Our Story


“We don’t stop playing because we grow old;
we grow old because we stop playing.”
~George Bernard Shaw


We started out as The Henley Company, an event management and personal concierge firm in 2007. After 12 years in Corporate America, we thought the natural progression would be to just remain corporate and conservative when we opened the business. Our accolades tell us we were very good at what we did. Our international and national portfolio illustrates some of the really cool stuff we’ve produced (worthy of a gold star on the bulletin board!) But then after being in business for a few years, we realized that what we really loved was planning a darn good experience. The more we could talk about an experience, the more we liked it. So, we started to not only create experiences for our clients but we started self-producing our own events.  We discovered we were really good at creating experiences so we realized we needed to rebrand to something much more authentic to our passion and philosophy: Life is a Playground – Go Experience It!  We are excited to now work with clients that are open to turning their “event” into an experience. Our clients see us as architects of experiences not just event planners. This suits us just fine. In 2012, The Henley Company is rebranding to Experience Recess by The Henley Company, a concierge firm specializing in event, travel and lifestyle experiences.

Experience Recess was born out of a conversation between owner Nicole Matthews and her 10-year-old niece Elyse.  At the start of her 5th grade school year, Nicole asked Elyse if she was excited to be going back to school.

Nicole:             “Elyse, you’ll be in 5th grade starting next week. What are you most excited about when you think about going back to school?”

Elyse:              “Recess!”

Nicole:             “Why do you like recess so much?

Elyse:              “Cause I get to play and run around. It’s hard to be sitting at my desk all day long; my brain starts to hurt! Plus, I’m the wall ball champion and I have to make sure the boys don’t get my title!”

Over the next few days, the conversation with Elyse began to resonate with Nicole and she began to think about the fact that beyond elementary school, there was no longer a defined time for recess in our lives. When was the last time the bell rang and you headed for the playground to keep your brain from hurting?  Not even her middle school aged brother, Ian, benefited from recess in his school day. It was from that conversation that Experience Recess began to evolve. Our intention has been to design a company that focuses on giving clients the gift of time by managing their projects so they can truly experience life through play!

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