Tempus lifts the curtain on London’s newest membership club Home Grown
As a private member’s club from Home House opens in Marylebone, MD Andrew Richardson takes us on a tour
Opening in the heart of Marylebone on 3 April is London’s newest private member’s club, Home Grown. The sister club of the historic Home House – which has been a key part of the area’s social scene since its opening in 1998 – the venue on Great Cumberland Place offers members a fresh space to socialise, work and network.
While Home House caters to already successful business types, Home Grown has a different target demographic, and an ambience that’s decidedly more contemporary than its Portman Square neighbour. Picture colourful mix-match furniture, artistic wallpaper, hand-painted lifts, ping pong table meeting tables and various living areas arranged across the group’s signature ‘home from home’ set up.
“The brand itself defines British eccentricity,” Andrew Richardson, managing director of Home House, says. “It’s a mix of traditional and modern eccentricity – you’ve got what looks like your grandma’s front room mixed with a bit of Vivienne Westwood and designer Paul Smith. The rooms are all quite different – we like each space to be unique so that when you walk in, it doesn't feel corporate at all. It feels very homely.”
Over time, the club aims to build up to around 2,500 members, made up of 70% entrepreneurs and performance business leader, 20% investors and 10% service providers. When he says entrepreneurs, Richardson has a very specific type in mind: “It's important that the entrepreneurs they already have funding – they might be then thinking of the future for second or third phase. If you're an investor, the last thing you want to do is join a club where everyone's going to be tapping you on the shoulder asking, ‘what about my business?’ so we've picked that stage where it is all about the performance of your business. You've been funded, you might not be profitable, but you have funding and you clearly have a roadmap to success. And we're supporting that.”
Private events is a key part of the strategy and the club will host around 20 events a month ranging from intimate dinners to Q&As with known entrepreneur speakers and complimentary sessions with accountancy and law firms. Essentially, the club wants to provide its members with support and peer-to-peer mentoring for all different stages of their business – and personal – growth. >>
"The very first event is going to be Home House founder Richard Farleigh doing a Q&A with Daniel Priestley, who's very active in the entrepreneurial sector,” Richardson reveals. “Richard Farley was on Dragon’s Den series two and three – he was the very first investor for Home House, so it's quite fitting.”
Current Home House members will have the opportunity to apply for dual membership across both clubs, as long as the member in question fits the appropriate profile.
“We like eclectic, exciting individuals,” says Richardson. “We don't want to be an Institute of Directors – the modern entrepreneur is as far from this. Sort of the standard outfit: the suit and shirt. Whereas the modern entrepreneur is individual – they dress individually, they behave differently. They have to be different otherwise it wouldn't create new things. They wouldn't be the trailblazers that we need in order to set up new businesses.”
The next stages for the company include an app (estimated to launch at the end of Q2) within which members can book spaces at events and connect with other members, and possible expansion into the north of England – Manchester and Birmingham are cities currently under consideration. Watch this space for further updates.