Interview With Sarah Newton
Describe your product or service:
“We offer a curated list of items associated with the enjoyment of wine.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“We've carefully curated a range of wine coolers, glassware, and various wine products that we believe represent the very best quality on the market and truly enhance the enjoyment of wine.”
How are you funded? I.e. venture capital, angel investors, etc.
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“Yes, I've had businesses in the past as a 20-year-old, then went into the corporate space. It was the pandemic that gave me the push I needed to strike out on my own again. The COVID-19 pandemic has made us realise how unstable our world and personal situations truly are, and having your business gives you a sense of control.”
How did you come up with your startup idea? How did you decide to actually act on the idea? What gave you confidence that you were on the right track?
“I have always had a keen interest in wine and am a WSET diploma student. I have seen many good products surrounding wine and many poor-quality yet high-priced items. I wanted to offer fellow sommeliers/students and wine lovers a place where they could come and already be assured that the products they were buying were of the highest quality. I have had wine fridges break on me within months, so I wanted to help other wine lovers with a resource of top-quality products. What made me act was the pandemic; I was working in travel which was badly impacted by the pandemic, and so [I] wanted to move into an industry that was booming, drinking at home and learning and discovering wine was booming, and so were the margins in these items.”
How did you come up with your company name? Did you have other names you considered?
“We sell wine coolers, and ‘somm’ is a shorthand version of ‘sommelier’ that everyone who is into wine knows. ‘CoolerSomm’ as a brand name made sense. If you purchased our products, you would be a cooler somm!”
What is the greatest challenge you faced in starting your business, and how did you overcome it?
“Finding the right suppliers and partners to work with. My background is marketing, so it wasn't hard to find customers or web visitors, but finding trustworthy and quality suppliers was harder.”
Who is your product or service made for? Who is your target market?
What's your marketing strategy?
“We have a club where you can get discounts on high-quality wine items, but our sales come via search and social.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“PPC” [Pay Per Click]
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“CPS vs. RPS” [Cost Per Session vs. Revenue Per Session]
What's your favorite entrepreneurial book and podcast?
“I suppose like half the world, ‘Think and Grow Rich’ book as well as the ‘Actualized’ podcasts.”
What is the biggest lesson you learned during your journey?
“It's not been a long journey so far, but I've been an entrepreneur in many businesses. Price is key, but service is everything.”
Who is your support system?
“My family and God!”
How do you stay motivated?
“I love being involved in growth projects. Seeing the numbers moving up or working out why they're not moving up keeps me motivated.”
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?
“Good financial record-keeping is really the most important. I'm on top of my incoming and outgoing daily.”
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
“I'm proud that I have created a business that is actually adding value. We have a five-star Trustpilot rating, the prices you see are the prices you pay, if we owe anyone a refund it's done the same day, we are true to our word, and we put the customer first. The business is run with integrity and honesty with customers, partners, and suppliers alike. I've seen a lot of businesspeople compromise on the way to the top, this business will be successful fairly and honestly, or it won't be successful at all.”
More on CoolerSomm
We were fortunate enough to hear some valuable insights during our interview with Sarah Newton of wine startup CoolerSomm that will inspire, motivate, and teach aspiring and established entrepreneurs alike.