Esme’s Escape is a luxury glamping location in South Somerset who has just won an award from Muddy Stilettos for the best Boutique Stay in Somerset. Having seen the Blackdown-made hut at Dimpsey win the award last year – we were delighted to see that Esme’s Escape, one of our self-build owners, won this year.
We caught up with Karen Mitchell from the company to find out more about the location, the business, the award and more…
Tell us a bit about the award you won…
We’ve recently won the Muddy Stilettos award for Best Boutique Stay in Somerset. Muddy Stilettos call themselves the urban guide to the countryside and celebrate the quirky, cool and downright unmissable and so it’s rather fabulous to be considered worthy to be on their site. There were two rounds to the awards; the nominations where each business was nominated by their supporters, and then those with the highest number of nominations got through to the finals where the public voted for their favourite of the 5 finalists.
What does the award mean to you?
We were absolutely delighted to have won, and are so very grateful for everyone’s nominations and votes. Throughout the process we received such wonderful messages of encouragement from so many, it was hugely touching and humbling. For us, our guests experience while staying at Esme’s Escape is at the core of everything we do, having so many people recognise this and make the effort to nominate and vote for us is hugely rewarding.
Where did you get the inspiration from for Esme’s Escapes?
We thought for a while about building a temporary dwelling in the front of our property for holiday let, the lightbulb moment happened when I met a very successful Shepherd’s Hut business owner (who needs no help from me, but thank you Emma). Esme & Fred, the couple who built our home, had originally met when Esme arrived in the village to help with the war effort as a land girl in 1943 so a Shepherd’s Hut seemed an appropriate style of accommodation to honour the work of the Women’s Land Army. We have styled the hut with 1940s features including photos of Esme and Fred during their early years together.
What do you enjoy most about the business?
We most enjoy meeting our guests. So many different couples, ages, lifestyles and stories. We feel they arrive as strangers and leave as friends, all of them loving the Esme’s Escape experience, intending to return and recommend us to their friends.
Why did you pick Blackdown Shepherd Huts?
Blackdown Shepherd Huts were highly recommended to us for their quality and customer service, we wanted to support a local business and our research confirmed this. Alan was really approachable and friendly and talked us through the options available. We opted for a self-build kit as we were feeling confident of our skillset. The first week provided a steep learning curve but Will was very willing to offer the benefit of his experience. Five months later we welcomed our first guests.
What do you like most about your Shepherd Hut?
We most like the joy our Shepherd Hut brings other people, the looks on their faces when they arrive and the amazing comments about how much they loved their stay.
What advice would you give for someone looking to start up their own glamping business?
If anyone is looking to start up their own glamping business we’d recommend doing lots of research on other businesses in your area, look at their full offering and pricing strategy together with how many sites they use for advertising to give you a realistic picture of the costs and rewards. While doing your research think hard about your own Unique Selling Point and/or back story.