Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Laurent Yung, founder, and CEO of somMailier, located in San Diego, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

SomMailier is the only wine club in the US focusing 100% on boutique (and unavailable in the US yet!) French wines! We started our adventure in 2017 and have been sourcing and bringing to the US incredible French wines since. The reviews (that you can see on our website) have been fantastic, and my brother Patrick (who sources all our wines in France) and I could not be prouder. Our typical customers are Francophiles for the most part and, of course, love good and affordable wines. Through our club, they can discover new wines every three months and re-order the ones they love the most. We have many customers who use us for our gifts. We can send our boxes as a gift to anyone who likes wine, and the feedback has always been superb!

Tell us about yourself

I grew up in Bordeaux, France, in my dad's vineyard. Our family has been making wine for five generations now. I spent most of my professional life working outside the wine industry until 2017 when I decided it was time for me to go back to my roots!

This was when I launched SomMailier since I was living in the US with my wife, and I found it difficult to find great and affordable French wines that I had known from my time living in France. 5 years forward and here we are continuing to grow SomMailier and making people happy with our wine boxes. What motivates me every day is when I receive reviews from my customers about such and such wine they have received and when they tell me how good the wine was as well as the whole experience.

From talking to Julia, who is fantastic at helping our customers receive their boxes on time and helping them when they have questions or want to place an order to work with my brother Patrick and his team in France on future wine selections that I know will be a big hit once received in the US. This is the part I enjoy the most!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner was when I started hiring amazing people who became part of my family as we grew SomMailier together. I wish we could grow faster, but I'm happy to see the company being profitable after the second year in business despite all the challenges that are being thrown as small business owners every day. The other accomplishment worth mentioning is seeing all the positive reviews we receive from our members/customers every day. This is when we know we are doing the right things!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Being thrown curveballs every day is the hardest thing as a business owner. It's very difficult to make long-term plans as things are constantly changing (new tariffs, crazy inflation, supply chain madness, new shipping laws, etc...). So many things to deal with with a very small team. But all in all, as long as we know we are doing the right things for our customers, we know things will take care of themselves as we grow.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

The first tip is to create a good business plan and run as many simulations as needed until you feel comfortable that the business can succeed. It's very important to understand all the numbers, so you don't have bad surprises. The second tip is to try to automate as many things as quickly as possible and before it's too late. This is a hard lesson I learned and still learning. Last but not least, get outside help. When you start a business, you will feel alone very often and can be distracted by many things and not be very productive. Hire a coach or find a mentor who can be used as a sounding board to make sure you stay on track to grow your business.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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