A day in the life of Max Aniort
Words Matthieu Morge-Zucconi
Photos Yves Mourtada
The Collectionist's cofounder talks travel, hair styling spray and plastic chairs.
In our list of dream jobs, renting high-end holiday dream houses in Corsica, Ibiza, and Paros sits firmly in the top 3. You can imagine how excited we were to talk to Max Aniort, one of Le Collectionist’s co-founders, who actually does that for a living. On a March day so grim that we came very close to booking a villa on the seafront on the spot, he welcomed us in his home in Paris to talk curly hair, moustaches, and entrepreneurship.
Hello, could you introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Max Aniort, I’m one of Le Collectionist’s co-founders. We rent luxury properties, essentially in Europe, in approximately 30 destinations: Ibiza, Paros and Mykonos, Comporta, the French Riviera, Corsica, Courchevel, and more. We currently have 70 employees across offices in Paris, Marseille, and Ibiza. We started the company 5 years ago, but I consider us an SME more than a start-up.
Where did the idea for Le Collectionist come from?
One of my business partners had rented a flat in Barcelona. It looked nice on the pictures, but when he got there it was a nightmare: it wasn’t clean, no hot water, an empty fridge, you get the picture. We came to the conclusion that there was a real opening when it came to improving holiday rentals and offering a real experience. We started with rentals in St Tropez and Deauville, and we slowly expanded around the Mediterranean. It took off quickly, with great coverage from the media, in particular.
What did you do before Le Collectionist?
My background is pretty run-of-the-mill, you know, I went to business school, and ended up in financial consulting. I didn’t really question any of it. The only thing that is really different in my background and education is that I grew up in Saudi Arabia, and when I returned to France, I attended a military school in Brest. It was a little like Hogwarts, but in Brittany. I started working on Le Collectionist because the project was super cool, and the timing was right. Airbnb had already started to pave the way, and I really wanted to work in the travel and tourism industry.
In your opinion, what is Le Collectionist’s added value compared to other holiday rental services?
We try to set certain standards, to define what a Le Collectionist house is. It’s a complicated task. The right plastic chair can be perfectly fine in the adequate setting, for example. There’s a lot of gut feeling involved. You have to fall in love with the house, both on the inside and the outside. I think our taste in choosing the properties is what sets us apart. There’s no such thing as universal good taste, but other companies in the luxury rental industry have an approach which focuses more on bling and rococo. You know, Donald Trump and the O.C. style. Our clients are looking for a more refined, European aesthetic. They’re epicurean. I think that, to a certain extent, everyone working in the company is. It’s part of the company culture.
You travel a lot, right?
For work? Not that much, to be honest. Our teams are often on the road though, in particular to visit locations. I often go to our Marseille and Ibiza offices to see the teams there. I love Marseille. My parents live there. For leisure, my husband and I like to leave Paris on short breaks. We’re often in Barcelona or in Lisbon a lot. It’s nice to get a break from Paris. We generally head out of the city one or two weekends a month.
Do you travel with your grooming products?
Not really. I take samples, like those you get from Aesop, it’s very practical. The only things I always bring with me are a face moisturiser, and a toothbrush. I also like to bring my own shower gel, because you never know what the hotels are going to provide.
What products do you use for your routine in Paris?
Every morning I use the Horace face cleanser. I also have the full Horace shower gel collection, so I can choose the one I want to use based on my mood. For example, Monday mornings are for the peppermint and tea tree shower gel; it’s super fresh, and helps wake the entire body up! The orange blossom shower gel on the other hand, is for a more relaxed, stay-at-home-and-chill mood. I use the Horace deodorant too, as well as the mattifying moisturiser. I used Aesop products for a super long time, but stopped after taking a closer look at the ingredients in their products. When it comes to perfume, I like orange-scented fragrances.
You have curly hair; how does that impact your routine?
I wash my hair twice a week in the morning, with Sachajuan shampoo. I also use the Horace conditioner. Then I let my hair dry on its own time. If I run out of time, I replace the conditioner with the Horace texturising styling spray, which does the job. I like its ‘beach hair’ effect. It’s my backup for mornings when I find myself short on time.
Do you shave often?
No, I’m super lazy when it comes to shaving. I let my beard grow out and then close shave. I can never seem to get the intermediate length beard right. I grow out a moustache twice a year. I always start with thinking it really suits me, and then completely go off it. A moustache, curly hair, just add a little summer weather, and I look straight out of Narcos. Needless to say, it’s a style more suited for Ibiza than Paris.
Speaking of which, with offices in Paris, Marseille, and Ibiza, how do you get all these teams to work together?
We have a manager in each office. My job consists in making sure everyone is on the same page, and following the strategy. That being said, the Marseille and Ibiza teams don’t depend on us on a daily basis, they have their day-to-day tasks set out by managers in each office. In Paris, I mostly work from the office. I like being with the teams. As your company grows, you quickly realise what the title you initially gave yourself entails.
At what time does your day start?
I wake up at 7:30, 8:00am. I often have work breakfasts. It’s a good way of having a meeting. If all goes well, it’s a good breakfast, if not, you can just say you have to move on with your day (laughs)! My days generally revolve around meetings with our teams. We have a weekly brief on Mondays, as well as our executive committee meeting, which is always an enjoyable moment as we’re 5 friends before being business partners.
Do you switch off from work easily on weekends?
I try to. As I mentioned earlier, we travel a lot on weekends. I like to discover new places, new things. I like Saturday mornings, going grocery shopping at La Ruche Qui Dit Oui, then buying some flowers, and some cheese. After 2 or 3 Saturdays like this, I’ll get the itch to do something new, though. If I’m in Paris, I usually go pick up some comics at the library, then generally spend Sunday afternoon working on the sofa, from 5:00 to 8:00pm, preparing the upcoming week.