Exeleon Magazine

Meet Gracie Jones, Founder of Opulent Lifestyle

Gracie Jones_Opulent Lifestyle

In our Celebration of Black History Month, we are interviewing various entrepreneurs that are making a global change with their leadership ideas and vision.

In this Interview Feature, Exeleon Magazine interacts with Gracie Jones, Founder of Opulent Lifestyle, which is a hand-selected elite association that connects its members with unique services, amazing products, networking opportunities, and memorable experiences especially appreciated by those who have discerning tastes, lead innovative corporations, and live extraordinary lifestyles.

Gracie Jones shares about her journey, her ideas, and her vision for Opulent Lifestyle.

What according to you makes one a powerful woman? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership?

A powerful woman is one who stays true to who she is. She respects herself. She’s unafraid to share her ideas, her thoughts, her wisdom—even if the audience is a tough one—because she has strong convictions about how to reach goals and measure success.

I believe a powerful woman not only stands up for herself, she also advocates for others. She knows people matter.

She also knows that she intends to keep learning. A powerful woman is unafraid of constructive criticism because she wants to improve because her personal growth benefits her and the people surrounding her

As a business leader, I strive to practice this. I stay true to myself. I remember my convictions.

Most of all, I value communication. The floor is open for dialogue with my staff, partners, and clients. Robust communication welcomes fresh perspectives. Everyone can be heard.

I also believe communication makes everyone more productive because it presents opportunities to grow, problem-solve, and build business relationships.

Talk to us about your growing up years. What is your earliest memory as an entrepreneur that you remember?

Since childhood, I’ve always envisioned myself doing great things. It was my life perspective.

But a family friend planted the seed of success deep within me. I credit her for giving me the drive to push forward. She observed my intellect, my study habits, my demeanor, and even how I engaged with others and spoke success over me.

It was the first time someone had believed in me. I accepted that success mantle. From then on, I became a self-driven, hard-working, nothing-can-standing-in-my-way type of woman.

What prompted your interest and subsequently your foray into the concierge services industry?

The vision started when I couldn’t achieve a partnership with several Jet & Yacht brokers for my clients’ travel needs. I wanted to merge travel services for C-suite management while planning their corporate events and meetings.

They refused to form a cohesive partnership that would have benefited them and my company. Instead, their focus was on their profit and not mine.

It was a rejection, but their lack of vision didn’t stop me. My response was to come up with services that eventually shaped the Opulent Lifestyle concept, which fused the event and travel industry. From there, we expanded into a concierge club that offered corporate memberships.

What was the idea that led to the start of Opulent Lifestyle? How does the brand stand out from the crowd?

As I mentioned, I identified a need between two industries and built a niche solution. There are a very limited number of companies that provide this combination of event and travel services the way we do.

Many companies have attempted this similar approach but failed because they realized how time-consuming event management processes are.

We had an advantage in this space. Opulent Lifestyle already had access to the needed infrastructure and resources from its sister company, Opulent Events by Grace Mice-Incentive-Conference-Events (MICE) operation. In other words, we simply focus on corporate event needs.

What does a day in the life of Gracie Jones look like? How do you ensure work-life balance?

It’s a constant hustle! Opulent Lifestyle is not the only business I run. COVID-19 hit several of my businesses very hard. I had to let go most of my staff and assume additional responsibilities.

To be honest, trying to set up time to spend with family and friends has been challenging for me. However, I’ve attempted to allow myself some time to focus on self-care and spending more time with my husband. I’m also taking the time to enjoy activities I enjoy, such as indoor skydiving, walking, exercising, pickle ball, and golf lessons.

Being an African American women entrepreneur, what has been the biggest challenges for you in your journey?

Let’s be honest.

White men have the financial backing and access to connections that I don’t have. The old saying, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” seems to be very true.

Breaking down old-boys-club barriers is challenging to this day. Every person I’ve ever spoken to loved my business model and concept, but they never took the next step to work with me.

I was determined to keep moving forward by any means. I pumped up my networking, I rebranded, I conducted marketing campaigns, and I established relationships with contacts and partners. But the journey is ongoing.

Looking back at your journey, what would you have done different when starting out?

I would go back two years to the start of my vision and change the marketing approach. Rather than giving it its own identity and marketing needs, I held off and made it an extension of its sister company, Opulent Events by Gracie.

I eventually realized it was imperative that Opulent Lifestyle needed its own brand, look, feel, and voice rather than being an extension of something else.

Finally, what does the future look like for Opulent Lifestyle? What are you most excited about, both professionally and personally?

Well, I want to see Opulent Lifestyle become the talk of the industry. Because of the trials and tribulations, the company experienced, my objective is for the company’s financial gains to exceed my expectations so that we can offer even more.

Our goal always is to put our members first! We have programs lined up that will allow us to do this annually. For example, our Founding Members program includes annual trips and galas hosted by us. The financial gain we achieve will allow us to bring that to reality.

I want our members to feel great about their choice of joining our club. I want them to feel valued and appreciated about how they’ve helped us achieve our success. I’m excited about watching the membership grow and see how members will praise our brand.

We have wonderful plans for a new headquarters and bringing on talent that will become thought leaders in the industry. We forecast offering employee programs that will provide work-life balance, wellness, and professional development.

Personally, I get to see what I’ve built grow from birth to maturity, making all the challenges, struggles, and hard work well worth it. I see myself taking on speaking engagements to help other women and youth achieve their goals and dreams. Finally, I see myself spending more quality time with family, my husband, and making self-care a priority.

Read Digital Version of the Feature.

Visit Opulent Lifestyle Website.

Contact Opulent Lifestyle on LinkedIn.

PHOTO CREDIT

Photographer: Kamile Kuntz

Hair: Kyle Bullock

Makeup: IG @sakiya_style

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