Experience Something Special With Shoe Crazy Wine
~A Wine Company that Leaves its Shoe Print Across the Globe~
By J. Chevont’e Alexander
Shoe Crazy – Wine Redefined
Looking for the perfect gift? Slip on those heels and take a bottle to the party. Kick off your shoes and enjoy a glass of wine with a movie or book.
SCW’s Mission: To deliver the ultimate wine drinking experience by never forgetting what quality is and that our customers are everything.
SCW’s Vision: To grow into a wine company that leaves its shoe-print across the globe and creates new wine lovers everywhere.
In 2006, Gwen Hurt, CEO of Shoe Crazy Wine received a wine making kit for Christmas. She fell in love with the art of making wine and bottled 120 bottles of Chianti. While trying to decide what to name her creation, her daughter told her to name it something you love. Gwen’s love for shoes, and now wine, evolved into “Shoe Crazy Wine”, and her company was born.
Hurt became an entrepreneur due to two key events in her life–being involved a car accident that took nearly a year of recovery, and being downsized by the company with which she had spent more than 15 years. During her physical therapy and rehabilitation, Hurt made the decision not to succumb to depression. She instead started a company based on her passion of wine. Shoe Crazy Wine, LLC, launched in late 2013 as an online direct to consumer business.
Prior to launching Shoe Crazy Wine, Hurt had extensive experience in the IT industry specifically focused on operational excellence, business model optimization, and business process transformation and change management.
Urban Views Weekly had the opportunity to talk with Shoe Crazy Wine, LLC, founder Gwen Hurt about her journey to creating this business.
UVW: How were you introduced to this business?
GH: I did not start drinking wine until my late 30s. I was introduced to higher end wines, and I became totally fascinated with the whole wine drinking experience. When I made wine I really enjoyed experimenting with the oak and the yeast, watching it transform juice from grapes into wine. It was a process that really intrigued me.
UVW: Did you see yourself in this business?
GH: Not in my early career. However, after making wine in my kitchen, I realized this was something I really loved. I had thoughts of one day owning a vineyard, but because owning a vineyard would require a huge financial investment, I chose a different path to enter this business. Becoming a private label vintner has allowed me to travel and taste a lot of wine. I fell in love with the exploration of wine and even its health benefits.
UVW: What is your favorite wine?
GH: I love my Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc because it’s very close in taste and bouquet to a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. I also love our Red Blend; it is low in tannins, fruit forward and mild on the palate.
Even though only 18 months old, Shoe Crazy Wine has really made a name for itself in a short time. Hurt attributes the success to launching Shoe Crazy Wine in two countries simultaneously. Her daughter utilized social media to help build brand awareness. Hurt also believes start-up entrepreneurs should not be afraid to ”stop, assess and change” as needed to move the business along.
She says it became apparent quite quickly that an online business was not sustainable for a small company. She reassessed her business model and became a licensed “distributor” of her own brand in the United States and Singapore. This allows Shoe Crazy Wine to be able to sell wholesale to retail stores, restaurants and hotels.
“You have to believe in your product and your brand, but you also have to be willing to change and be humble enough to do something different, and do it quickly if something is not going right,” explains Hurt.
Shoe Crazy Wine is currently a private label company, sourcing wine domestically and internationally. Shoe Crazy Wine works with vineyards on the North Coast of California and France. She has opened business in the United States and Singapore, beginning the global journey of putting her wine on shelves to be sold across the U.S., Asia and ultimately the world. Lofty goals they know, but believe they are up to the challenge.
UVW: What would you tell a beginning entrepreneur about starting a business?
GH: Do not use all your own money! Find alternative ways to help fund your business. Also, believe in yourself, your brand, the product, the mission and the vision. Invest in your supply chain. We spent a good deal of time and cost ensuring that we have an infrastructure to deliver our wine, even before we had a customer.
UVW: Where do you see Shoe Crazy Wine in five years?
GH: I would like for Shoe Crazy Wine to continue its reach globally. We have a brand strategy to market and sell wine to women in Asia and I really believe this can translate to other countries where wine is typically a male-oriented purchase.
Hurt also believes in giving back. She believes everyone can be a philanthropist no matter how much or how little one has. A portion of the proceeds from Shoe Crazy Wine is donated to charity. She also believes in mentoring, and encourages and inspires other women to feed their passion through entrepreneurial pursuits.
Hurt is a member of Rotary International, The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), SHE (Sharing Her Experience), The Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT), The African American Chamber of Commerce Richmond, and ORATE.
Shoe Crazy Wine Upcoming Events
Shoe Crazy Wine will be launching its first crowd-funding campaign in July 2015. They will launch via the platform IndieGoGo. The goal is to raise $50K to replenish their product, cover the cost of exporting and further distribution into Asia.
According to the American Heart Association, having one to two four-ounce glasses a day does the following for your health:
The Benefit: Promotes Longevity
The Evidence: Wine drinkers have a 34 percent lower mortality rate than beer or spirits drinkers. Source: a Finnish study of 2,468 men over a 29-year period, published in the Journals of Gerontology, 2007.
The Benefit: Reduces Heart-Attack Risk
The Evidence: Moderate drinkers suffering from high blood pressure are 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack than nondrinkers. Source: a 16-year Harvard School of Public Health study of 11,711 men, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, 2007.
The Benefit: Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
The Evidence: Red-wine tannins contain procyanidins, which protect against heart disease. Wines from Sardinia and southwest France have more procyanidins than other wines. Source: a study at Queen Mary University in London, published in Nature, 2006.
The Benefit: Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
The Evidence: Moderate drinkers have 30 percent less risk than nondrinkers of developing type 2 diabetes. Source: research on 369,862 individuals studied over an average of 12 years each, at Amsterdam’s VU University Medical Center, published in Diabetes Care, 2005.
The Benefit: Lowers Risk of Stroke
The Evidence: The possibility of suffering a blood clot related stroke drops by about 50 percent in people who consume moderate amounts of alcohol. Source: a Columbia University study of 3,176 individuals over an eight-year period, published in Stroke, 2006.
The Benefit: Cuts Risk of Cataracts
The Evidence: Moderate drinkers are 32 percent less likely to get cataracts than nondrinkers; those who consume wine are 43 percent less likely to develop cataracts than those drinking mainly beer. Source: a study of 1,379 individuals in Iceland, published in Nature, 2003.
The Benefit: Cuts Risk of Colon Cancer
The Evidence: Moderate consumption of wine (especially red) cuts the risk of colon cancer by 45 percent. Source: a Stony Brook University study of 2,291 individuals over a four-year period, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2005.
The Benefit: Slows Brain Decline
The Evidence: Brain function declines at a markedly faster rate in nondrinkers than in moderate drinkers. Source: a Columbia University study of 1,416 people, published in Neuroepidemiology, 2006.
Shoe Crazy wine can be purchased and or enjoyed at these participating stores and restaurants locally:
The Urban Farmhouse Market & Café, all four Richmond locations; The Eclectic Cottage on MacArthur Ave; online at The Vine Wine Club; The UGK (The Underground Kitchen); Girlees Restaurant; The Craddock Terry Hotel In Lynchburg, Virginia; and coming soon to more locations as we grow, with the help of our distribution partner company, International Cellars.
In Singapore: Big Box Hypermarket, Cold Storage Hypermarket, The Marketplace Supermarket and Wine Mansion Restaurants and Bars.
For more information on Shoe Crazy Wine or to even order online, please visit: http://www.shoecrazywine.com.