LUXURY TOPPING; AN INTERVIEW WITH KATE PERCIVAL
What made you decide to launch and invest in a private women’s Club?
I developed the idea during my Masters Degree in Luxury Brands and Services, and the business plan I did for my thesis became the foundation for Grace. I only had to look around and see how women spend their lives putting family and work before their own health. I was experiencing the very same thing myself, too, so I knew it first-hand. It made me realise it was time for women to invest more in themselves and really get some of that much-needed ‘Me time’.
Understanding what today’s woman wants and what she needs was how Grace was born. The concept was to create a sanctuary that supported women’s health and wellbeing from the inside out. I see Grace as very much reflecting the values of Arianna Huffington’s Third Metric: we must champion wellbeing, wisdom, wonder and giving in order to balance the quest for wealth and power.
Were you faced with many difficulties when you made this decision?
Any new business has its birth pangs. Raising the finance was the first and most challenging hurdle. The next was getting 11,500sq ft of Grade II-listed space designed and fitted out in 5 months so that we didn’t miss the autumn market. I find it hard to believe that was only 2 years ago, with the amazing progress we’ve made since. At the time, people questioned whether being women-only wasn’t being discriminatory and sexist. But anyone who has seen and experienced the Club realises that Grace is not remotely anti-men, it’s just very pro-women.
Grace has an excellent reputation amongst its members. What do you think it is that makes Grace so successful?
We called it ‘Grace’ after three Graces of mythology – Charm, Beauty and Creativity – and I see our Club as embodying these qualities. We have a team of internationally recognised experts who offer a wide range of services, from medical, fitness and spa to wellbeing, healthy cuisine and culture. We aim to create a special synergy by integrating these, so that each complements and enhances the other. It’s all focused on treasuring the woman, and I think it’s this that sets us apart. We have a 360-degree approach to wellness, and this means we have created a haven with the best of the best under one roof to complete the mind-body-soul circle. Once touched by the gift of Grace, can one be without it? The answer is no.
You often hold prestigious events and have facilities to enhance all aspects of life including healthcare, keeping fit and relaxation. What can women expect to experience by becoming a member of Grace?
The kind words we receive from members about their experiences are at the heart of what Grace is all about. I’ve had several women telling me that Grace has quite literally “saved their lives”. Most just say how empowered and rejuvenated they feel – “re-calibrated”, as one member recently put it – even just by an hour in the Club.
Essentially, Grace is a retreat where our members can focus on themselves and escape from the external pressures they are constantly having to juggle and battle with in the world outside. We understand women and what each individual person wants and how they want it. All our services and programmes have been created with women in mind, to suit their wellbeing need.
Do you have any particularly special events coming up in the near future?
We have a range of eclectic events each week at Grace, open to our members and as well as guests. We have upcoming medical seminars as part of our ‘How to remain Healthy in the 21stCentury’ series, conducted by our internationally recognised experts. Other events include a luxury Christmas shopping evening hosted by a selection of our favourite brands, yoga workshops and meditation workshops, and business breakfasts hosted by inspirational women, such as Nadja Swarovski.
Grace is fast becoming known as the most chic venue in London with figures such as Cressida Bonas, Tamara Beckwith and Natalie Imbruglia attending the re-launch. How do you feel about these famous names being associated to your Club?
We are pleased that so many high-profile, high-achieving women chose to spend time on themselves at our Club, of course, just as we do with any other woman who values herself and is looking to relax and restore herself in an atmosphere that will treasure her as her.
What are you most excited about concerning the future of Grace?
We haven’t even hit our second anniversary and we’ve already reached our target in terms of membership numbers. With the Club growing at such a fast rate, we expect to be expanding further afield – perhaps New York or LA… destinations that are health hubs and would respond well to our approach. Our offering will be unique there, just as here. There are women-only business clubs around the world, but none that take an approach to health and wellbeing in order to empower and support women the way we do at Grace.
You have numerous membership packages available, tailored to complement women from those who only visit London on a weekend to those who want to attend the Club everyday. Can you give us a little more detail about these?
We have over 38 nationalities at Grace; not all of them live locally and each individual wishes to utilise the Club for different reasons, and therefore we have created a range of membership packages to suit them. Our Out Of Town/Overseas Membership is catered for those who can’t dedicate a lot of time to the Club. Our Social Membership and Grace Café Club Membership is specially tailored to those who enjoy our events and a healthy dining experience. Our Full Membership is for those who wish to immerse themselves fully in our integrated health offering.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I try to find quality time for my family and friends – my iPhone permitting! My two amazing daughters and my husband have been such phenomenal supports and were instrumental in creating Grace. And of course, spending time with my grandson.