Sara Vestin Rahmani-At the Top of her Game
By ALEXANDER BURTON | NEW YORK
Intro: Sara Vestin Rahmani-One of London’s finest entrepreneurs and self-made female heroes Sara Vestin Rahmani, talks to me about her business and some things private.
Background Sara Vestin Rahmani
Sara Vestin Rahmani, born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden isn’t one for taking the easy route. As a graduate hopeful in the mid 1990s, she was forthcoming in literature and the arts and received various awards, scholarship proposals and the likes. Instead she decided to postpone her studies, spread her wings and commence work as a Nanny in the UK. A job that is a far cry from the glamorous life she leads today. “I didn’t want to be a nanny forever but it was an opportunity for me who had no money and no parents with money to travel, see the world and work. I don’t regret it for a second and furthermore it gave me the idea to start my first business” Sara Vestin Rahmani says. “You really have to work hard and long hours but if you embrace the work, the children and the family, it is such a rewarding gig.”
The story, step by step
Sara Vestin Rahmani, who’d been an all-Swedish Author hopeful from a young age, stands only 5″ 5 tall but with her statuesque body and her trade mark heels she looks every inch of the amazon super woman she has turned into. Sara is a beautiful, smiley and down to earth girl and it is truly remarkable what she has achieved at such a young age (she is still only 33). She was once predicted to become a praised author as she showed early signs of being a unusually gifted young lady with a creative mind and a driven persona. But her teachers dreams of gold were dashed when she decided to leave Sweden and her studies at the tender age of 18.
Sara Vestin Rahmani-The way to success
However, and as we now know, it wasn’t all for nothing. Today, Sara Vestin Rahmani credits her teachers and peers support of her creativity for the fortitude that launched her career in London and later on led to worldwide success. She started her first business in 2003 from scratch in her livingroom in South East London. “I remember thinking that if I could just get things off the ground and break even the first year, I’d be so happy” I didn’t even own a lap top or a blackberry. I had a stationary computer and a land line that I used. And a fax haha” Sara recalls. “By the 50th cold call, the confidence started to build.” ” Failure was never an option for me and I always believed and still believe that I will succeed in whatever I lay my hands on. Call me crazy but it worked.”
Sara Vestin Rahmani- Success without academia
How can you have come so far with no academics or qualifications, I ask her.
“Well, I don’t believe it is necessary with the right brain, attitude and intuition. Everything I have ever done has been off my own back and I trust my gut feeling 100%, although I haven’t always been strictly true to it. I was, and still am, thinking of studying something at some stage. I come from a well-educated (but not well off) family, and always felt that perhaps a little education to match my peers wouldn’t go a miss. Having said that, I think I’d prefer to study something I actually enjoy. Business you learn from experience, you just have to get stuck in. I took art history courses in the past and really enjoyed it. I love the arts and would probably like to elaborate in such fields instead of something as dull as business management”.
Sara Vestin Rahmani and her staff
Today, Vestin’s elite 10-person office team and her fleet of 50+ trainers has about 2500 clients, with a median account size of £17 millions. She ranks between 20th and 4th on various lists of The Top 100 most influential Women in Business across the world. She works alongside some of the best copyright, Intellectual property, franchise and lease lawyers in the world and is sharp as the sharpest of knives. I once heard someone mention her into conversation asying ” I would NOT wish to enter into a dispute with that woman, she is fierce”. That man had a point. However, I do believe that if you stay on her say, play fair and act in good faith she may become one of the best people you ever meet in your career with all her super connections all across the globe. She socialises with celebs, the HNW and V VIPs and is invited to all the top parties and premiers across town on a daily basis. Tough life? I don’t think so.
A day with Sara Vestin Rahmani
Sara Vestin Rahmani wakes up with business and the market on her mind: “My dogs and I watch the business news between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m and determine what kind of a day we’re going to have. Well what kind of day I am going to have”
By the time Vestin Rahmani arrives at her Guildhal Yard office ( and you could not find a more prestigious address in all of London by teh way) she’s usually handed numerous e-mails and calls from clients, many of whom have been “just scratching their head” about their situations, desperate to get her help. In fact, she tells us that the vast majority of clients get handed to one of her impeccably motivated staff these days as she has less time on her hands than before but she still cares for a small number of HNW individuals whose needs she will always see to “I’ve looked after them for years and some of these people are directly or indirectly responsible for my success with their networks and recommendations so I don’t even always charge them any fees. Some get my time and expertise for free, knowing that it will be worth it in the long run”. A pretty comfortable work position to be in, especially during the recession I say.
Sara Vestin Rahmani-What about the economic downturn?
Sara Vestin Rahmani says the market’s latest turns “has not made me nervous,” “Especially given our clients are almost exclusively VIP, celebs and super rich as we are not that faced by the economic downturn. Having said that, due to the Olympics, we had an unpredicted summer and it was slow as everyone seemed otherwise occupied and didn’t want to spend any money. So we are making up for it now. adds.” Vestin is currently working on new contracts int he far east (mainly in main land China) following an impressive stream of PR autumn 2012 in the News and TV of high cred stations across the world. Most of the day to day business are run by account managers in the office, as Sara spends the vast majority of her time signing new business and develops new areas of revenue streams, something she tells us with a smile that she does best. “The fantastic emerging-market business flow and international exposure that we have had lately will probably keep me busy for the next few years, it is as exciting as it is rewarding for me. I get to use the creative left side of my brain and I love the feeling of taking on new ventures and see where they end up. It feels a bit like starting a new painting on an empty canvas or a the first page of a book. I never quite know how it will turn out and I don’t follow and rules or guidelines so it’s always an enjoyable ride”.
Sara Vestin Rahmani-Private life
Meanwhile, Sara Vestin Rahmani is increasingly turning to an alternative lifestyle with daily meditation practises, a great deal of yoga and plenty of “me time” with her dogs out in the woods. ” I find that the equilibrium between being in the city, working and playing hard (like I do) is mixed with time out for me works really well. I enjoy my quite and peaceful times as much as I love going out to fine restaurants, staying in hotels and drinking champagne with my friends” A habit she insist she is unlikely to kick anytime soon.
Sara Vestin Rahmani-Her own domestic staff
Like most business women today, and in line with her business clients, Vestin has a team that helps her manage her life and business. She has a dog nanny, PA, Housekeepers, Gardenrs, Private Yoga teacher, Business consultant team, acupuncturist, private golf and French teacher as well as a massage therapist. Sounds excessive? Sara says: “Well, you know. I don’t have any children yet (other than my business and my dogs) to spoil. I guess you can think of it as caring for an investment or a fine piece of art or something you love and care for that needs looking after for it to thrive. I need to be on top form and shape in order to perform as I well as I can and look as good as possible at all times for media purposes, business relations and public affairs. A little excessive perhaps but I must stress that we also give a lot of money and time to charity so I dread to think that people look at me as someone too flamboyant”. Sara’s business’ Charity of choice that she is heavily involved in is called operation smile http://www.operationsmile.org/
Sara Vestin Rahmani sits on various exec boards across the world and supports a number of other business and charities as well. She has future plans of starting her own foundation but that is a later chapter she doesn’t wish to discuss today.
So, what about her love life?
The 34 year old has been romantically linked to famous and non famous names in the past (she asks us not to mention their names). Vestin insists she’s single and has been staying busy working on her new Hotel projects in China and the middle east as well as spending time with her family and friends excessively of late.
Getting straight to the point, “Does your boyfriend get scared of your success?”
“I don’t have one right now like I said but in the past, and also in the future I hope, it of course must be someone supportive and who likes the fact that I do what I do” I wouldn’t want to be with someone who was threatened by my work. Plus I am not really intimidating or assertive in my private life. A job is a job right? I am actually quite low maintenance, caring and given. Ask any of them!” Vestin says. Well I would, if only she would give me their names.
What kind of men do you go for then? High powered ones? Vestin laughs, ” YES! I like driven men, creative people and positive personalities. Someone who is a non conformist and a little unusual I guess as I’m not one to follow the other sheep”. When asking her when she is going to settle down, she says: “My friends all have husbands and kids and that is great. Some are happy and some less happy obviously. I’d love to have kids at some stage but there is no biological clock ticking inside me. I want to be a girl that when she falls in love, it’s a big deal and it’s a rare thing. I’m not gonna settle for anything other than great. I like being alone til the my man comes along, IF he does but it will be fun when it happens. I have so much to offer and I am in a really good place so I am totally open for it but like I said, it has to be someone special.”
Well, with her exceptionally pretty looks and sparkling charisma, I am sure she won’t be short of takers and suitors.
SOME TEN YEARS AGO, Sara Vestin Rahmani joined an industry dominated by males. She remains the rare foreign female elite. The business “hasn’t changed that much in terms of foreign women being successful,” she says. “It’s probably gotten worse, at least int he UK and with the recession and little room for change.” Ultimately, Sara sees her gender as a benefit in relating to clients. “A lot of ice is broken once I’m sitting in a room,” she says. “People are very interested in who is this person in front of me. I am easy-going and smiley so that helps too but having said that, often people don’t think I am in business so they can get a surprise when they realise I am who I am”
There’s plenty to hear about it, but don’t expect Vestin to just do all the talking, at least not at first. She says the best first meeting is one in which she doesn’t talk so much. Everyone has a story to tell, and Vestin wants to hear it. She loves business and personal travel where she gets to meet influential people from all across the world and get inspired.
Well thank you Miss Vestin, it has been a true pleasure to chat to you. She shakes my hand and wishes me well before she skips along to her next interview (filming with sky news)
Read more about Sara Vestin Rahmani and her businesses
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