It's Friday afternoon and all you want to do is get in the car, drive upstate and step into your lovely home – the outside lights on, a bottle of wine on the counter, the house perfectly heated, and the refrigerator stocked for the weekend. While for most, this is a dream. Meet Carmen Garcia - she makes dreams like this come true every day. As the founder of Hudson Staffing - a singular solution for talent, Carmen has deep roots in the Hudson Valley, offering personal concierge services that range from a personal chauffeur, a nanny, private assistant, cleaning services, landscapers, private chefs and more.
Lisa Halter: What inspired you to start your business and what is a typical day for you?
Carmen: I have been working in Household Staffing for the past 8 years, starting as a recruiter to running a startup business in NYC. I felt there was a need for these services in the Hudson Valley and wanted to bring the experience I had finding the right staff for locals and weekenders! I wanted to start an agency in the two places I love the most!
A typical day for me is never typical! It usually starts with answering emails, setting up interviews for clients to meet potential staff, interviewing new candidates, running references and background checks, and meeting clients at their homes to assess their needs! Every day is different and exciting meeting new people all the time.
Lisa Halter: What was your very first project?
Carmen: My first project in the Hudson Valley was through a realtor who was listing a home and needed a deep cleaning of the property. I was so excited to get the call and do our first job!
Lisa Halter: What is the most challenging thing about your job?
Carmen: Hiring staff for your home is so personal so making sure it is the right fit in all aspects is the most challenging part of our job. It’s matchmaking! It's trying to get the right personalities, skill set, and work ethics combined.
Photo by Nils Stahl
Lisa Halter: Are most of your client’s Hudson Valley weekenders? What are the services they look for?
Carmen: Yes, right now most of our clients are weekenders. We mostly place house managers, nannies, and housekeepers. Our clients want someone to look after their home when they're not there, or prepare their home for their arrival. We get requests for things such as: stocking the fridge and preparing the patio and outdoor space before they arrive. We also get requests for housekeeping services before and after they get to their weekend home. Weekenders will also ask for nannies and babysitters so that they can get a night out!
Lisa Halter: Have today’s smart homes – especially the operation of state-of-the-art high-tech homes, made your job easier or more difficult?
Carmen: I would have to say its made our job easier. If our clients are away we can enter the home without a key and access the property. We also know when staff has come in and out to service the home. It's also a great way for us to set temperatures, turn on lights before they arrive as well. We are even able to check what groceries are needed with internet connected refrigerators.
Lisa Halter: What are this year’s trends that are affecting your business?
Answer: We have seen a lot more growth with weekenders buying homes in the area. This has given us an opportunity to service more people and provide more jobs in the local community.
Lisa Halter: What is the most memorable career advice someone gave you?
Answer: The only way to do great work is to love what you do.
Lisa Halter: What are the most frustrating aspects of your job and the most rewarding one?
Answer: The most frustrating part of my job is not being able to help everybody find a job. Since our clients have very specific requirements we can’t always place all the candidates we interview. The most rewarding part of my job is finding the perfect person for the openings we have and making a long-lasting match!
Lisa Halter: What do you love most about living and working in the area?
Carmen: Everything! It is such a nice escape from the city life, where we're able to wind down and relax. The people are friendly, the air is clean, and it just feels like home.
Lisa Halter: It’s 5:00 on a Friday - where will we find you?
Carmen: Finishing up at the office in the city and getting in the car to head to the Hudson Valley for the weekend!
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