In Conversation with Vanessa Price of The Vinum Collective
Describe your business in a few words?
I am a wine writer, educator, consultant and visual creator all of which is done under my all-things-wine platform The Vinum Collective. I am also the managing partner on a restaurant/hotel project I am developing in The Hamptons.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
A lot of really big dreams and even bigger courage (and a little bit of naiveté). I hit my mid 30’s and asked myself if not now then when? I decided to give up pretty much all forms of a social life and dedicate every waking minute that wasn’t spent on my day job to my side hustles. And I continued to do that for over 2 years until the side hustles gave me enough income to be my main hustles. And then I jumped off a cliff lol.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I have been in the wine and hospitality industries since college.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I think in my mind I always had a lot of ideas of working for myself but didn’t give myself the credit to think that I could actually do it for a long time. I was raised in the traditional mind-set of go to school, get a job, work hard, get a better job, rinse and repeat. And that worked out very well for both of my parents so it was scary to say I wanted to forge a new path. One that still excites (and terrifies) me everyday.
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?
I actually started mine quietly as I wasn’t sure what I was doing in the beginning. I slowly started to put myself and my work out there and saw how people responded. I still haven’t had an “official” company launch but hoping maybe in 2021 when the world has (hopefully) normalized some.
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?
The brain releases serotonin when we say aloud that we are going to do something, even if we haven’t actually done it yet—giving us a feeling of contentment similar to if we had already done it. This can lead to complacency. I’m sure we all have that friend who is always saying what they are going to do, but doesn’t ever do it. When you’re trying to get something off the ground you can’t afford to have any of that. Don’t tell too many people about what you are doing until the product or idea is ready to be shared. In the midst of creation you just can’t share that energy, or give yourself any false self-reinforcements. You need your energy to be laser focused. Self-promotion comes after the hard work is already done. I learned this the hard way by talking about things prematurely. It led to me giving up on one great idea completely, confused messaging with another and in one instance someone taking my idea before I was ready to share it.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
My book! Big Macs & Burgundy. It was a dream many years in the making and I am so proud to finally see it become real.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
On the restaurant/hotel project, called Mavericks Montauk, we suffered a delay in our construction timeline that is going to cost us a full season, which is devastating but we still want to move forward. For Vinum, things are busier than ever.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
I hope to see my platform with Vinum expand as more people learn about it and me. It’s meant to be inclusive which means it is malleable as it grows. I’m excited to see what it looks like. For Mavericks, we hope to be open by early 2022!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
Be flexible. 2020 isn’t what anyone expected so I think those that triumph will be the folks who can pivot. Reimagine in a moment and follow through. Don’t be afraid of a new direction, just keep true to your core vision and adjust accordingly to new realities.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
Anyone can do it. You just have to be willing to put in the minutes and the days and the years. I always thought people succeeded because they were more talented or luckier than me. Now I know it’s because they were willing to work hard and quite simply refuse to give up. I started and gave up on so many (really good) ideas and I always had an excuse as to why they wouldn’t work. But the day I said I’m going to give this idea 365 days everything changed. Every day, whether it was 10 minutes or 10 hours, I said I was going to do something for this project. No days off. When I got to the end of that year, I was amazed to look back and see all that I had accomplished. I realized I was going to need another 365 commitment but it finally clicked.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
That hasn’t been hard because my life hasn’t changed. I still just get up and work everyday, most days by myself with my pup Luna for company. With COVID especially I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I’m not a good person to ask about that. I dedicate as many waking moments to my projects as I possibly can. Most days it’s just natural because the work excites me. I am often told I work too much, but up to this point that has been what’s required. I firmly believe anything worth having never comes easy. But I do know I need to take a mental sanity check every once and again so in two weeks I am taking my first real vacation in 6 years. Excited and nervous for that one. The one thing I do everyday is exercise. Yoga, weight-lifting, running something. That’s my daily mental balance.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I didn’t grow up around wine or fine-dining. My parents didn’t even take a sip of alcohol in front of me until I turned 21. I thought parmesan cheese was what came in a Kraft container and I had never heard of a Michelin restaurant, let alone stepped foot in one until well after college. It was a very unlikely series of events that led me to the career I have today.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
1. Exercise. Some of my best ideas come to me when I’m working out because the mind is just sort of roaming free. And the serotonin release after is such a great energy/mindset to get back to work with.
2. If you work on a computer move environments throughout the day if you can. Even if it’s just from the coffee table to the kitchen table. Changing your space helps boost creativity and bolster energy.
3. Have a clean and if possible aesthetically pleasing space to work in. That doesn’t mean spend a lot of money, just make it feel nice for you. The subconscious registers so much and we don’t even realize how much our environment might be affecting our work. If my space is messy I’d rather take the 20 minutes to clean it then have it affect my pace and mood all day long.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
Just trying to live life on my own terms instead of someone else’s.