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Inside Wealth

Personal Services for the One Percent

Personal Services of the Rich and Famous

Jon Feingersh | Blend Images | Getty Images

In the past, the wealthy employed staff including a butler, cook, driver and gardener.

Many household jobs have since evolved – a butler can now be a woman in business casual, and the role of the chef can be outsourced to a specialty cook living outside the home.

And then there are other personal services that were never even dreamed of in the Gilded Age. Here are some personal services for the contemporary one percent.

By Colleen Kane
Posted 12 Dec. 2012

Pet Chef

Kangoro Nakagawa | Amana Images | Getty Images

Sample rates: $8 - $18 / day, depending on size of dog

Cost for a year at high-end rates: $6,570

Zen Chien head chef Megan Montgomery calls her service "Dean and DeLuca for dogs." Her downtown Brooklyn business provides personal pet chef service for dogs. Their additive- and preservative- free menu consists of home-cooked meals delivered weekly, with names sounding worthy of sampling: Mediterranean Lamb, South American Chicken, and zero grain Yogurt Parmesan Chicken.

The human-grade ingredients are sourced from farmers' markets and high-end grocers, and the meals are supplemented with calcium, trace minerals and essential oils.

Other luxurious services available for canines include dog massage and hydrotherapy … or as most pet lovers refer to the free versions, petting and swimming.

Tanning Butler

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Sample rates: $449 - $3,000 / night for a room on a weekend in May

Butlers have become a buzzword in upscale hotel amenities. Depending on the location, you've got your fireplace butler (who handles all the fire-building steps that may never have been learned by the room occupant), your technology butler (who can provide a phone charger when you forget or perhaps lend an iPad) and a bath butler. The Ritz-Carlton in Miami's South Beach offers a tanning butler.

A person of non-high-net-worth might ask, "What is a tanning butler?" Since the program's inception in 2004, the Ritz-Carlton's tanning butler positions have been filled by hunky young gentlemen who rub on lotion and spritz sunbathing hotel guests with Evian water. The butlers, who earn about $20 per hour plus tips, have oiled up famous hotel guests such as Jessica Simpson, Nick Lachey, Johnny Knoxville and Vivica A. Fox. The Ritz-Carlton also sells Tanning Butler t-shirts, which probably pair nicely with "Bikini Inspector" hats.


Baby Stylist

Igor Demchenkov | E+ | Getty Images

Sample rates: N/A

Who can forget the mildly humorous time on "Friends" when Amy, played by guest star Christina Applegate, declared her plans to become a baby stylist who would help babies find their most slimming ensembles. Quoth Ross, "That's not a thing!"

Cut to 2012, Applegate now stars in her own sitcom with a baby, "the Rachel" haircut is so over it's almost in style again, and "baby stylist" is a thing, at least for L.A.-based baby/kids stylist DeBalino. DeBalino, also known as the baby style whisperer, calls her fashion website and blog Babystylista her second baby. Offline, when doing hands-on styling, DeBalino dresses and accessorizes infants and children for everyday life as well as for events, fashion shows and photo and video shoots.


Gourmet Meal Delivery

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Sample rates: $29.99 - $48/ day, depending on calories and plan

Cost for a year for one person at high-end rates: $17,520

The kitchens of the grand old Gilded Age mansions didn't have microwaves, yet the job of family cooks seemed like it was simpler: Serve a roast, bread, soup, and sides and dessert, then consider dinner a done deal. But we now live in an age of special-needs eaters: diets followed include organic, vegan, gluten-free, low calorie, low carb, low cholesterol, anti-cancer, Ayurvedic and macrobiotic, the last of which (among other restrictions) should not include tomatoes or peppers but must have ingredients that originate locally. To add extra layers of complication, there can be multiple such eaters in the family.

One solution for those who can afford to outsource meal preparation is subscribing to one of many available meal delivery plans. Nutropia is one such business providing meal delivery service, supplying three meals and two snacks per each person to clients' doors each morning. Their customizable meal plans focus on gourmet food and can accommodate vegetarian diners and "those with various needs and interests."


Maternity Concierge

Rubberball | Nicole Hill | Getty Images

Sample rates: plans at Seattle Baby Planners start at $595, higher levels are "by negotiation"

There's so much to plan when a baby is on the way that some couples have begun hiring the pregnancy equivalent of a wedding planner. Maternity concierges can help set up an eco-friendly nursery, decide what items to put on or leave off a baby registry, help stock the freezer for after the baby comes, or advise on what birthing gowns and beauty treatments to get before heading to the delivery room.

When a maternity concierge is dealing with a celebrity client, according to an article in the Financial Times, the job can involve dodging PR nightmares like getting photographed using a different baby stroller every day (because they are bombarded with free promotional baby items).


Luxury Matchmaking

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Sample rates: $24,000 - $93,000 for their "most bespoke service"

Money can buy you love, provided you have at least $24,000 of it to pay for Virginia Sweetingham's matchmaking services for millionaires and billionaires. The London-based firm she works her magic, Gray and Farrar, caters to high net worth individuals who are looking for someone special, and it's not for casual daters.

Starting with the firm's website's only page, the exclusive service is worlds away from dating sites of the hoi polloi. "It has often been said that we are one of the world's best kept secrets and we intend to keep it that way. Our clients' right to privacy is safeguarded at all times and the internet certainly has no place in our business. That is why you will find only limited information on our website. The majority of our clients come to us through personal recommendation or by personal invitation and so already know who we are and how we work."

Personal Shopper

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Sample rates: $350 for a 2-hour styling - $2000 for a style overhaul

The fashionable assistant variously known as the personal stylist, wardrobe consultant or personal shopper was once found only among celebrities and the very rich, but in November, an article in the New York Post said that at Topshop, appointments for its personal shopping service have tripled in the past two years.

Stylists and personal shoppers help busy and style-challenged clients to edit, update or overhaul their wardrobes. The $2,000 overhaul offered by Style Made Simple includes a two-hour wardrobe edit and four-hour shopping service as well as a hair and makeup consultation.


Personal Concierge

Julien de Wilde | ONOKY | Getty Images

Sample rates: $30 -$60 /hour

As documented in the CNBC.com slideshow Over the Top Concierge Services, the role of the concierge, once restricted to hotel lobbies, has transformed into the private (and corporate) sectors, with personal concierges often playing roles similar to the personal assistant.

Personal concierges are called upon to handle errands as mundane as grocery shopping or document delivery up to emergency tasks like fetching a forgotten passport or keys, and over to luxury jobs like landing a hard-to-get reservation or setting up a VIP weekend getaway.

Home Manicurist

Michael Greenberg | Photodisc | Getty Images

Sample rates: $125 manicure - $250 full set acrylic nails

Remember painting your nails at teenage slumber parties? The rates for Los Angeles Mobile Manicurist Jill Thomas to come to your home or movie set ($800 for a full day) are a long way from those days.

Of course, the services offered for these fees are more elaborate than slumber parties of yore, including pedicures, acrylic fills, silk wrap nail repairs and a $50 intensive callous treatment. You can also order in a nail party for $125 per hour, with a minimum of two hours.


Home Massage

Dimitri Vervitsiotis | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

Sample rates: $195

What's the point of a massage if the relaxation dissolves away as you battle traffic driving back home? For those with means, a masseur will come to your door.

The New York-based business Primp In-Home offers massages in the Swedish, Thai, Reflexology, Deep Tissue and Shiatsu styles, as well as skincare, fitness, waxing and other pampering services.