yes way rosé: how two friends made a business dream come true

Writer and editor Erica Blumenthal became a businesswoman after starting an Instagram account detailing her love of rosé wine. Here she shares her secrets in starting out on your own.

In an nontraditional sequence of events, after a career as a fashion editor and writer, I have become a businesswoman. The quick backstory is that a few years ago my best friend and I started an Instagram account about our love for rosé wine and the ways it was inspiring us.  As our following grew, we made a tote bag with our logo on it, and inadvertently a brand was born.  Now, four years in, we have released our own rosé, with a light body, nice acidity and crisp finish called Summer Water.

Everything from the tasting notes to the branding reflects the spirit of rosé and why we love it so much. We’ve traveled to far-away locales to write about wine, and had an A-lister wear our sweatshirt.  Yes Way Rosé is as awesome and fun as it sounds, but the amount of work required is very real and the learning curve has been steep.  While I do not claim to be a business expert, I have picked up some incredibly valuable lessons along the way.  Consider these when starting your own company. 

Dream Big and Start Small

After starting @yeswayrose the wheels were turning about what it could be.  It quickly became a force I could not control, and it consumed almost all of my thoughts. Feel all the feelings and embrace those thoughts, but know the world is not going to turn pink overnight. To achieve those dreams create a plan of attack and take the first step, whether that’s creating a website or writing your mission statement.  Don’t worry about how your company will lead to world domination; focus your energy on doing what needs to get done.  

Making Money Isn’t Everything

Of course, making money is amazing and essential. It’s even better when you make it doing work you and other people enjoy. I love that we make others happy by sharing our unique view of the world seen through rosé-color glasses.  It’s thrilling that people like our aesthetic and enjoy Summer Water, a dry and refreshing pale pink-hued rosé inspired by our favourites from Provence. Have a core to your brand other than getting rich, and engage it as you would your abs in pilates class: as much as possible. That authentic core will service you when it comes to making big decisions and, in turn, help you make money.  

Keep Making Room For More 

Growing a business is a lot like climbing a mountain; you need to remain vigilant and conserve your energy so you can reach the summit. This can be daunting, especially if the business part is not your passion (looking at you, accounting). In order to achieve more, you need to clear the path for it. Push to get the big tasks done and employ help if the work is hindering other aspects of your business or life. Pace yourself as your climb.  

Protect Yourself Before you Wreck Yourself

Taylor Swift once offered this advice for aspiring songwriters: "get a good lawyer.” It’s a pretty scary pearl of superstar wisdom, but Taylor is clearly speaking from experience.  Any good idea is worth copying, and you can anticipate that happening. Protect your idea and yourself, so that what you create is in your control and grows the way you want it to.

Start Thinking Like a Pro Athlete (be a Boss)

I have always loved sports, and while watching the NBA finals this year I realised what a giant business lesson the game offered. When I watch a basketball game or tennis match now, I think about the flow, what makes a team work, what sacrifices players make for their team, and what makes a team the best. There are so many similarities to how a business is run. Both sports and business demand serious stamina, determination and hard work.  Champions in sports turn their mistakes into learning opportunities; failure is not in their vocabulary.  Not every idea is going to result in big points, and some may miss entirely, but by taking the shot you are on the way to success.

Celebrate Your Wins 

Treating yourself is fun and feels good! For my business partner and I, hitting 10,000 followers was a milestone.  We celebrated with dinner at a new hip restaurant we were dying to try, concluding with a candle in our dessert.  Sometimes we savour a good bottle of wine, and once we splurged on custom cashmere t-shirts we both had to have (a total necessity).  Celebrating is rejuvenating and creates memories to mark the moment.

Be Flexible and Open To The Wildly Unexpected 

Take educated risks and acknowledge that there is more than one path to success. Be open to the unimaginable!  Yes Way Rosé started with an Instagram account that we thought would be entirely content based.  Through constant networking and by generating and following every lead that unfolded, we now have merchandise and wine; tangibles that thousands of people enjoy. It has been an incredible, life-changing journey. Pursue the many paths your business takes you on, and know there is not only one right option.

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