Inspirational Woman: Aileen Gilani | Founder, The Luxury Student

Aileen Gilani

Aileen Gilani is the founder of The Luxury Student.

Aileen quit her law degree to set up start up, The Luxury Student following advice from her mentor, and hasn’t looked back!

The Luxury Student is a private members club and concierge for students, which was born from Founder Aileen’s love of luxury brands and experiences to offer students a truly unique service for those who seek the finer things in life whilst studying in London. From the moment members of The Luxury Student wake up to the moment the party ends, and they need a last minute hotel reservation organised, this service covers everything and anything to make student life that bit more luxury.

These cherry-picked perks include, but are by no means limited to; private members club access at the South Kensington Club, a private shopping experience with Burberry, complimentary luxury gym membership, spa and hair salon access including complimentary treatments, complimentary Michelin star meal for two every month and a gifted Nespresso machine as a warm welcome to the club. As well as an ‘access all areas’ pass to some of the most exclusive spots in town, The Luxury Student organise monthly social drinks and events available for students to take advantage of to encourage networking with fellow members, the perfect way to meet like minded people who enjoy similar experiences in life.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

My name is Aileen and I run We call ourselves The Luxury Student Private Members Club because the aim is to give all students a luxury lifestyle and invite them to join this luxury community.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Yes and No. I was studying Law at the time when I started the website, frustrated at doing something that wasn’t giving me the result I wanted (it’s super competitive – plus I didn’t have the right grades) , plus I was super creative and I loved luxury. I thought of the website name much earlier than trying to figure out what I would do with it. I guess that’s the beauty of it, it can go anywhere now. I also studied International Hospitality Management, so the idea of Concierge and Membership website might have been from that. I have always wanted to own my own business, so now I am.

Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

Gosh, so so many. Too many. I still have challenges. But the worst was trying to pitch to companies and brands with no evidence that my idea would work. I knew it would work in time, but you feel very down when you get rejected. Some people even hung up on me because they thought it was one of those ‘sales pitches’. I also think the main challenge is funding, where I didn’t receive any because I didn’t really want that ‘kind of pressure’. It has been more challenging because inevitably you don’t have the cash to spend on this and that, but at the same time it controls you and what comes out.

If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

One thing? Can I give you ten things? Well, it’s hard because I am really proud of myself for what I have already achieved. But I have found it that people take ‘men more seriously’, maybe I am wrong. I get the impression that if it was a man on the phone pitching, they would probably get through to a meeting. But because it’s me, a woman – but more a ‘young’ woman who’s a ‘startup’, it makes it slightly more difficult.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

My first partnership was with Nespresso. I think I was the, (or one of the first) startups that have partnered with them, this to me was a big deal. Plus all the other brand collaborations is so exciting!

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

As any startup you want it to go massive, but all I really want to achieve, is to create an even better and exciting community for students, for all students. To help them achieve what they want to achieve, plus give them exciting and valuable experiences. I want to collaborate with as many new and established brands as possible. Sharing the positivity is key!

About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.
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