Young, entrepreneurial, successful, smart… with a social conscience. Meet the new breed of society girls who have turned the Sloane Rangers of old into an anachronism.
They run their own businesses; have their own charities, children, husbands and a super busy life. They also look implausibly glamorous, model-like skinny, and have a growing numbers of aspirational Twitter followers.
B Beyond met with Caroline Stanbury, one of the high priestesses of this new role model set.
The mother of three (a six year old and twins) walked into the Jack Barclay car showroom in Mayfair, London for a photoshoot, looking immaculate, comfortable and confident in her ultra high heels and a minimalist outfit.
She may look like the quintessential size 0 model but she is not flirting with the camera – she is there to promote her online business, the Gift-Library.com.
The Gift-Library.com was established, as many things are, to address a personal need – finding a suitable gift for any type of occasion with little or no time to go trawling the shops. You can pick your price range, from the modest to the wow, and Gift- Library.com will present you with a selection that you might not have thought of, or never found the time to locate. Gifts start at £6 up to the £600 000 Swarovski covered piano.
In short, Caroline, who selects the stock, is the gift scout for a growing army of people just like her: perennially busy, successful, socially active, with good taste.
Our conversation, post-photoshoot, is brisk, to the point, offering just the right amount of information.
BB: As you are the principal gift buyer, people are inevitably buying, to some extent, into your own sense of aesthetics. Are you a collector?
CS: I collect Birkin bags, limited edition Chanel dolls, clutches, shoes and just beautiful things. I also buy modern art but I buy what I love rather than for investment.
BB: What do you most like about London?
CS: The ability to walk everywhere, the abundance of activities for children, the shopping, the restaurants… I feel at home in London.
BB: What is the hardest thing about being an entrepreneur?
CS: Stress. You have to learn and know everyone else’s job, schedule everything and be on top of everything at all times.
BB: What do your friends most like about you?
CS: Being generous, loyal, loud and fun.
BB: Your greatest shortcoming?
CS: Impatience. I expect everything to be done yesterday and get angry quickly.
BB: Charities you support?
CS: My friend Jenny Halpern and I recently started our own charity, Save the Day, and have already raised £1.1 m. We are both very busy people with families and young children, and the whole premise of the charity is that we don’t do events. Instead of organising a charity ball, buying dresses and tickets, we cut to the chase – we go to a hospital and ask them to give us a wish list – a shopping list of sorts.
We ask them what would make their life easier – what piece of equipment, for example. We then go to our database of friends and clients, and it is amazing how quickly you can raise £10,000 when there is a story behind the request – when people know exactly how the money is being spent.
As the charity evolves, we will also work with individuals through local community centers and support groups. We would like to help make a difference in people’s lives – often people fall on hard times for simply getting behind on a single payment, which is a relatively small thing for most.
I feel very blessed in life and want to give something back.
Caroline Stanbury is the founding partner at the Gift-Library.com, an online shopping resource based in London, UK.