From Voyage LA Magazine September 2018
Today we’d like to introduce you to Sara Gepp.
Sara, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started with Apple Retail at one of the first retail stores as a Mac Sales Specialist. I loved working with customers and at that time, people were switching from P.C. to Mac and the iPod had recently come out. The product line was changing the world and the energy within Apple Retail was contagious.
I transferred from the Midwest to the Santa Monica and was pursuing a career in Audio Engineering. Despite working union jobs in Hollywood I continued to work at the Apple Store. Because, it was really fun and we were able to take advantage of unlimited training. So, it was an awesome time for learning.
While working at a movie premier, I was injured and could no longer do the physically demanding work I was doing before. I became a Personal Assistant for an Industry Executive in Malibu and it was very technically demanding. He wanted the latest and greatest of everything for himself, family and staff and I was in charge of making it happen. I loved creating the perfect relationship between the equipment and and client needs. Facilitating creativity, educational needs and making life easier for family and staffers.
I care a lot about the environment and as Apple deepened their commitment to a Green Business model, I began to ask myself how I could do the same in my own way. I was driving a lot, doing a lot of purchasing and accommodating the demand for new products all the time.
I learned that what I could do remotely, I asked for help from the Apple Store business Team, I developed relationships with area non-profits to re-use equipment. Most importantly, I learned how to make the equipment work long into its life span.
I became a lot more efficient which, created time for volunteering and activism. I was invited to volunteer at the United Nations for the last 3 years. And last Winter I was a volunteer Medic at Standing Rock. These Volunteer commitments have restored my faith in the goodness of people. And it is a part of my business model to incorporate a consciousness about the environment as well as the local community.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Being in a male dominated industry can be challenging. My background in Personal Assisting has helped a lot with customer service skills. I had people hire me and then become skeptical of my skill set even though I have the highest level of certification that Apple offers. That can make for an awkward appointment time. But, I remain professional and always get the job done.
Please tell us about Close to the Earth I.T. Services.
My business is a complete Concierge service for all things tech. From wireless networking to setting up new computers, addressing security concerns and even doing Apple Store runs.
I am proud of the personalized service that I am able to provide. The level of privacy and attention to detail is something that I value highly. Malibu is a small town so, discretion is a must. My clients trust me a lot and that makes me feel great about what I am doing. I love my work.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
In the beginning, I let people take advantage of my time and was pushed around by some unhappy people. I was eager to make such a good impression that it was stressing me out. Over time, I have declined appointments when I sense a toxic communication style. I work for clients who are doing great things in life. I make time for theses types of people: “the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.” (Steve Jobs)
$199 per hour
Address: 30745 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265