It’s no secret that a glass of wine can celebrate, commiserate, and be your companion for almost any occasion. After realising just how versatile the drink can be, a group of friends set out on an adventure to connect the community through a nice glass of wine.
Sitting around a kitchen table, a group in Bradford on Avon had an idea. What if they bought their own wine shop? They laughed as they sipped their drinks and thought their dream was crazy. After all, they weren’t wine experts. They just enjoyed it and loved the journey it could take them on.
Though some dreams don’t leave you. The more they spoke to people and explored the possibility of their idea, the more they realised that wine is a feeling and can be the chink to your success and the toast at your wedding.
They realised that they didn’t need to know everything about wine. By understanding the unique story behind every bottle and caring about how it’s made, they could take their customers on a journey of discovery.
Early in 2019, they took a leap and established Cru Wines—an independent wine emporium and wine lounge in Bradford on Avon. They secured a property which was originally part of a brewery and pub and began renovations.
Though to create the perfect space for the modern day wine lover, they needed £7,500 which they hoped to raise by crowdfunding.
Leanne Olivier, Cru Wines’ co-founder, said, “I have a PhD in nutrition and after years of working in the food industry and working for multinational companies, I wanted to put my knowledge into something that would bring people joy. After all, we are here for a ‘short time and not a long time’. Many people like wine and are intimidated by it, or know a lot but don’t have a space to share with likeminded people. I wanted to make a difference in my community, and give a space for enthusiasts as well as for people new to wine.”
The team behind Cru Wines were eligible to take part in our Back Her Business programme which aims to close the gender gap in business through a combination of crowdfunding coaching, networking opportunities and grants of up to £5,000.
Leanne said, “After creating a crowdfunding campaign and gaining some momentum, the Back Her Business programme approached me to discuss the extra funding available to me and the conditions for it. The recognition of the campaign drove new people to the crowdfunding page and gained us some kudos! The conditions of the backing (i.e. number of unique backers etc), certainly spurred us on to get out there, create noise and ask people to back the campaign.”
Their crowdfunding campaign was a success and their crowd of 105 supporters raised £9,200 in 21 days. This included a match-funding grant of £3,750 from us as part of the programme
She continued, “The extra funding has been amazing. We were able to reach our target, finish our project to the standard we wanted, launch our business, thank our backers and not take out additional loans.”
Launching Cru Wines to the public
Since crowdfunding, the building renovations have been completed and, in November 2019, the business was officially opened to the public. Some of their campaign’s supporters have visited the shop, seen the space, and enjoyed their rewards.
Leanne explained, “One of the most popular rewards on the crowdfunding campaign was a ticket to the launch party. It was an absolutely incredible day. Although we were still unpacking boxes, cleaning and preparing the shop right up until the final moment, we managed to have a brilliant party night. Everyone really enjoyed the new kitchen space and had a great time.”
She went on to say, “There are officially five of us. Dave who is our resident wine expert and seems to know everyone in our local town; Simon who is our hospitality extraordinaire and has the coolest air about him; Barbara who is both a wine lover and organisation queen; Lisa who runs her own wine tasting business and also helps us out in the lounge and emporium; and myself. Of course there are other people who make this happen too. Namely my husband and mum who run around in the background with logistics and the children.”
When asked if she had any top tips for others looking to crowdfund, Leanne said, “Do your research and talk to others who have done it. Learn from YouTube tutorials and crowdfunding sites. If you decide to do it, give it every ounce of energy you have, but don’t not do it because you think no one will back you. Ask the questions, be brave and go for it!”
“I have and always will tell people to set goals and make them happen. Rather to have tried and failed, than never have tried and always wonder! Dig deep with your inner confidence, and surround yourself with like minded and positive people to help you on your journey. Don’t let the reason you didn’t do something be self doubt!”
Do you have a dream that you want to make a reality? Sign up to Back Her Business and see if you could be eligible to receive expert coaching, networking opportunities, and grants of up to £5,000.