Well blog readers, it's about time I brought you another small business profile. This blog series is designed to introduce and learn form fellow business owners and entrepreneurs. Ian and Steve from Vinejoy are incredibly fun, don't take life too seriously but bring unbelievable wine selection and throw amazing parties. We have been recommending these two left and right since we met last summer. In July we are excited about being a part of their potlucks and hosting at the studio. If you want to get on the mailing list, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with "Potluck" in the subject line. To keep up with their upcoming events you can follow them on Vinejoy Facebook Page or Twitter @vinejoychicago
Meet Ian and Steve from Vinejoy.
Who are you? What do you do? How long have you been doing this?
We are a two man wine company.. We wholesale small production, super unique, craft-made wines from the Central Coast of CA to wineshops and restaurants around Chicagoland. Right now we only work with essentially 5 winemakers because the wines we bring in need to be incredibly different or they get lost in a sea of wine.
We also do private wine events, from bachellorette parties to corporate events as well as our own events. We just started a series of monthly potlucks. $10 for lots of wine, you bring a dish to pass based on the wines we bring to the event. We make every effort to build our community of people that enjoy our wines and events outside of the traditional high-priced wine and restaurant centered world where the wine trade mostly spends time.
We’ve both been in the wine biz in various roles (retail, restaurant, sales, marketing, drinking. . .) for 7 years or so.
Walk us through a typical work day. Your 9am-5pm.
Essentially we spend most of our time hustling. By this I mean the wine biz is very likely one of the most competitive around so we spend most of our time either working to get our wines in front of new people (more actual consumers of wine than buyers) through tastings, social media, videos and eating tacos around town. We also deliver all of our wine so we see our customers a lot, but it also requires a massive logistics plan everyday.
Selling a physical product that people associate with a good time just requires a lot of checking in on customers and keeping up on whats happening and well as knowing every little piece of the story about each wine. We also do around 2 or 3 consumer tastings per week at wine shops around Chicagoland.
What is the thing you most enjoy about your job?
Owning a business provides a lot of freedom to call your own shots all the time. I guess this is what I’d say I enjoy most. The fact that we have successfully brought wine to the market that people really enjoy and find interesting is also quite satisfying. It’s a good feeling to know that the suppliers we work with are happy to be working with us.
We also enjoy the fact that always being out there, seeing what’s new and what people are interested in has given us a pretty massive knowledge base which we’re always glad to share with wine drinkers, even if it’s not our wine, which is often the case.
Who if anyone, encouraged you to pursue your dream?
We are naturally self starter sand we both have a knack for watching other people do things either the right or wrong way and either improving on that or not making the same mistakes. I just knew we could do it better. . . so I guess we encouraged ourselves.
Was there a moment when you guys knew you were going to start your own small business? Tell us about it.
I think when we first saw the label for a wine we sell called Sans Liege The Offering, then tasted it, we knew we had to bring it to Chicago for others to enjoy, but most of all, for ourselves.
Besides paperwork, deliveries and wine tasting... what other hobbies/loves do you have?
I, Ian pretty much spend time outside of Vinejoy digging around for great music, listening to music etc. I also like to read lots of non-fiction and try to talk people into tossing a frisbee around.
I, Stephen enjoy the long suffering of being a Cubs fan and trying to forget about it by taking really long bike rides.
We are collectively, and welcome any one to join us, always on the hunt for a great taco. Currently, Azetca in Pilsen is our joint, but we’re always on the prowl.