Career in the luxury sector: Karsten Lachmann worked almost every day for the super-rich for over 20 years - as a butler

This article is an acquisition from Capital, Capital's premium digital offering.

Career in the luxury sector: Karsten Lachmann worked almost every day for the super-rich for over 20 years - as a butler

This article is an acquisition from Capital, Capital's premium digital offering. For you as a stern PLUS subscriber, it is available exclusively here for ten days. It will then be available again exclusively for Capital subscribers at www.capital.de/plus. Like stern, the business magazine Capital belongs to RTL Deutschland.

If you ask Karsten Lachmann what makes the work worthwhile, he will say something like this: A day in Saint-Tropez, the sun is reflected in the water of the Côte d'Azur. From land, passers-by marvel at the yachts moored in the harbor and in front of the city, each larger and more beautiful than the last. The tabloids are there, paparazzi are trying to catch a glimpse of the rich and famous on their boats. And Karsten Lachmann is standing on one of these motor yachts and is happy.

"When the box started, my boss saw my grin and said to the captain: 'Turn it up,'" says Lachmann. The yacht: big. The boss: a person so rich that he could not only afford this boat, but also his own staff. The engines: huge. Lachmann smiles as he sits in his Berlin apartment today and talks about it: "I'm still living from that moment today."

For over 20 years, Lachmann worked almost every day for the super-rich - as a butler. Something like being on a yacht, says the 57-year-old, who also looks dapper in his gray sports polo shirt with a neatly trimmed beard - he could only have experienced something like that in this job. For Lachmann, such moments were the reward for always being there. For ensuring that the rolls were always on the table at the right time, even if the baker had just died; for getting the guests' favorite wine before a visit, even when bottles were hard to come by; for always keeping the cars full of gas and never asking the gentlemen for a favor.

Butlers like Lachmann belong to an exclusive class of staff that only the richest of the rich treat themselves to. In some households, an employee like Lachmann has to do everything, others employ a chauffeur, gardener, cook and nanny in addition to the butler. It is difficult to say how many of the high-class employees work worldwide; secrecy is the hallmark of the industry; official figures do not exist. You can only approach them from the other side: through that of the multimillionaires who could permanently pay for the luxury of their own full-time employees. According to estimates by the Swiss bank UBS, around 9,000 people with assets of more than $50 million lived in Germany in 2022. There are said to be around 240,000 worldwide. Only 7,000 people in the world have more than half a billion dollars in wealth.

The job market for their employees is just as exclusive as the circle of the wealthy. A few dozen agencies in Europe such as Swiss Butlers or Lachmann's agency Butler for You place highly qualified workers. Most of them attend special schools that teach them the rules of etiquette among the rich.

Lachmann had a particularly long journey to becoming a butler.

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