be a good match, the introduction is entirely complimentary.
It is so difficult for those in the public eye to date outside of their ‘celebrity’ circles.
Do you have any famous members?
Oh yes, but of course we name no names. Some years ago I was lucky enough to assist a very well-known gentleman. It was his recommendations of Harper Stein that propelled us into the elite group we work with today. You see, many of our gentlemen would like to meet ‘a lady next door’ type but it is so difficult for those in the public eye to date outside of their ‘celebrity’ circles. We often hear of relationships with makeup artists or dancers because it’s tricky for them to meet ‘everyday’ ladies without being swooned by fans or pounced on by the media. Harper Stein hide their identity until we are mutually sure that we have found a really good match. We have a strict confidentiality agreement that must be signed. Their identity is revealed, they date and the rest is up to them. If it doesn’t work out, we keep searching.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
(Laughs) No, absolutely not. I never really knew which career path I wanted to follow but I soon realised that I was never going to be a small cog in a big business wheel. I needed to be my own boss and I needed to make a real difference to real people. So I focused my attentions to something that came naturally to me, something I enjoyed and something that dates back generations. Harper Stein is the result of that focus. I find and nurture ‘love’ for a living, with the help of an amazing team and that still makes me smile to this day.
There is a niggling guilt that I haven’t quite conquered the work/life balance challenge.
Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?
Oh yes! My biggest personal challenge is juggling motherhood with the business. Being the boss gives me flexibility to work from home when I need to, help with reading in my daughters’ class and spend quality time with the twins; but no matter how well I think I’m juggling everything, when my toddler asks me to snuggle on the sofa and not go to work, there is a niggling guilt that I haven’t quite conquered the work/life balance challenge.
The business of course brings challenges too. I am an absolute perfectionist and take personal responsibility for every members’ successful journey with Harper Stein. This commitment to excellence is undoubtable the key to our reputation, but as we grew I realised that I needed to empower, delegate and ignite my passion in our team to achieve excellence on a wider scale. This is one challenge I am confident in saying I have overcome. My team all love what they do and their attention to detail and success is as meticulous as mine.
On a typical workday, how do you start your day and how does it end?
My day starts with organised chaos (I am a whizz at applying mascara whilst buttoning a pinafore and mediating squabbles). Getting four children washed, dressed and at the breakfast table before our nanny arrives at 8am is a challenge. Whilst she makes them breakfast I breathe a big sigh of relief, grab my first of many strong coffees and gather my thoughts before heading to work – of which no two days are the same!
The day draws to a close with the same organised chaos. If I’m not at an evening event, I try to be home by 5:30pm in the midst of supper. We chat about our days, the children’s have their bath and bedtime stories before I check back in to my home-office. Then, a hot bubble bath and some downtime helps me unwind before bed, no later than 12pm! (if I can help it).
Have you ever had a mentor or a sponsor or anyone who has helped your career?
This is an interesting question and I suppose the official answer is no. However, there is in fact a person who defined Harper Stein. The gentleman I mentioned earlier, extremely well-known and successful, gave me the confidence and encouragement to grow my service in an entirely unique way based purely on reputation. My next member was a referral from him. And the next. It defined how we operate. We don’t advertise or promote our membership. Our doors open to new members by invitation only and this is all thanks to him!
If you were to look back in five years, what would you see in terms of your achievements?
It goes without saying that I would like to see that Harper Stein has maintained the excellence we are renowned for and grown at the steady rate we are currently following. I would also like to have maintained our highly-motivated team who love what they do and enjoy coming to work!