Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sarah & Emily Mack, Founders of Vinat, located in Austin, TX, USA.

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

We're sisters on a mission, and that mission is wine. We're filling a gap in the wine market by making approachable and fun wines for women by women. We work with vineyards to sell high-quality European wines directly to you. By doing this, we're able to cut out some of the middlemen and offer you great wines (with super cheeky labels) at fair prices.

Tell us about yourself

The idea of Vinat was born on a rainy day after visiting one of our favorite vineyards outside of Barcelona. Sarah, working on her MBA in Spain, gave us a great chance to learn more about the wine industry. We started Vinat because we were frustrated with the wine industry. From countless bad bottles of wine from stores and online vendors to being treated like we were stupid at restaurants when picking out wines – it was too hard to find good wine. We realized we weren't alone. Every time we'd tell friends we were starting a wine company, they'd apologize to us for not knowing enough about wine. To us, this was crazy! People who drink beer don't feel the need to know where the hops come from—why should wine be any different? We've become determined to change this mindset. It's a high goal, but we'll start small and work our way there. Anyone can enjoy good wine, and you don't have to be an expert.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

When Vinat was just an idea, and we were trying to learn more about the wine industry, it was impossible to get anyone in the wine industry to talk to us. The wine industry is old school, and they don't like new competitors joining the market. We finally connected with a woman in the wine industry through a mutual friend who was willing to have a conversation. It took us ~nine months to apply and be approved for all of the permits necessary to sell wine (we can sell online in 35 states + Washington D.C.).

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

Vinat is run by just the two of us, so one of the biggest challenges is that we need someone to delegate to. If one of us needs to take a day off, that workload falls on the other. We've had to get good at prioritizing.

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

  1. Do your research. Starting a business is a considerable undertaking, and ensuring you have product market fit and understand your customer before spending money on creating/designing a product will save you a lot of time and expense later.
  2. Find mentors and advisors. We've been blessed to have some fantastic advisors with whom we regularly connect. They've been invaluable in helping us think through problems, connecting us with valuable people in our networks, and are always willing to ask tough questions.
  3. Talk and plan for the what-ifs before you launch! What if a customer has a horrible experience?? What if the website goes down? We like to consider possible problems that can arise and have a plan in place for how we can address them quickly if they come up.

You can connect with Sarah & Emily:


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