A UK wine startup worth £70 million explains how it nearly ran out of wine - and what it did next
Naked Wines operates a crowdfunded business involving around 300,000 subscribers who provide funding for more than 100 independent winemakers in over 14 countries. In return, subscribers get access to exclusive wines at reduced prices.Naked Wines CEO, Luke Jecks, claims the company's wines were "too popular" and the rate at which the business was growing forced him and his management team to make some difficult decisions.
"The simple solution of 'just get some wine and sell it' was commercially attractive, but ultimately not authentic and in conflict with the values and model that made the wines so popular in the first place."Instead, Naked Wines took an approach that startups are often reluctant to follow: It slowed down new business.
- According to Jecks, Naked Wines:
- Admitted its mistake to loyal customers
- Implemented a waiting list to become an Angel (which currently has over 10,000 people on it)
- Removed a lot of discounts and deals designed to entice new customers
- Made most of its wines Angel-exclusive
- Looked for opportunities to fund more winemakers in the new year.
Since nearly running out of wine, the company said it has reviewed its production forecasts."We realised that - with a bit of faith, the loyal support of our Angels, and some newly recruited data scientists - there is actually no reason we can't grow while remaining focused on service, quality, and authenticity," said Jecks."We basically needed to be more organised. It's amazing what a difference a couple of data geeks can make."
He added: "In the end, I think we are all proud of the fact that we stayed true to our commitment to 'quality and authenticity' [and] took some short term pain for a longer term good."
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