I wanted to get a pulse on how everyone is feeling, what sales are looking like in various markets, and how this immediate transition to everyone pushing sales online is both working and not working out for folks. I wanted to understand what people are doing to authentically connect with their audiences while offering support and where these professionals think the industry and market as a whole will be when we come out of this thing. I sat down with 9 incredible professionals from Sonoma and Napa Counties to enjoy a quarantini, but more importantly to have a real conversation about the trials and tribulations we’re going through. These amazing folks provide a lot of insight and new perspectives along with actionable tactics, strategies, and tools to apply to any kind of wine business you’re running or working in. We also discuss the programs that have been set up to help those who have now been rendered unemployed, are homeless, or have shut their businesses altogether.
Ship Ohi: Ohi enables same-day delivery for e-commerce brands by building the ‘Amazon Prime Now’ experience with next-generation technology.
Kevin Kelly’s One Thousand True Fans: If you could get 1000 True Fans to support you by buying $100 worth of what you create every year, you would earn an income of $100,000 a year. That sounds a bit like a get-rich-quick scheme. 1000 True Fans is not that. It’s a get-a-good-income-slowly-income model. It requires hard work, but once you’ve built up 1000 True Fans, you are free forever to live as an independent creator earning good money making what you love.
A Theatre Guide to Technology (or How I Learned to Live with Corona): Dear wonderful humans, artists, entrepreneurs, and educators, you are heroes. Fuck this shit. Let’s make things, shall we? Deep breaths, follow the bullet points, and when you feel confident enough… Get creative. It’s what we do best. Right? You got this.
Compline Wine Bar: Buy our healthcare workers and first responders a meal!
The Independent Restaurant Coalition: formed to save local restaurants affected by COVID-19. IRC is founded on the simple belief that there is the power to affect legislative change if we unite our voices. This national movement is quickly growing and EVERYONE is welcome to join. Together, as small businesses across this country, we represent up to 4% of the nation’s GDP.
Dining Bonds Initiative: Due to the impact that the coronavirus COVID-19 has had on the restaurant community, a collective of restaurant industry professionals have set a global initiative in motion to get funds into the hands of restaurants NOW, even if they are temporarily closed. A Dining Bond works like a savings bond, where you can purchase a “bond” at a value rate to be redeemed for face value at a future date.
ROAR (Relief Opportunities for All Restaurants): ROAR stands united to act immediately. We know that decisions are being made right now. These decisions will shape the future in ways both known and unknowable. We must act swiftly to give our community the best possible chance for a positive outcome. Here’s is our 8-point plan to be in a position to reopen, rehire, and eventually help our community:
-At the end of the first week of shelter-in-place here in Northern California, Carlo what is the general feeling from the consensus of people in your peer groups? How about you Sara?
-Michelle and Chelsea, on the communication front how are you communicating with client’s current customer base offering them reassurance and how are you asking for support? What’s the language you’re using?
-As we all know, tasting rooms are closed which make up roughly 28% of sales for many companies and in-person tastings are obviously no longer occurring as with restaurants, which make up roughly 20% of sales for businesses, have essentially halted. In an effort to pivot and keep driving sales and cash flow, Blair, what are you all implementing in your businesses and seeing other companies doing?
-Josh, how are retail sales currently factoring into your sales mix and are those sales holding on?
-Dan and Josh, at the higher-end price point of the market, are we seeing a shift in sales of bottle prices say over $50?
-Many people are bottling this week and last week which means that many people will be sending out their spring releases soon. Woody, Haus launched a brand new product last week. First, what was the response like from your customers and secondly, is there anything that you learned in launching during this time that has differed from previous launches? Is there anything that brands should be aware of when sending out new releases and launching new SKUs over the next six months or so?
-Amanda, currently the cost of paid advertising has gone down. Facebook Ads for example are very affordable currently for the . How are we seeing more companies utilizing these cheaper resources right now for both paid and organic marketing?
-How does a brand balance retaining a level of exclusivity while still getting it’s name out there in a bigger way through virtual tastings, etc?
-If we look at China and their timeframe of the economy coming back online, we’re looking at a 4-5 month runway. With those projections we’d be looking at June 1st coming back up for air. Michelle, how are you in your businesses planning for the next 4-5 months and what are some of your predictions of what the market could look like come June 1st?
-What are some benefit and/or aid programs that are starting that people who have been laid off can take advantage of?
Before we get into the episode, I want to say that I hope you are healthy, safe, and taking the right precautions when it comes to the current coronavirus epidemic. However, if you are in an area where small businesses are open, I implore you to go support them. And if you can’t physically get there, see if they will deliver to you, get take out, or have them courier or ship to you. Not only does our current situation mean that we are practicing a lot of social distancing, but it also means that small businesses are losing revenue billions across the country every day. Over seven million hourly employees aren’t being paid a wage as they’ve been laid off, yet life goes on and they still have bills, rent, food to put on the table, and family to look after.
By not continuing to support these small businesses, whether that is a wine brand, boutique shop, restaurant, local farm, winery, or hotel, further employees will be let go and the scariest of all businesses will completely and utterly shut down the establishment that they have painstakingly just started or been running for generations. Economic forecasts indicate that restaurants and the foodservice industry could sustain $225 billion in losses and eliminate 5-7 million jobs over the next three months. The National Restaurant Association is a unified voice that is listen to the small independent restaurants by petitioning both Congress and the President to provide aid. The petition is to support the National Restaurant Association restaurant recovery plan. A plan that provides direct and targeted relief designed to benefit restaurant and foodservice businesses of every size in every corner of the country. To learn more about it please visit restaurant.org.
You can also purchase dining bonds for various restaurants around the country to use at a later date, which will bring in cash flow now to help support their operations. To do so please visit supportrestaurants.org.
Supporting restaurants not only provides a bit of relief to their employees, but in gives the operations the ability to stay open and hopefully weather this storm. As many of us know, restaurants are some of the large buyers of wine in the world. Every year I alone for my wine program at Barndiva in Healdsburg, California purchase hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of wine that is produced around the world. If we lose restaurants, everyone in this country will be affected, not just us in the hospitality industry. I hope you will stay positive and optimistic in these times, support these businesses that need you, give someone an air hug, and listen to more podcasts.