Do you hate grocery shopping? Do you have zero time in the day to wait at home for a delivery? If you answered yes, you’re probably an excellent candidate for Charlotte’s boutique errand and personal assistant service, Uptown Errands.
Kadie Kersey started Uptown Errands last February, after 18 months of working with SCORE, “Counselors to America’s Small Business.”
Uptown Errands offers personal assignment services that range from errands like grocery shopping to more personal assistant-style tasks like creating travel itineraries and booking appointments. There are five categories of offerings on the company’s website: pickup/delivery, calendar management, automotive, home management and custom. The list is by no means exhaustive, she said.
“95 percent of the things that I do are custom requests,” Kersey said.
Before launching Uptown Errands, she worked as an event planner for two years, then a teacher at a year-round elementary school for five years. A year-round school follows nine weeks on, three weeks off cycle instead of the standard long summer breaks.
“During those three weeks, I literally would run errands every day for myself or my fiancé. That’s just what I love doing.”
“Every day I make a list of things I want to get done and set a time frame of when I think I can accomplish them. I’m very Type A and it gives me huge satisfaction.”
Kersey’s fiancé came up with the idea for Uptown Errands on a drive through Durham, N.C. They saw a bumper sticker that said “Errand Girl of Durham;” Kersey immediately looked up the company and thought, “this is me.”
“It was kind of my a-ha moment. I thought, ‘That’s totally what I want to do with my life,’” she said.
At this point, Kersey and her fiancé were waiting on a transfer from his company to place them in Charlotte, where they wanted to live long-term. While they waited for the transfer, Kersey got herself set up with two mentors from SCORE. Over the next 18 months, they crafted a business plan, designed the Uptown Errands website and mapped out her company’s scale and growth forecasts.
“Once it launched, I wanted everything to be lined up,” she said. “I wanted it to be very professional, and I wanted to go all in.”
Since she launched Uptown Errands last February, Kersey has seen a steady flow of clients. Most come from word-of-mouth referrals. So far, she hasn’t gathered any funding or paid for any advertising.
“With being an errand service and more like a personal assistant, I am asked to do personal things for people and I’m in and out of their homes,” she said. “People need to trust me. If a friend tells you, ‘Hey I use Uptown Errands,’ you’re more likely to feel like you can trust that person to come into your home than if you saw some kind of paid advertising or heard about it on the radio.”
Part of what has made her word-of-mouth style so successful is her dedication to the startup community in Charlotte. Kersey herself has made friends with other entrepreneurs in Charlotte through her connection to SCORE and by attending pitch competitions and networking events. She’s pitched Uptown Errands at PitchBreakfast and has become friends with founders at similar companies – most notably, 2ULaundry, Charlotte’s concierge laundry service that launched last year. The two companies connected after a Charlotte Agenda article mentioned them in an advice bit about “time savers” in the city.
“Charlotte has been really great. Never at any point have I felt like I don’t have any support or there aren’t any resources for me to use as a small business.”
The future looks bright for Kersey and Uptown Errands. Right now – a little over a year in – Uptown Errands is a one-woman show. She’s at the point in the company’s growth that she’s considering seeking funding and is looking into hiring an employee or two.