Tell us about yourself?
My name is Antoine Melon, and I’m the co-founder of Hometainment.
I have over 25 years of experience in opening and running restaurants and hotels around the world, including Six Senses, Mandarin Oriental and Conran Restaurants.
I am an expert in the art of hosting, or “L’Art de recevoir”. Since coming to London, I have put my global experience to use at Soho House and Artfarm (part of Hauser & Wirth art gallery).
What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?
To make sure you surround yourself with experts in their field to complete your skills and experience. To test your product / concept with your friends to receive constructive and honest feedback.
To be able to observe your business from a bird eye point of view as you often get stuck in the day to day.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
To test your product, your offer, your price, your tech before launching it to a wider audience to ensure that it is market fit.
A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?
I am not a great example as I am always on but on the weekends I give myself short windows to follow up on the business, and the rest of the time relax and spend quality time with girlfriend and friends.
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
Hometainment was born out of the idea that the home has once again become a sanctuary.
People want to bring amazing experiences into their home, for themselves and close family and friends to enjoy a more personal and bespoke event.
Hometainment fulfils that need by providing some of the very best industry experts to your home.
Whether that’s private dining, a cocktail masterclass or a wardrobe detox, we have the very best experts offering a range of at-home experiences to suit everyone’s interests.
What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?
We hand-pick every one of our experiences. It’s like getting your hands on a little black book, filled with the very best entertainers, private chefs, mixologists and event creator Extraordinaires.
No more scouring the web for party planners or freelance entertainers as we offer an elite selection of hosts to come into your home, each one hand-picked for their expertise and creative flair, and I think that is our magic sauce.
How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?
Our sales have grown gradually during the first year with a strong acceleration after 15 months thanks to our focus on B2B which have some larger budget and more recurrent business.
D2C is great way to test that your business is market fit but it takes time, energy and high cost of acquisition.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?
Our biggest challenge is the scalability of our business and for that we have recruited a tech developer, UX / UI agency and a business development manager to make our platform the most user friendly possible and convert our website traffic from leads to sales.
What do you find are the advantages of operating your business in London?
Operating in London means we have access to some of the world’s best entertainers and Michelin star chefs!
We handpick each one of our experiences, so we look for people who live and breathe quality and can offer guests something extraordinary.
London attracts some of the best culturists, whether it’s food, fashion or art – it’s the perfect place to find only the best in the UK.
Are there any issues with having a London based business? Have you experienced these?
Although we do orchestrate some events outside of London, we’re mainly based in London.
Like any other business that predominantly operates in one area, sometimes it can limit our customer-base, but we always try to cater for every inquiry.
How has the higher than UK average cost of living impacted your ability to work and live in London and how has this also impacted your ability as an employer?
Personally I think that it will impact HOMETAINMENT in a positive way as entertaining at home can prove to be better value for money than going out due to all the other costs such as transport and baby sitter.
If you had to relocate your business to another city in the UK, which one would it be and why?
We would look at the largest cities in the UK such as Manchester. Our targeted audience is households earning more than £100K a year so that have enough disposable income to entertain at home.
How has BREXIT impacted your business (if at all)?
There is definitely a shortage of hospitality staff in the UK and it makes it harder and harder to find talent.
What is your vision for your company in the next 5 years?
Our Vision is to bring back the magic of Hosting at Home, bringing together friends and family, enjoying memorable experiences in a safe and comfortable environment, the HOME.
And finally, if people want to get involved and learn more about your business, how should they do that?
Have a look at our website – Hometainment.com – which has all of our latest experiences to suit every taste and every budget. You can also see how our events look and our latest work through our Instagram and TikTok.