Rich Kids Of Instagram Founder Reveals How Far He'll Go For His Clients
The man behind the infamous Rich Kids of Instagram page has revealed how far he'll go for the wealthy, from promoting their often-controversial content on social media through to booking £25,000 dinner dates in the Eiffel Tower for them.
James McLeod Ison, who comes from a much more humble background in Leicester, set up Rich Kids of Instagram back in 2012, having realised he might be able to cash in on social media while the platform was still relatively young.
Starting out at a time where Instagram was just used by people to post holiday snaps or photos of their food, 27-year-old James saw that there was something of a gap in the market for luxury content - and, teaming up with two anonymous partners in America, Rich Kids of Instagram was born.
It wasn't long before it grew into a globally-recognised name, pushing content that that made its 371,000 followers angry and envious in equal measure, with photos of the wealthy elite living it up on private jets or posing with supercars.
The page - which is now called Rich Kids of the Internet after a slight legal hiccup with Facebook, which owns Instagram - is now just one aspect of the Rich Kids brand, as James has since expanded it to become a luxury travel business and 'concierge' service, meaning now it's not just about posting about affluent lifestyles, but also making them happen.
Speaking to LADbible, James explained: "We have a luxury travel service, which is essentially everything that you need to get from A to B.
"So in the luxury space we do the private jets, we do yachts, we do supercar rentals, we do hotels and we do villas.
"Then we have the 'concierge' if you wanna call it that, getting requests from someone that says 'Oh can I have dinner in this restaurant?' or 'I need you get my girlfriend a Birkin handbag', or whatever.
"That's a new part of the business. That's really taken off this year because the world is shut at the moment and people can't travel.
"These wealthy people are shut inside and instead of spending their money on their glorified holidays that they have, they spend it on an £80,000 handbag. It's mad."
He added: "We do get some very odd requests, but when we actually pull it off, it's pretty phenomenal."
Along an online store advertising the kinds of high-end goods that James and his team can source, including the likes of a £9,500 Chanel skateboard and £500 Yeezy trainers, sometimes the requests that come in are a little less straight-forward.
James continued: "I've had some crazy requests. I had a guy that asked to have dinner with his girlfriend in the Eiffel Tower on their own.
"We made that happen and it was an absolute nightmare, because he phoned me at 8 o'clock on a Sunday night -bearing in mind it's 9 o'clock in France - and I'm sat there like, 'Are you sure?!'.
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"I've got literally an hour and a half to get this in, and I ended up phoning the restaurant and just saying to the guy, 'Look would you mind just staying open for an extra hour, hour-and-a-half - all he wants is a waiter someone to meet him at the door and a chef to cook him food'.
"And I think he paid something like €28,000 (£25,410/$31,716) for that."
Other demands include chartering a jet for £30,000 just to bring a dog on holiday, and sourcing a helicopter to deliver a steak takeaway dinner to a yacht in Cannes, along with tricky requests for celebrity appearances - with one client asking if James could 'get Ariana Grande for her daughter' before the coronavirus pandemic scuppered those plans.
And then there's the real estate market, which is where the 'biggest ticket items' are.
"I can't tell you what we've sold or who we've sold it to, but at the moment I'm working on a deal for a penthouse in central London and the property is just under £60 million ($74.9m)," James said.
"So if we're able to get our client to buy it, we'd earn between one-and-a-half to two percent on that... You're talking over a million quid in commission."
But while the businessman is eager to do what he can for people, he admitted there is a limit to what he can agree to.
"I also have to say no a lot of the time," James said.
"I had a guy last summer who wanted his 21st birthday party in London in a hotel, and he asked me to get him a leopard.
"He's from Dubai so I was just like 'The thing is mate, in London we don't do that', but obviously where he's from the culture is very different."
The same rule applies on the Instagram grid, where the RKOI team try not to post any pictures of animals or young children.
"He posted a lion cub last year in a Lamborghini Aventador, but there was a story to it: that lion cub was rescued from one of these zoos or farms in Dubai and it was rescued and looked after.
"It was actually an influencer that gave us the video. She was like 'Can you please post it and raise awareness, [and prove] that we're not all crazy in the UAE'.
"We got so much hate even though there's a good story behind it.
"I mean, there are some things that we post that a lot of people would say is immoral, and I get it - I've come from nothing, I know what it's like to not have any money at all.
"But there's some things we feel do actually need to be shown for reaction purposes, or to show that this is actually what happens in the world."
Featured Image Credit: James McLeod Ison