As The Pursuitist continues to interview the leaders of luxury, next up in the series is our interview with Patricia Calfee, the Founder and Present of Bergine. Bergine is the first luxury-focused private sale destination on the Internet for local services and experiences. Founded in San Francisco by Patricia Calfee and Ian Picache, Bergine came to life through a devoted team filled with many perspectives and one common vision: local luxury services made available at exclusive prices. For more details, visit http://www.bergine.com
Q. Tell us about your company.
A. Bergine is a private-sale website that offers local luxury services and experiences at prices up to 70% off retail. We partner with acclaimed merchants in Los Angeles and San Francisco to create curated offers that are posted daily on Bergine.com. We provide access to quality merchants and present offers ranging from the useful and practical to the rare and unforgettable. Bergine will open in Orange County and Dallas this summer and membership is free.
Q. How is your company unique compared to competitors?
A. Bergine cares deeply about the quality of our merchants and the services they provide. To ensure that our members receive the best service possible, each offer is carefully evaluated and experienced by Bergine. We provide a space where luxury merchants feel safe presenting their services to members who appreciate and value quality.
Q. Where are you based, how large is the company?
A. We are headquartered in San Francisco, but have teams working in Los Angeles, Orange County and Dallas. Each of our fifteen employees is extremely passionate about living a quality lifestyle. At some level, everyone who works for Bergine helps create and evaluate the offers that we present to our members.
Q. Please tell us about your background.
A. Most recently, I managed my foundation that works to support public middle schools in San Francisco. I began my career in public relations at a boutique firm in San Francisco and became partner before the agency merged with KBP in New York City. I have served on numerous community boards, and support non-profit organizations in the communities where Bergine is present. My husband and I spend our time between northern and southern California (West Hollywood, San Francisco and Napa Valley).
Q. Tell us about your day to day duties — and challenges in the industry.
A. I am always on the hunt for great services and experiences. A significant part of my day is spent exploring restaurants, spas and service providers; I love hearing about ideas for potential offers. Today my inbox has more than 200 e-mails from friends and Bergine members who have shared a merchant or service that they love. Given the nature of our business – curated luxury services – we have a limited number of offers available and we sell out quickly. I understand that this can be frustrating for our members and we work hard to ensure as many offers are available as possible.
Q. So luxury returned?
A. I love the Coco Chanel quote: “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” It speaks to the reality of today’s lifestyle for many people. I don’t think that the concept of luxury ever went away, but I think that we access and see it differently now.