Monthly Maidstone Spotlight – Opulence

Maidstone Business Success Story Honeydell estate agents

This month, we spoke with Emma Broom, founder of Opulence; providing bespoke luxury corporate wine tasting & vineyard experiences. Emma recently completed the GEO Brand Start-up Sessions series which has been invaluable for the growth of her business.

Emma, we first met you in the Business Terrace at our 2022 September Start up Work Shop, you have been on quite a journey since then…

Tell us what inspired you to start up your corporate hospitality business, making the most of the award-winning vineyards in Kent.

Simply put, my love for both the corporate world and English wine! Here in Kent, we are so lucky to be surrounded by stunning vineyards producing award-winning English wines. But surprisingly, the idea of hosting corporate events at these vineyards was still quite novel. Coming from a background in Marketing and Events for Barristers’ Chambers in London, I noticed that corporate entertainment often revolved around sports, private dining held in London or conferences abroad – the thought of vineyard visits was rarely ever considered, let alone in Kent. Fortunately, my experience as the Corporate, Events & Cellar Door Manager for Balfour Winery opened my eyes to the exceptional wines and unparalleled hospitality offered by Kent vineyards. By merging English wine with corporate hospitality, we’ve introduced a fresh and distinctive approach to corporate events, while also supporting Kent vineyards during their quieter periods. It’s been immensely rewarding to see many of our clients return with their families and friends on weekends, further bolstering the region’s vineyard community and spreading the word about English wine.

Apart from the Council’s Start-up Workshop, what support have you found along the way?

I can’t speak highly enough of the Start-Up Sessions organised by GEO Brand at the Business Terrace. Andrew and his team provided invaluable insights into how our branding and messaging might be perceived by outsiders, and suggested small tweaks that could make a huge impact. Beyond the informative sessions, it was fantastic to connect with businesses at various stages of their journey, fostering opportunities for networking and collaborative brainstorming. Even after the sessions, the GEO team has been incredibly supportive, always available to answer any questions I’ve had. I’m excited to hear they’re launching another series of workshops, and I wholeheartedly recommend booking a spot!

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

Reflecting on my journey with Opulence, one of the most significant lessons I’ve learned is the power of saying no. In the early days, I felt the pressure to say yes to every opportunity that came my way, fearing that turning anything down would hinder the growth of my business. However, I soon realised that by spreading myself too thin, I was unable to focus on what truly mattered for Opulence’s success. Taking a step back, I learned to evaluate each opportunity against the bigger picture and assess whether it aligned with our values and long-term goals. This sometimes meant turning down partnerships or opportunities that may have seemed lucrative but didn’t resonate with Opulence’s mission. While saying no can be challenging, especially in the early stages of a business, I’ve come to understand its necessity in maintaining focus and integrity.

As a successful female entrepreneur, have you a couple of tips you could share for those just starting their journeys?

As an entrepreneur, one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is the importance of making decisions, even when they’re tough. My Dad instilled in me the mantra of “make an executive decision, it may not be the right one, but at least you’ve made it” – a phrase our family often repeats to him when he hesitates on making a choice! Starting a business solo can be daunting without someone to bounce ideas off, but I’ve found that taking action, even if it’s not always the perfect one, is crucial for growth. Every decision, right or wrong, is a learning opportunity.

Another lesson I’ve embraced is the necessity of taking time off without feeling guilty. In the early days of Opulence, I struggled with guilt if I took even a short break. But I’ve since realised that self-care is essential for delivering my best to the business and clients. Lastly, surrounding myself with like-minded individuals in business has been invaluable. Whether it’s over coffee or a glass of wine (my personal preference!), connecting with fellow business owners who understand the challenges and celebrate the victories together has been incredibly uplifting and positive.

As the better weather approaches what plans do you have for the business this Summer 2024?

The better weather is definitely long overdue! I’m really looking forward to Summer this year, having lined up fantastic experiences for our clients throughout the year, ranging from laid-back team-away days featuring private wine tastings at Herbert Hall, personally hosted by their Owner and Winemaker, to exclusive gatherings at Gusbourne where our clients are going to enjoy canapés and paired wines amidst the vineyard, tastings direct from tank and barrel and even indulging in England’s most luxurious English wine, 51 Degrees North. We’re also in the process of developing exciting new offerings in collaboration with our partner, Chilston Park Hotel so stay tuned for more updates!

More information on the experiences offered by Emma and Opulence can be found here.

Opulence is also on Instagram

If you’d like more information on how to get involved with the events hosted at The Business Terrace please contact