Caroline Conner on making wine education accessible (and entertaining!) to all with Wine Dine Caroline

Caroline Conner_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

As Wine Dine Caroline, I provide expert and entertaining wine education for consumers through live virtual events, online wine courses, and in her free facebook community. When travel returns, my other business, Lyon Wine Tastings will emerge from its Covid-coma to teach our local wines to English speaking tourists visiting Lyon, as well as multi-day luxury food & wine retreats. Read more here

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

I moved to France, couldn’t find a job in wine, saw a gap in the wine tourism market, and took the leap! It was awesome, and then Covid happened. I pivoted immediately into delivering online wine education.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

I’ve always worked in food & wine, mostly wine. I’ve sold in shops, restaurants, been a buyer, consulted, worked in wine bars, worked at wineries, and even edited a wine book! I’ve also been a pastry chef, a caterer, a kid’s cooking teacher, and a private chef.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Definitely not, I don’t think I’ve ever had a really clear path. I still don’t! My life is certainly an adventure.

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

My tourism business was all about SEO. The name Lyon Wine Tastings really did the trick, and I very quickly rose to the top. I also begged for TripAdvisor reviews, and that was really important to gaining trust.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

I have a tendency to go big and then collapse into a puddle. I lack patience and often react instead of responding. I’ve made a lot of mistakes! As an entrepreneur, you just have to keep moving forward. You always learn, even when you’re disappointed.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

I am so proud of the work I’ve done over the past year. I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants since the pandemic killed my brand new tourism business. In the past 12 months I’ve taught myself how to create and sell courses, grown a successful facebook group, doubled my instagram following, started a youtube channel, learned about facebook ads and copy and digital marketing and so much more! It’s been a wild ride.

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

At this point my team is pretty small so I go with my gut, do I like this person? Do they seem like they are on my side and here to help me grow my business?

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

The wine trade has been turned on its head across the globe. Tariffs, bans from governments, restaurants dying, massive consolidation, it’s been very sad and it is unclear what the future holds for the wine trade.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

I’m going to have a food & wine travel show on Netflix. They don’t know it yet but they will soon!

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

I’ve always felt bad about being someone that acts quickly, I often rush into taking two steps forward and have to take one step back to undo whatever silliness I’ve rushed into. Ultimately, that quality has served me well this year. I did not hesitate, I pivoted immediately back in March 2020. I saw the writing on the wall and I acted. It hasn’t been smooth sailing and there have been steps back, but unlike many people who stalled, I have moved forward.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

That it takes time, that it’s hard but I can do it, that getting a team is crucial to allowing me to be my best and show up for my community.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

Lol I haven’t slept in 13 months. I got a puppy in January and she is helping, but I would not say I’m doing a great job at being grounded. Things have gotten worse in France, the vaccine rollout is terrible, and everyone is really struggling, including me!

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

I would love to achieve work/life balance but cannot prop myself up as a shining example of that right now. The pandemic has given me the time to work a lot since life is paused and I can’t do anything social anyway. I don’t think I would have gotten as much done in the past year if I had more social and personal commitments. Making time to cook and feed myself good food is very important to me. Making time to go to the market and not rush that, enjoy the social interaction that I get from my French fantasy market life.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I studied archaeology & anthropology during my undergrad at Oxford. It had a really profound effect on how I see the world. I’ve always got one foot in the past, which I think prepared me well for seeing this pandemic for what it was early on.

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

Take breaks, delegate out the things you don’t like/aren’t good at, dial in your systems.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

Being an Entreprenista gives me the opportunity to elevate and amplify other women. I think that’s the most powerful thing about making money.

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





Ashleigh Barker, Head of Beauty for Lincoln International, on her unique Entreprenista journey

Describe your business in a few words: I am the Head of Beauty for Lincoln International, an investment banking platform that advises brands and management teams on growth capital fundraising and M&A advisory strategies. What was your background prior to starting your own business? I’m an M&A strategy, advisor and investment professional with both investment…

Cheli Grace of Book to Millions Reflects on 1 Year in The Entreprenista League

Brief description of your business: I offer professional publishing services with business strategy. I help you write, publish and market your non-fiction book that is aligned to your business and brand. We have a 5-phase system that does a lot of the work for you so all you have to do is show up with…

Rosemary Leader, Founder of Connect The Kind, has set out to change the way we gift

Describe your business in a few words: My name is Rosemary Leader, and I started Connect The Kind in December 2020. At Connect The Kind, we have set out to change the way people gift. Our mission has been to create a more meaningful, impactful way to celebrate the good people in your lives. We…

Ashley Reckdenwald, Founder of Working Mom Notes, on her mission as a Mamaprenista

Describe your business in a few words: I am the Founder of Working Mom Notes. My mission is to empower mothers through community and experience, enabling all to prosper in both career and motherhood. I believe in moderating difficult conversations to help women feel seen and heard. What was your background prior to starting your…

Riley Flanagan of Riley’s Rows on starting her own international wine company

Describe your business in a few words: When I was four years old, Dad and I had our first harvest. I came home and knew I wanted to be a winemaker. I have loved growing up in this industry and I started Riley’s Rows as a way to share wines with people. My mission is…

Adriana Robinson, Founder of Reina Skincare, on her “accidental” success as an Entreprenista

Describe your business in a few words: My name is Adriana Robinson. I started this business in 2018. I was suffering from Acne all over my body and the products in store were not working for me. I decided to go the natural route and I accidentally ordered 10 pounds of Shea Butter instead of…

Laura Elliott, Co-Founder of Kula Inc., on taking the leap to launch a podcast

Describe your business in a few words: I am Laura Elliott the co-founder of Kula Inc. Kula is transforming the way moms receive support with a membership-based platform that allows moms to book 1:1 virtual sessions with a network of maternal wellness experts, including sleep consultants, counselors, career coaches, nutritionists, and more. What was your…

Meet Britney Mahoney: Senior Executive Assistant turned Entreprenista

Describe your business in a few words: As an 18-year highly experienced executive assistant with a diverse background in providing support to senior-level officials through in-person and virtual settings. Your business is our business. I believe in making your dreams and goals a reality and my Virtual Assistants know just how to do that. We’re…

Dawn Scott, Host of The Empowered CPA, is educating Entreprenistas with her curated courses

Describe your business in a few words: I am a CPA, podcast host, digital content creator, and co-founder of a blow-dry bar. What was your background prior to starting your own business? I worked for boutique accounting firms, a publicly traded utility and high net worth trust companies. Did you always know you wanted to…

Meet Caley Adams, Founder & Creative Director of Wildes District

Describe your business in a few words: Caley Adams is the Founder & Creative Director of Wildes District, an NYC-based design studio that specializes in emerging women’s and e-commerce brands. Wildes District works closely with founders to build meaningful experiences that span multiple touchpoints — including brand, web, app, print, packaging, and more. Caley has…

Public Relations Leader and Entreprenista, Ronica Cleary, on highlighting important and impactful stories

Describe your business in a few words: I launched Cleary Strategies to provide public relations, media placements, & crisis management to leaders and corporations. I’m a former television journalist who most recently worked as a White House Correspondent and hosted a weekly political talk show for WTTG Fox 5. My goal is to help you…

Brielle Brown, Founder & CEO of Anxiety Cosmetics, on Launching a Beauty Company Mid-Pandemic

Describe your business in a few words: I am the Founder & CEO of Anxiety Cosmetics! We are a Clean Beauty Brand Specializing in CBD Infused Cosmetics. BRAND STORY: The story starts a few years back when I was eating CBD gummies before bed due to my own Anxiety. I would toss and turn at…

Alla Koretsky of HeyLayer is on a mission to make sure women are represented in Web3

Describe your business in a few words: Alla Koretsky is Co-founder and CEO of HeyLayer – the one-stop NFT management solution to help brands transition into web3.Before founding HeyLayer, Alla spent over 15 years working as a buyer in luxury fashion, E-commerce, and subscription business startups, bridging gaps between branding, marketing, and product development. Her…

Ashley Girard of Welly’s Wellness on how her early days shaped the Entreprenista she’d become

Describe your business in a few words: Hi, I’m Ashley Girard — CEO and Founder of Welly’s Wellness. We sell prepackaged snacks, drinks and on-the-go essentials, as well as salads, fresh pressed juice + shots and more! Think of us like a healthy 7-11, but on wheels (and way cuter!). We also launched an MVP…

Donatella Arpaia: Serial Entreprenista, Attorney turned Restaurateur and Head Judge on Iron Chef America

Describe your business in a few words: Donatella Arpaia is a serial entrepreneur, trailblazing attorney turned restaurateur, celebrity chef, cookbook author, motivational speaker, brand ambassador, and mother. Donatella is best known for her recurring role as Head Judge on Iron Chef America. What was your background prior to starting your own business? My background was…