One-time construction worker Steve Sims, now king of the concierges, can get you in.
Steve Sims looks like a stiff-armed bouncer who waves the fortunate few through the doors of white-hot nightclubs while dashing the dreams of others. Goes to show, don’t judge a bloke by his mug. Or something like that. Because as it happens, Sims is a guy whose connections can help you gain entrance to exclusive places and A-list events.
He’s the owner of Bluefish Concierge, the Palm Beach, Florida-based company that caters to wealthy clients who want VIP access to the hippest places on the planet. Sims and his 400-person staff spread out in major markets in the States and abroad, pull off the impossible and make fantasies realities. Sims knows all the right people. With a couple of phone calls he can make almost anything happen. The event is sold out? No it isn’t. Hotel booked? Bollocks. Here’s the key to your penthouse suite.
Sims, 37, can schedule your trip to see the wreckage of the Titanic, do a shark dive with Great Whites, or, for a mere $20 million, send you to the international space station. For birthdays his team has done everything from sprinkle flowers from a helicopter to arrange for a ride in an old military submarine.
His company was the official concierge at this year’s Kentucky Derby and has served the same role at the Grammys. Pam Anderson, Steven Tyler and James Gandolfini, among many celebrities, have used his services. There was the wife of a computer executive (think iPod) who paid big bucks for her husband to be flown to France to live like James Bond for a week. Actors were hired to play villains and vixens and backdrops include Monte Carlo, Nice, and St. Tropez. Such events come at a steep price, which explains why Sims projects the company will gross $25 million in 2005.
He has a killer pad in Delray Beach, Florida drives a Turbo Porsche, and has a customized Bourget motorcycle. In addition to his comfortable lifestyle, he’s also participated in his share of outrageous adventures, including climbing the Himalayas and then white-water rafting down the other side.“I’m very fortunate,” says Sims, who is married and has three children. ”And I’m having a blast.” Not bad for a lad who left school at 16 and went to work for his father’s construction firm just outside of London. Sims may have been building things, but none of them was a plan. He quickly tired of the long work weeks, which would culminate in “getting pissed” on a Friday followed by “going toe-to-toe” and then a “punch up.” “When you look around and see the guy next to you is 60 and doing the same shit.” Says Sims, “you’re like, I’ve got to get out of here before then.” At 18 he met a wise 17-year-old named Clare. “I didn’t think I had a chance with her,” Sims says. But they started communicating and it evolved from there. They’ve been through “absolutely everything together” and he credits her for seeing a better future for him, even if he couldn’t.
“She said, “You can do other things you know. You don’t have to follow the family business.’ She gave me the belief to believe in myself.”
So he got a job with American Express, first selling insurance, then becoming a financial manager, working for one of its banks in London. Later he was transferred to Hong Kong and worked throughout Asia. During this time, Sims began meeting bigwigs, networking, and going to lavish parties across Europe. His rich clients relied on him not just for his financial knowledge, but for his ability to score tickets to hot events.
He realized he was on to something and started Bluefish, which he set up in Geneva, and eventually landed in Florida. It’s named after a password he and some buddies once used to get clients into events.
Sims is a straight shooter.“You need to be who you are and be real. People, myself included, can see through shit in seconds.” He won’t take on everyone as a client. He wants to trust them and like them, and he expects them to be honest, courteous, and unwilling to ask Bluefish’s crew (which Sims praises enthusiastically) to plan an event that will embarrass or harm him, his employees, and the clients themselves. “I’ve been known to be abrasive and I do not suffer fools gladly’” he says. Still, he’ll consider most requests, whether or not you’re rich and famous. “I’ve never looked at class distinction,” says Sims. “If a guy’s a jerk, he’s a jerk, with or without money. I just refuse to buy into crap, like ‘Do you know who my father is?’ That really pisses me off.”
He has no problem introducing his customers to an athlete or a celebrity. “There’s no reason for a client to feel like he’s a little boy who’s snuck into an adult movie. They should go along to an event or party with pride that they deserve to be there. They need to feel comfortable and that’s what we’re there to do.”
Sims gets to hang out at Elton John’s Oscar parties, chat with celebrities as diverse as Sting, Dustin Hoffman, and Tony Hawk, and rock out at the Grammys. But the best part of the job, he says, “is that I get to make people happy.”
By Ty Bronicel, Player Magazine