Mark, it’s a really interesting business concept
you’ve got here, whereabouts did the idea come from?
Mark: Well it was actually born from the inherent, industry issues at the moment
You know, there’s less and less, uh, shelf space for winemakers, and there’s less and
less choice for consumers; so we flipped it on it’s head, said, “let’s be
kind to the winemakers, fund them up front, and
Empower them to make great wine.” It’s a really interesting business model,
you say, sort of crowdfunding the production of the wine…
Basically we go out and get customers, angels, and
we ask them to put forty dollars a month Into an online piggy bank. It always remains
their cash, but it gives us the ability to go and invest in winemakers.
We’ve built this platform that enables the winemakers and customers to
communicate directly. So, the winemakers get to hear straight from the horses’ mouth how
the wine tastes and what they think of the wine,
and then on the other side, the angels get to engage with a personality, not just a brand.
And Mark, what’re Customer retention rates like?
They’re Pretty bloody good, honestly, I mean compared
to Anything else in the industry, they’re miles
above it and what we’ve found out is that wine quality really is the best retention
tool, you know. If the wine is amazing, if the prices are
fantastic, if it’s been specifically funded, made
for you then why would you shop anywhere else?
Also, compared to the industry, we’ve got very good delivery to major capital cities,
and delivering free, next day. And what’s the growth trajectory look like
over the last three and a half years? Well, we started obviously with no angels,
we now have up to 40,000 angels, we started with
no wine and we’re going to sell roughly 250,000 cases this year, and we’ve got 31
winemakers as of today as well. So Mark, you’ve gone through pretty rapid
growth here, has that presented any unique challenges? Yeah, it has, we’ve physically run out
of wine at some stage, and that was basically because we just had far too many
customers. About a year and a half ago now we introduced,
uh, a waiting list, so uh that meant that people couldn’t become angels
straight away, they had to join a waiting list
and that enabled us to control the amount of angels that came on
control the amount of wine that we needed so it was a great method of controlling growth.
And looking back at your business journey, what’re some of the highlights for you?
The initial one, selling that first case, I
remember walking into the warehouse and going, Oh my god, how’re we going to sell all this
wine? And then literally a few months later we’d run out of sparkling
wine, so just to see the that first wine go off the shelf, was a massive
highlight to see that people believed in the idea, in
the concept, and got behind the winemakers. And then secondly,
changing people’s lives. I mean, a lot of our winemakers literally started with nothing,
absolutely nothing, now they’re moving 10, 20, 30 thousand cases
and they’re buying vineyards, they’re buying wineries,
They’re buying warehouses, so yeah we’re really changing people’s lives.
That’s a terrific story of an independent business propping
up and, and breeding other independent businesses, really good.
And Mark, what would you say to other people with a similar, innovative concept going into
business? Live and breath your vision, be true to
your vision, articulate it, and make sure you live it, it’s so important.
Well that vision and passion is certainly evident in yourself, thanks a lot for sharing
your story with us no probs.
This segment brought to you by Australia Post