So Where Does the Wine Business Venture Start?
I realized early on that even though my ultimate dream is to own a winery, I cant just tap my heels three times and get there. We had to make realistic business goals to get the dream started. So what was step one going to be?
My husband saw that it was a struggle for me moving here, giving up my independence career wise and going back to waiting tables. He carried some guilt for that, since we did move based on his career path. He also realized quickly that the cost of living was higher than we expected in North Carolina, and now raising two kids, that cost had gone up even more. He wanted to start a plan to ultimately get us a side hustle that would not only increase our financial comfortability, but also give me something of my own to run again, and build something that we could pass on to our children. So he started bouncing business ideas off of me.
The first one was to start a wine and paint studio. The first discussion about this business venture did not go well. I may have gotten a little over emotional, just from the frustration of where I currently was at career wise, not seeing the path clearly of how I was going to get to where I wanted to be. Initially I took his idea of the studio as a hit that my business goal was just too far fetched, and that he was telling me that I needed to be more realistic. Therefore, when he proceeded to go into more depth about the plan, I really was just brushing it to the side because I didn't want to hear it. He was coming to me enthusiastically about a business venture, and at first I wanted nothing to do with it, because it wasn't the career goal I had set out in my head. Ultimately it led to an argument that evening and us both frustrated because we were misinterpreting what the other was saying.
Mental Note: some serious discussions shouldn't be had via text while at work,
because you may read things in the wrong context!
Once we got past that, and circled around to both be on the same page again, we discussed multiple ideas for what we wanted the studio to be: names, what we would offer, how we would make it unique, what kind of wine service to have, etc. The idea was that this would be a more feasible business venture that we could run together, have fun with, still tie in my wine passion, and build a financial backing that could be used in the future to start up the bigger winery plan. After discussing it for a while, we ultimately realized that starting a brick and mortar business was not going to be financially doable at the time without taking out business loans. We were trying to come up with a business venture to start out with that wouldn't strain our credit or leave us with a big financial burden. We wanted to make sure we took care of some existing debt, boosted our credit scores, and got our first house purchased before taking a step like that. A lot of business entrepreneurs have big savings accounts, stock to cash in from their corporate jobs, excellent credit for loans, etc. We are not those people.
The next day, my husband texted me asking what I thought about starting a food truck. He wanted my honest opinion, and wanted to know if we could start one that would tie into my passion for wine. I explained to him that, yes, I could get a food truck up and running because I have an extensive background in the food industry and do still love to cook, but it would be to just to start a food truck. It wouldn't tie into my wine passion, because North Carolina laws don't allow you to just park somewhere and serve wine from a food truck. So I explained that I could get it running and making money, then have someone else take over the day to day operations when it was time for me to get my own wine business going, because ultimately I was trying to get out of the food industry. Yes, I still love cooking, and always will, but mentally I was at a point where I didn't want to be doing it 40 hours a week anymore, and a food truck would put me back in that position. But based off our last business conversation about the studio, I stopped myself from being negative, and began playing with ideas in my head to get excited about a food truck venture. It was ultimately the best business venture idea that we could realistically get going within a few months time with tax refunds coming and another possible round of stimulus checks. We could possibly even get it started without taking out any loans if we rented a truck.
We started thinking through the food truck idea, realizing that we could ultimately use it once we opened a wine and paint studio, because it could be parked outside for guests to have food options. It also would make the process of finding a building easier, because we could look more into retail spaces instead of locations with fully equipped kitchens as well. I pictured the food truck parked out front with market lighting, covered outdoor seating, and our guests laughing and enjoying tasty snacks with their wine after their painting class. My hesitant attitude toward the idea, quickly started taking a more positive turn. I began thinking of menu concepts in my head, names, branding, etc. And then it all clicked together. I could do wine influenced foods! Yes, I would still be heavy in the food industry, but it would tie in my passion. The dishes could primarily be based on recipes that included wine. I could even work with local wineries to feature their products in the dishes, building a network in the wine world, and opening doors into the industry for me. Ultimately the food truck would tie into any further wine business ventures we decided to start down the road.
We started discussing start up costs, projections of profits, and made a plan that by early summer we would have our own truck hitting the road!
Our son is currently spending time in Houston with his grandparents. Although it is overwhelmingly quiet in the house, and I miss his cute squishy face, I am determined to make the most of the couple weeks of free time to get as much start up work done on our new business plan. Since I actually am sleeping through the night, I wake up early fully energized and my mind starts running about all the things that need to be checked off the list. I drop our daughter off at school, pull out my laptop and notebook and get to work. Yesterday I found a cozy local coffee shop, Allegiance Coffee, and began reading through a book I ordered, How to Start a Food Truck Business in 2020. I am fully aware that a food truck is a whole different ball game than a full scale restaurant. I do believe, however, that if I combine my food and catering experience, we can have a booming food truck in this city!