Northwich mum Lisa Forbes - Making the magic happen
Need to make the impossible happen? Meet the Northwich mum with a can-do attitude
When the chocolate fountain failed to arrive for a wedding reception at Nunsmere Hall Hotel at Oakmere, manager Mark Huntley put out an SOS to mother-of-two Lisa Forbes, the lady he calls his ‘virtual concierge’.
‘Within an hour or so I managed to locate someone who was able to save the day and within a couple of hours the chocolate was flowing and the bride and groom never knew there had been a hitch,’ said Lisa who runs her personal and corporate concierge business from her home at Kingsmead in Northwich.
Lisa, 37, started her CanDOO Concierge business less than two years ago with the slogan ‘No task too ordinary, no task too extraordinary’ and she said: ‘So far, I am delighted to say, I have not been presented with a challenge that has beaten me but I have to confess that finding a chocolate fountain for the wedding reception at such short notice was a pretty tall order.’
During her studies at Bournemouth University, where she gained a first class honours degree in hospitality management, Lisa spent a year at Walt Disney World in Florida, working as a cultural representative in the UK pavilion at Epcot, returning with a ‘mousters’ degree and ‘ducktorarte’ for theme park management from the Disney University.
‘While I was there I also set up a Guest Satisfaction Management scheme and awards are now made in my name each year for the most innovative ideas,’ said Lisa.
With her British and Disney degrees under her belt, Lisa joined Thomson Holidays where she edited the five separate editions of the company’s holiday brochures and later had responsibility for product development of the couples’ holiday market.
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‘All that experience was invaluable for some of the more unusual travel assignments I am now given in my concierge business. Quite recently, for example, I was given the challenge of making alternative travel arrangements for some one who could not fly because of the volcanic ash cloud,’ she said.
When Lisa set up her business in 2009 it was initially to help busy parents but her reputation as an across-the spectrum ‘candoer’ and ‘fixer’ spread around the county with a growing regular client list from the corporate sector, including her special role as the ‘virtual concierge’ for Nunsmere Hall Hotel.
‘Every seasoned traveller knows the value of a good hotel concierge at we count ourselves very lucky to have Lisa’s services at Nunsmere,’ said Mark Huntley. ‘She might not be sitting at a desk in a uniform in the lobby but if ever we have an unusual request from a guest, we know we can always turn to her to get the job done.’
For Lisa the ‘unusual and the impossible’ are all in a day’s work. ‘Quite recently I was contacted by a lady who asked me to find out the name of the wallpaper she had seen decorating the walls at a posh store in Harrogate. I managed to source and purchase the exact same paper and it now hangs in her home, even though it was �50 a roll,’ she said.
Even more recently Lisa was commissioned to organise and stage-manage a Magic-with-Harry Potter birthday party for a five-year-old and 25 of his friends at his home in Knutsford. It involved setting up and decorating marquees in the garden, booking a magician, organising the catering, filling party bags and sending out personalised 3D magic wand invitations containing their own ‘secret’ magic dust.
‘Sometimes I could do with a magic wand myself,’ said Lisa. ‘There are times in this job when you certainly have to be a bit of a magician and conjure up minor miracles.’