Nicole Kearney, Vintner/Owner of Sip & Share Winery
Every month, we shine a Spotlight on a hardworking entrepreneur who has taken advantage of SOURCE RW’s educational resources. This month, we feature Nicole Kearney, Vintner/Owner of Sip & Share Winery.
“Never be afraid, especially in the face of concrete financial evidence, to pivot.” – Nicole Kearney
Business Website: www.sipnsharewinery.com
Business Facebook: @sipnsharewinery
Tell us a little about your business.
Sip & Share Winery creates handcrafted, small batch delicious vegan wines. Our wines bring people together for any occasion and target the growing demographic of wine drinkers untapped by the wine industry. Sip & Share Winery wines are fun, easy to drink, and available for purchase at in-home wine tastings, events and online at sipnsharewinery.com.
What services have you utilized at SOURCE RW and how have you benefitted?
I have utilized the amazingly talented coaching skills of Sarah. Over a year’s time we have taken my initial business concept, saw a more profitable business model, pivoted and gotten the financial projections together. Doing so allowed me to see the financial picture of my startup and the pathway to profitability. I have also attended several workshops. They have been informative in helping me refine my pitch thanks to Indiana Originals. I have revised my product line design for 2019 based on sage advice of Saidah Pearsall.
What made you interested in being a business owner?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur. As a writer/producer I’ve had to manage my own business and brand. Moving from writing and producing stage plays and streaming series into making wine requires many of the same skills. However, instead of producing one to four projects a year, I’m now making cases and cases of wine over several months.
What have you enjoyed most about being a business owner?
Seeing and hearing the enjoyment folks get when they taste the Sip & Share Winery wines. Building the brand has been exciting and challenging but worth every minute. I can see the vision of what we’re creating even when others can’t.
What have you enjoyed least about being a business owner?
Managing inventory. This is been my biggest area of opportunity. I ran out of our Blood Orange Semi-Sweet Red Wine at one of the largest events we participate in annually. I’m currently looking into an inventory management system that integrates with our online store as a solution.
Was there ever a point when you wanted to quit?
Yes indeed. When I’m working non-stop on the weekends and missing out on all the ‘fun’ others are having. I have said, “I should be content with working and making a good living for my family.” Everyone around me laughs.
Was there ever a point when you realized you had “made it.”
Not “made it,” but that I belonged. Sip & Share Winery was invited to pour our wines at The Black Wine Experience hosted by The Hue Society at Essence Fest in July. I was super worried my wines wouldn’t be on the same level as the other more seasoned winemakers. My fears (false evidence appearing real) were baseless. Our Semi-Sweet White was the people’s favorite! So Essence is where I earned my stripes. Now I know, Sip & Share Winery wines can hold their own.
If you could tell aspiring business owners just one thing before their journey – that you had wished you had known prior to starting your journey – what would that be?
First, before anything else, do your financial projections. Spend all the time it takes to ensure you know exactly what your business is going to cost. Have an idea of your business model and make sure it’s viable. Never be afraid, especially in the face of concrete financial, evidence to pivot. We were already three months in business before I started working on my financials. It was about nine months later when I saw with the help of Sarah, my BOI coach, that our wines were our profit center. With that knowledge, we pivoted.