- 26-year-old Aileen Gilani quit her law degree to launch The Luxury Student.
- It’s a digital private members club and concierge service targeted at wealthy students and bloggers living in London.
- Packages start at £20 a month and go up to £400 for a Platinum package.
- There’s no application form and anyone can apply.
- The only request she has is that members love the luxury industry – and that they post about the service on Instagram.
Even when she was a student, 26-year-old Aileen Gilani spent money in a different way to her peers.
“So many times students were partying and going to clubs and I was getting a blow dry,” she told Business Insider.
Gilani originally studied International Hospitality Management at Oxford Brookes University for four years. During her time there, she completed a placement working next to the concierge at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square.
Soon after graduating, she went into a post-graduate degree in law and was surrounded by “a lot of wealthy international students.”
“I wouldn’t say I was a wealthy student, but I did love the luxury industry,” she said. “I did understand why other students would spend that much on a Chanel bag.”
Having realised she had a creative edge, half way through her degree she launched a blog called The Luxury Student, catering to this world of youngsters.
“I realised there was so much potential in creating a career out of it as well,” she said. “I was quite curious to see how that would work.”
Through LinkedIn, she found a mentor in entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Eric Peacock.
“After a couple of meetings here and there, he thought I had something interesting, exciting and different,” she said. “He said, stop what you’re doing now with law education, and focus on this.”
She felt like she was already a few steps behind in the blogging world, where the successful bloggers have millions of followers.
So instead, she built a blogger platform.
“I had about 20 different bloggers – from [the likes of Kuwait and Australia] – who I found on Instagram,” she said.
“I realised there was a boom in the blogger community, [and it was] the perfect type of market research.”
Targeting wealthy students and bloggers
The 20 bloggers writing for her platform were all students, and she realised there was a market for wealthy students who can afford a luxury lifestyle.
“Or if they can’t afford it they will save money and choose to spend it on something more luxurious,” she said.
Inspired by her brief experience working with the hotel concierge, she quit her law degree and spent most of 2017 transforming her blog, then relaunched it in September as a digital private members club and concierge service.
“There wasn’t really a concierge service out there that catered to the luxury student or blogger,” she said. “Both are such brilliant target markets.”
Now, The Luxury Student has around 500 members, according to Gilani, and a number of membership choices.
The two main ones are standard, which is £50 a month, and events only, which is £20 a month.
“What I call the standard lifestyle membership has everything involved,” Gilani said. “We say the minute you wake up to the minute you go back to bed we want to make sure you have a good lifestyle.”
Every new member receives a Nespresso machine, thanks to a partnership with the brand.
Members have access to a PA/virtual assistant service…
…and they get invitations to in-store events.
They have access to exclusive clubs like Albert’s Club in South Kensington, as well as priority booking and drinks deals at restaurants like Quaglinos in Mayfair.
Members also get to use Urbanologie, an invitation-only luxury lifestyle app for high net worth individuals…
…and through The Luxury Student’s partnership with Quintessentially Travel they can make travel arrangements – a service that would normally be for Quintessentially members only and would cost £100, according to Gilani.
“Even towards late evening there’s the concierge service for night clubs, booking tables, [and] passes to different night clubs around London,” she added.
The less popular events-only membership, meanwhile, gives members the opportunity to go to monthly social drinks and in-store event but without the services listed above.
Michelin-starred meals and members’ club access
There’s also the lesser-known Platinum membership, which comes in a whopping £400 a month.
“It’s very bespoke, we tailor it to the individual,” she said. One feature for a Premium member so far has been full access to the South Kensington Club, which has its own spa and gym. For someone more into art, it has included an annual membership to the V&A.
It also apparently comes with a complimentary Michelin-starred meal for two every month.
“We rarely promote it becuase it’s even more niche than what we already have,” Gilani said.
She added that with each package, there are new offers and partnerships every month.
The company is currently exploring fitness discount options with the likes of Barry’s Bootcamp and yoga studios, and has also partnered with the trendy Salon 64 in Soho to give all members a complimentary blow dry or cut on their birthday.
“Our special offer for May is a complimentary blogger photoshoot, which is very trendy, very current,” Gilani added.
“Many of the students that are members are trying to become professional bloggers.”
She added that the site has organically attracted influencers and bloggers – and that despite the name, you don’t have to be a student to join.
“We’ve opened it up,” she said. “It was originally targeted to students, [but it’s] also open to bloggers who are part-time or recently graduated.
“We don’t have any application form,” she added. “We don’t want to intimidate [people] before they sign up.”
Once a member registers, they are asked to create a profile answering questions about things like where they dine, where they travel, and where they shop.
All the company asked is that if you join, you truly appreciate the luxury industry.
“Whether you like to purchase products and services or you want to have a career in the industry, [you need] a genuine reason to join,” she said.
“We don’t actually target anyone specific, we just want people to enjoy the industry.”
Creating content for Instagram
The one other ask is that members have open Instagram accounts so they can share what they’re up to with their followers, tagging The Luxury Student all the while.
“Everyone has their own motive for using our membership, [but we] try to make it fun and Instagram-friendly,” she said. “It gives people another way of creating content.”
And some members certainly think outside the box.
While one impossible request involved writing an essay or dissertation on behalf of a member – “we will not be involved in any form of plagiarism,” Gilani said – more extravagant demands have included getting members free private jet seats or a signed designer handbag.
“We try to make it clear what you have complimentary,” she added. “We don’t give people free holidays or free private jet seats.”
Currently, Gilani is running the business solo alongside a PR agency, partners, and brand ambassadors at universities across London.
“It’s a very small team but it’s worked well that way,” she said.
“We try to make it not so painful to enjoy the luxury lifestyle – we still want it to be accessible.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.