Start-Up Story: A Personal and Corporate Concierge Service With Heart

I met Ayesha Whyte at a networking event about a month ago and she shared her heart and story with me. She told me of her daughter’s recent health crisis and explained that this experience made her realize that every moment spent working had to be for the benefit of her family, not some larger corporation. She learned that time is too precious to waste. Ayesha said, “I learned quickly that I was expendable as an employee but not as a mom.” Her aha moment set her on the path to create her business Je Ne Sai Quoi. I asked Ayesha to answer questions for my Start-Up Story series so I could share her inspirational story with all of you. Please read about her journey and business.

Ayesha Whyte,President of Je Ne Sais Quoi

Ayesha Whyte,President of Je Ne Sais Quoi

What is your business and how long have you been in business?

My company is Je Ne Sais Quoi, LLC; it is a personal and corporate concierge service.

We provide our clients with personal concierges to help with all the things on their personal TO DO list, allowing them to dedicate their time to the things and people that matter most.  On the corporate side, we provide concierges to help execute HR, social media, administrative and/or personal functions so that business owners and their employees can focus completely on the company’s mission.  We have been in business about a year.

 

What made you decide to start your own business? What was your inspiration?

My inspiration was my daughter Bianca, who is eight years old.  In 2012, she underwent a bone marrow transplant which included high-dose steroids, chemotherapy, a four-week hospital stay and an even longer recovery period.  During that time, I expected a great deal of support from my former employer and I did not receive it.  I learned quickly that I was expendable as an employee but not as a mom.  That experience reprioritized everything for me.

The strength and resilience Bianca showed during her hospital stay and subsequent recovery inspired me to live a more fulfilling life; for me, that meant more time with my family and starting my own business.

 

What were you doing before starting this venture? How long did you have the idea to start your own business before actually taking the leap?

Before starting Je Ne Sais Quoi, I worked as an employment attorney and HR executive.  I thought about staring the business about a year before taking the leap.

 

What was your biggest hurdle/struggle to overcome when first starting?

My biggest struggle was fear and doubt.  I opened a “luxury” business in an economic recession. I knew had a good business idea and model but constantly thought during the start-up phase, “What if no one calls?”

 

What is your best advice to someone thinking of starting a business?

My best advice is to start with a comprehensive business plan.  It will help you flesh out your business ideas, strengths and weaknesses and serve as a foundation for your business.  When you are having a tough business day, you can always go back to the plan and be rejuvenated and strategize for future success.

 

What does the future for your business look like? How do you measure success?

We, primarily, serve the Northern Virginia area.  I envision enlarging our service area to include the entire DC metro area in 3-5 years.

I measure success by each day that I am able to chart my own course and be truly engaged and actively involved in the lives of my husband and daughters.

 

How Can People Connect with You?

I love connecting with people personally and professionally.  I can be contacted via email at awhyte@jnsqconcierge.com, on Facebook at Je Ne Sais Quoi: A Concierge Service, on twitter @jnsq_concierge, or through my website at www.jnsqconcierge.com.

 

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this feature. I truly wanted to share Ayesha’s story with all of you because I agree 100% with her message and motivation in creating her business.

About 

Nicole Dash is a writer, blogger and business owner who lives in the suburbs outside Washington, DC with her husband and four children. She started her career as a journalist and copy editor. She also managed public relations and corporate communications for a national franchise company, but in 2006 started a child care business. In 2012, she launched Tiny Steps Mommy, a lifestyle and parenting blog that quickly gained a following and connected her to an expansive group of women-owned businesses. In 2013, she started a digital marketing consulting business that focused on growing community in an authentic way. Through those connections she was inspired to open Play, Work or Dash, a coworking space that also offers onsite childcare up to three hours per day. It is where like-minded professionals pursue their business goals with the extra level of support parents desire; a place where you "bring your kids to work." She is an active member of the Washington, DC blogger community. She has been published on The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Mamalode and Pop Sugar.

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