622 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10017 / 212-784-2390 / info@livunltd.com
CHATS / Bicé Grobstein, Founder of CR

Meet Bicé, the lady behind Concierge Redefined. Her Manhattan-based boutique lifestyle management firm, which launched in March 2016, is now the preferred concierge for some of the city’s most sophisticated residences and corporations including 626 1st Avenue (American Copper Buildings), 210 W 77th Street and The Real Deal Magazine. In celebration of CR’s 1-year anniversary, we sat down with Bicé to learn about what inspires her, where she loves to dine, spend her time and more.

How did you get your start in the hospitality industry?

My first job in Manhattan was with Equinox. At the core, it’s a luxury fitness center, but the focus on top-notch service and amenities are what shape the curated lifestyle oasis that is Equinox.

I revel in any learning/training environment, so I took full advantage of the fantastic training program there. Selling gym memberships may have been the end goal, but hospitality was really the focus of the training. There was such an emphasis on the power that genuine interest in another can hold, which translates to any hospitality role – especially a concierge.

In terms of aesthetics and branding, what companies do you look to for inspiration?

When creating Concierge Redefined, we drew inspiration from a handful of cutting-edge brands: Apple’s devotion to simplicity and the genius use of white space, Condé Nast Traveler’s sophisticated design elements and gripping imagery, Equinox’s ability to push the envelope in every regard.

Courtesy of Herbivore Botanicals

Another brand I am currently loving is one of CR’s beauty partners, Herbivore Botanicals. Aside from their conscious product standards (emphasis on organic, high quality, and food-grade ingredients), their branding is chic and ultra-fresh; you literally feel rejuvenated by just looking at the bottle.

We love to partner with boutique brands that deliver on their mission and have a unique story to tell (Herbivore Botanicals was founded by husband & wife – Julia Wills and Alexander Kummerow in 2011 in their Seattle kitchen).

Courtesy of De Maria

New Lower East Side restaurant, De Maria, is also spot-on with their branding. It’s a perfectly executed cafe by famed female chef Camille Becerra with a hip logo, airy mid-century modern dining room, and food that’s almost too pretty to eat.

Luxury real estate branding is also very inspiring to me. Aside from the stand-out amenities and services (which of course is where CR comes into play), I’m captivated by each development’s magical world that is displayed through their unique branding. Some of my favorites include 111 W 57th, 75 Kenmare, One River Point, 53W53, 20 East End Avenue, Monad Terrace, 196 Orchard, The Bryant, 180 East 88th, American Copper Buildings and 30 Park Place.

What is the #1 concierge request?

I think any concierge would agree that dining is the #1 request category. No matter how many apps claim they can secure you a coveted table at prime time, some reservations are still hard to snag, so the concierge becomes your best friend.
At CR we are also very busy with event planning requests. I have a strong event background and everyone on our tight-knit team is amazing at event planning from concept to execution, which is a real value-add for our clients.

Tell us about the CR Groove.

There are a lot of ways to relay the essence of a brand. Along with powerful imagery and messaging, music is another way to captivate your audience and invite them to get lost with you. I am obsessed with music and have a pretty eclectic musical palate. I grew up dancing, meaning I have a hard time sitting still when a great song comes on, and I know how good it feels when you hear your favorite jams. My dad raised my siblings and I on Motown, Disco and Doo-wop, so from a young age I was exposed to the most soulful sounds. I wanted to bring CR’s special sound to our clients, so we started The CR Groove: a curated playlist with a little something for everyone.

What makes a great concierge?

Resourcefulness, character, quick effective thinking, confidence, genuine interest and attention to detail.

What do you do to unwind?

I love riding my bike around the city without any destination in mind. I ride for leisure and use it to zone out and let random ideas come into my head. I usually stop to take a photo of a site or note down thoughts/ideas, so I won’t forget them.

Who is your favorite entrepreneur?

My brother, Lee. He owns STAR Athletics, an all-star cheerleading gym in New Jersey. All-star cheerleading is like ‘club soccer.’ They both bring together exceptionally skilled child/teenage athletes who join these private, competitive teams instead of (or in addition to) their school’s athletic program. Lee grew up in the competitive cheerleading world, in high school he cheered for the gym he now owns. He took over the gym in 2010 and revitalized every single aspect of the program; the name is the only thing that remained the same. They have over 250 cheerleaders, some who travel up to an hour to be part of STAR. In 2013, the United States All Star Federation (USASF) rewarded Lee’s involvement in the cheer industry and the excellence with which he runs the Star Athletics program with its “Gym Owner of the Year” award. He was 29 years old at the time.

If I weren’t in the hospitality industry, I would be:

A ghostwriter.

Your most memorable travel experience?

When my mom flew my sister and I from Newport Beach to Napa Valley. When I say flew, I mean she actually flew the plane. She started taking flying lessons, and for my birthday a couple years ago, she surprised me and flew us to The French Laundry. It was an amazing experience.

What products are always in your purse?

A mini Mason Pearson brush, hand sanitizer and whatever lipstick or gloss I am wearing – currently Sephora Rose Petal lip gloss.

The best dish you ever ate was:

My nunna’s homemade Italian pizza.

If you could only eat 3 things for the rest of your life, what would they be?

Broccoli rabe, freshly baked French bread and green apples.

Favorite drinks?

Bee’s Knees, light reds, extra hot soy latte, lots of water

Favorite Broadway show?

That’s a hard one, I’ve seen a ton of superb shows. Hamilton really is all it is cracked up to be and more.

What is something most people would be surprised to know about you?

I love board games and animated movies. I recently watched Moana on the airplane with my sister. We laughed and cried a lot like two big babies, then we played Uno. Oh, and I potty-trained my Bengal cat, Edmond. He uses the restroom like a human.

Favorite experience in NYC to recommend to out-of-towners?

You can’t go wrong with Brian Newman‘s live jazz show at Rose Bar. Brian is the epitome of classic New York; they put on such a great show.

What are 3 things you can’t live without?

My sister, Liana (above), silk pillow cases, and my Mason Pearson brush.

What’s one skill you don’t have mastered but would love to learn?

I’d love to learn to play the piano.

What are you currently reading?

Essentialism by Greg McKeown “Weniger aber besser. The English translation is: Less but better. A more fitting definition of Essentialism would be hard to come by.”

You have a unique style – where do you shop for clothing?

My go-to pieces are ones I stole from my mom’s closet. My mom has great style; she’s always been my style icon. One blazer in particular is my favorite item in my closet. It is a perfectly tailored Dolce and Gabbana tuxedo blazer, with satin lapels and a beautiful black-on-black architectural pattern. My mom bought it over 20 years ago, it’s one of those pieces that immediately boosts your confidence when you put it on. If I’m not poking around my mom’s closet, I’m always looking for a bargain at places like 2nd Time Around.

Bicé’s Manhattan favorites:

DATE NIGHT:

4 Charles Prime Rib

ITALIAN:

Carbone or L’Artusi

COCKTAILS:

A60 at Sixty Soho

NEIGHBORHOOD TO WALK AROUND:

West Village or Lower East Side

SPECIAL OCCASION:

Daniel

NEIGHBORHOOD GEM:

Once Upon a Tart

BRUNCH:

Cafe Cluny

POWER LUNCH:

ABC Kitchen

BURGER:

Beatrice Inn

DESSERT

Cookie DŌ

COFFEE SHOP:

Ludlow Coffee Supply

BOUTIQUE FITNESS CLASS:

Rumble Boxing

FASHION:

Dover Street Market for his + her

BOOK STORE:

Housing Works Bookstore Soho

HAIR SALON:

Nunzio Saviano