Benny Smeds is a fascinating individual, out to “spread the love” and help everyone he encounters. That's fortunate, as those traits lend themselves to his line of work as a life coach and as founder and CEO of VIP Finland, a luxury destination management and concierge service.
Born just outside Helsinki, Smeds went on to find himself abroad, everywhere from California to Switzerland, the latter being where he studied BBA and Hospitality Management at the Hotel Institute Montreux. Back in Finland, he set up his destination management company.
VIP Finland launched in 2013 and is akin to a large-scale butler service, which works via a network of committed partners. It focuses on three areas – personal lifestyle management (doing daily errands, catering, shopping); consulting and investment services for businesses (“we are searching for a ski resort for one of our clients to purchase,” says Smeds); and the big one: tailor-made travel agency services. Popular services include private jets, luggage services, and holiday activities such as Northern Lights trips, husky safaris, and reindeer tours.
The process is simple - if someone wants something, they contact the company and specify their needs, and then VIP Finland takes care of the rest.
“If someone in Lapland wants a specific type of tea, only sold in France, to be delivered to their door, we can do that for them. Nothing is off limits,” says Smeds. It was in 2015 that an experience, with Ayahuasca medicine and an accident from which he could have died, led to his awakening to a deeper meaning of life. “This brought me more ideas on how to help people and spread my love,” he says. “I think the universe intended it to happen, as a way to open my eyes.”
This led to the inclusion of luxury mindfulness and wellbeing activities in the company – wild food tours, mindfulness retreats, and yoga, as a few examples. Smeds is passionate about “plant meditation” workshops, guided by musician and expert Marco Burci. He uses a special device, which can also be bought for personal use, to amplify the natural music of the plants; these sound frequencies are healing and can help, for example, people in a coma, those with mental problems, and babies with colic.
It might sound distinctly New Age, but that's the beauty of Smeds – he is unashamedly so, and it works for him. He spreads the love and his clients are always happy.