SAMM wrap up: Grape Expectations
This week, a lucky few managed to catch Justin Dry, co-founder, and joint-CEO of Vinomofo, at SAMM’s Grape Expectations.
The self-professed “wine nerd”-turned-entrepreneur delivered an intimate account of how a failed “Facebook for wine” idea ultimately lead to the online wine empire, Vinomofo. For Justin Dry and his partner and co-founder, Andre Eikmeier, the road to success was no smooth ride. The pair faced many challenges; from copyright troubles to supplier issues. Ultimately the pair emerged as bona fide rock stars of the Australian wine scene, creating one of Australia’s biggest business success stories and amassing almost half a million followers in just five years.
Those that attended walked away with a first-hand account of what it takes to build a market disrupting business from the ground up as well as a sharpened wine knowledge to wow their friends (like how wine from Bordeaux sometimes smells of Band-Aids and is actually indicative of brettanomyces).
For those that missed it, here are Justin’s five key points of advice for budding entrepreneurs:
#1 Ask why
In short, people buy WHY you do something, not WHAT you are doing. Remember that; it’s important.
#2 Marketing starts with product
Vinomofo was not the first online wine cellar. What separates their business to others is a complete and utter devotion to selling the wines that they love and would buy themselves.
The philosophy is ultimately ‘Give your customers good products and they will sell themselves’. Develop a good product that delights your customers won’t only retain your existing customer base; it will save you a bucket on marketing through referrals.
#3 Go all-in on your strengths
Being the founder of a business, Justin had a hard time letting go of roles as his business grew. When you scale up, learn to focus your efforts on what you are personally really good at and the areas you aren’t, allocate to others. Vinomofo has created a dynamic team environment by applying this philosophy to every project they undertake. You can pay for the OG strengths test or find some freebies on Google.
#4 Embrace failure
No successful business gets everything right the first time. Vinomofo is Justin and Andre’s fourth pivot in a line of wine-centric business models. While none of the previous businesses achieved the same level of success as Vinomofo, each played a role in setting the course of the next business, provided much-needed experience, and established invaluable networks.
#5 Have fun
It is pretty obvious that Justin lives and breathes his work. This vigour and passion are reflected not only in his work ethic and success but Vinomofo’s entire workplace culture. Justin and Andre have made vibrant workplace culture as paramount to the Vinomofo business as wine itself and is reinforced by company’s 2016 nomination for the Australian Best Places to Work.
Want to learn more? Graduate from goon and check out their website to stock up on some wine that’s too good to age (FYI comes in a bottle, not bag), hear about upcoming events and see how they are changing the often intimidating and elitist face of the wine industry.