During a conversation, I was asked why I built a champagne brand geared mainly towards women? Well after years of working in merchandising, one of the fundamental understandings of consumer driven products is women are key. I went on to explain, in my professional experience when building any brand whether it was for a woman or a man, women were the first to be considered and they generally have the buying power in the home.
I wanted to build a brand I saw myself in and that helped other women understand the world of sparkling wine. So those are the facts and my professional experience. But I wanted to explore the data and objective facts further to triple check my logic/gut.
The conversation moved on, but I was unsettled. So it got me thinking about what else. What was another reason? Was there more? Then I started thinking when we wrote The Sip’s About page and how we wanted to make sure to tell our empowerment story and the women who paved the way: The Widows of Champagne. While a man may get the credit for creating the champagne method (Dom Perignon), it was truly the pure ingenuity and creativity of women that can be credited for its popularity. I thought of Madame Clicquot who was so driven she beat her competitors to the market in Russia and became a household brand. Fighting to keep up with the order, she created the riddling method. It remains a cornerstone of champagne manufacturing to this day. Then I think of Jeanne Pommery, who is literally the reason we all drink Brut champagne today. She found an opportunity in the market and focused her efforts in creating a dry not sweet champagne for the English. Brut is 73% of all champagne shipped to the US.
But still I wanted to dig deeper. Like the true entrepreneur I am, I went to market research because while history is great, gut is awesome, I wanted to know the current facts. It turns out I was right! According to Nielsen 2019 Report and Wine Market Council, 65% (some debate this number is much higher) of all champagne in the US is bought by women. As I read this I smiled. It's kinda great to be right!
So I kept reading, while 65% of consumers are women, over 70% of the distributors are men. “Eyebrow went up”. Then you keep reading and stumble on a section of what matters when a woman purchases wine. Overwhelmingly the reason is the label and packaging. I have a hard time swallowing that disconnect. I mean who better to know what a woman wants than a….woman. Then when you get in deeper, the disparity for women is bad but the disparity for women of color isn’t even really considered. According to an article I read in Fortune Magazine, most distributors don’t even consider women of color in their marketing when talking about their brands. Crazy! Why would the wine industry want to leave what the Nielsen 2018 Report asserts is the $1.2 trillion buyer power of Black Americans on the table...beats me.
While the facts are facts, and your gut is your gut, and history paved the way, I am just excited about the opportunity to bridge the gap between the wine industry and women of all colors. It’s our honor and privilege to be here and we aren’t stopping anytime soon.
So what started as just a question, now gives me great excitement and pride to be where we are. While branding can be challenging, it’s all about your state of mine.
So here is to the past, the present and the sparkling future of wine!