Sunday 23 October 2016

'I once flew puppies by private jet from Spain to Mexico for a client's birthday'

She is the luxury fixer to A-list stars and the world's wealthy but Lisa Murray's dream job is not without its stresses, writes Niamh Horan

Published 24/07/2016 | 02:30

Dream careers: Ciara Egan and Lisa Murray, owners of The Atlas Club, are kept busy with celebrity clients' requests
Dream careers: Ciara Egan and Lisa Murray, owners of The Atlas Club, are kept busy with celebrity clients' requests

She's the go-to woman whose number is on speed dial of the phones of the super-rich.

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Her mission? To fulfil every whim, every desire - so long as it's legal.

From ferrying puppies on a private jet to organising private football coaching lessons for the children of high net individuals - Lisa Murray, from Dooradoyle, Limerick, has developed a reputation as one of the world's leading luxury fixers.

"I learned the tricks of the trade in the days of the Celtic Tiger working for Quintessentially [a luxury concierge service] in Dublin. At that time we would have had around five bookings a week for private jets flying out of Dublin. Lads' trips to Ibiza, that type of thing. They could ring you on a Thursday and say they wanted a last minute getaway together on a Friday until Monday and we would have had to have everything sorted within the hour."

Along with her colleague and best friend, Kildare woman Ciara Egan, the pair spotted a market for a private jet business operating out of London and Miami and set up 'The Atlas Club' in 2010.

VIPs on their books are said to include Eva Longoria, Andy Murray, Hollywood actress Zoe Saldana, golfer Lee Westwood - as well as a host of super-wealthy Qatari oil families and Chinese billionaires.

But Ms Murray is keeping tight-lipped on her members: "We have airtight confidentiality agreements."

An annual membership for The Atlas Club costs €18,000.

"I once had to send puppies from Seville in Spain to Mexico for a client who wanted them there for her son's birthday. There was nobody but the puppies on the private jet - and the crew who were looking after them. That would have cost around €200,000.

"On another occasion we had to keep a handmade wedding dress at a certain temperature in the run-up to a wedding and then fly with it on a private jet to Naples and travel the last leg by helicopter to Capri in time for the big day.

"All I can remember is that the dress was big and white and fluffy and made of feathers. We had to make sure they didn't wilt or flatten - so we couldn't let it get too hot or too cold."

"On another occasion I got a call off a man who said 'We are about to land in a remote part of Fargo. We'll be there for just 20 minutes for a quick fuel stopover and I have made a bet with my friend that you can't get us a bottle of 'Domaine Leroy Clos de la Roche Grand Cru' by the time we take off again,'" she smiles, "I got it done. We can and will do anything as long as it's legal and ethical.

"If you ask us to do something that falls outside that remit then we have a two strike rule: ask once and you will get a polite no, ask again and you're off the books. But thankfully we've never had to deal with that to date."

Although she sees it as a dream job, she is keen to point out it has its flip side. "It can be very stressful and it never stops. You could get a call at four in the morning from someone who has an unusual request. Clients can call 24/7.

"When I gave birth to my twins I was back working within three days because one client was used to me and didn't want to deal with anyone else."

As for whether or not money brings happiness she says: "Well you know what they say, 'big money, big problems'.Happiness is a long term thing but, from time to time, we can make them happy by getting whatever they need."

Back in Ireland on vacation, Lisa says she can see the economy picking up: "There's definitely a change in the air. We can really see it with clients here. There is a lot of positivity around but Ireland still has its head screwed on in the midst of the craziness in the world."

Sunday Independent

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