We were so excited to get our first article in the press on the same day that Richard Branson tweeted about us to his 2.3 MILLION followers on twitter! Check out the article on Harpers website:
After a very early start and a stressful morning we managed to pull of a stunt and hijack the Innocent Drinks building with our very own Skinny Vines banner. Just how we managed to get on their roof and pull it off - well that’s a SV team secret!! But it is pretty safe to say it wont be the last you see of the SV banner around town.
We were inspired to do the stunt by Richard Branson and the weird and wacky ways he gets his Virgin empire in the media…
…so we thought we would send him a tweet to tell him about what we did. A few hours later on the way home I was thrilled to see a notification on my phone saying Richard Branson had retweeted and commented ‘nice work, very cheeky!’ I skipped the rest of the way home to see it on the computer screen just to make sure it was real! It was definitely one of the best days in the office to date for the four of us.
Skinny Vines new mascot - THE GRAPE STALKER!
Weight: Full bodied
Role: To spread the word about an amazing new wine, with 25%fewer calories, set to hit the UK shores
Life ambition: To hold a Guinness World Record - possibly as the first bunch of grapes to run a marathon
Interests: Abseiling down tall buildings, gatecrashing major events, hijacking prominent business signs and dancing to the Skinny Vines jingle!
Likes: Events, parties, summer, Queeny and her Corgis
Dislikes: Fruit flies, juicers, frosty mornings and Justin Bieber
Skills: Sneaky, versatile, motivator, and a phenomenal dancer
Experience: Newly graduated from grape school
Life mantra: Lighten Up!
Send us your pictures of the Grape Stalker if you have seen him around and been quick enough to get a snap.
Finally the time came when all four Skinny directors were in the same room at the same time. With Tanya and Steve both in London it has been brilliant to be able to work in the same room and not via a computer link up. There were some nerves and a niggling thought at the back of my mind that what if after two years of working on the business via skype, we don’t all get along when we meet in person!? Fortunately, my fears were unfounded and we’ve had an incredibly productive few weeks. We have gone from one extreme to another, from never having met Steve, to now living in each others pockets with him crashing at our place (along with my parents and aunty who are visiting from oz - full house!!) so it’s very lucky we do all get along! Loges and I have even managed to drag Tanya and Steve along to boot camp in the park for a bit of team building and embracing a healthier lifestyle.
With lots of exciting things in the pipeline for Skinny Vines hopefully you will be seeing more and more of our wine in the future - although I can’t say too much just yet!! We are also continuing to work on our branding and can’t wait for you to see the direction it’s heading. Stay tuned as things are really starting to get interesting!!
Logan and I attended the London International Wine Fairat the Excel Centre in London a few weeks ago for a Dragons Den style pitch to the wine buyers of Tesco. It is fair to say that it was the biggest day in our business careers to date! However all the planning in the world could not prepare us for the fact that Logan was sick as a dog on the day of the pitch and in the few days leading up to it.
But the show must go on so with his game face on, his belt buckle a few holes tighter and plenty of mad dashes to the pharmacy later he managed to make it through our 20 minute pitch… just.
We got some really great feedback from the wine buyers. They definitely feel that low calorie and lighter wines are an area of growth in the wine industry and are the way forward and they liked our name and brand. They didn’t sample our wine during the pitch but we gave them a bottle to take away with them and we are looking forward to their further feedback. Being the trained negotiators that they are though, they were definitely tough on price and didn’t give a lot away one way or another as to whether we were any closer to getting our first sale. And with the 20 minute timer up (literally they put a timer on the table when we sat down!!) we thanked them for their time, gave them a bottle to takeaway, handed out our first business cards ever (exciting) and that was that!
The tube ride home was pretty flat as Logan has used all his beans just to get through the pitch and we were left with quite an empty feeling as they are clearly trained to hold their cads close to their chest and not give too much away. Determined to give this opportunity our best shot we have followed up with an email and have had a reply saying that they have been inundated over the wine fair but will get back to us in the next few weeks. On reflection it is a pretty amazing feeling that over the past two years we have gone from brainstorming an idea in our lounge room to having a product and brand that we pitched to Tesco, the third biggest retailer in the world!! It has been a roller coaster ride so far and I can’t wait to see what happens in the months ahead.
You may have realised from our excited facebook posts and tweets that we have made it to round one of BBC3’s Be Your Own Boss. We are currently scheming for the £100 challenge. The basic gist is they give us £100 and we have to make as much money as possible in two weeks to prove our entrepreneurial skills. Then pitch our Skinny Vines business idea at an expo in June to RIchard Reed (Innocent Drinks) and his buddies. We were originally going to do a car wash but due to the drought in London there is a hosepipe ban which threw that idea out the window. However, amidst this drought the UK is also experiencing it’s worst floods in years (one may have thought that by definition those two concepts contradict one another… but apparently not???).
Above: Floods/Droughts in the UK.
Our most recent idea is under wraps as we don’t want any of the other 500 business’s stealing our brilliant idea. We have to film us making the money so we will post the video here once it’s all done.
Logan met the current Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, loitering around Fulham Broadway this evening AND he lied to the Mayor of London! Logan told Boris good luck for the outcome of the election today and Boris asked him if he’d voted yet? Logan said yes… LIE. However he did then scurry off and vote to make up for it.
We have also applied for a meeting to pitch to Tesco at the London International Wine Fair in May which would be a huge opportunity for us, and what we’ve been working towards for the last two years now! Hopefully we find out in the next few weeks if we get a meeting. May could be brilliant month for the Skinny Vines team. As always, stay tuned.
So I have managed to figure out how to get the pretty little facebook and twitter buttons on the blog, with a little help from Logan (by a little help I mean I handed my computer to him and he did it). So feel free to ‘like’ and ‘share’ away – I’m pretty excited about this feature in case you can’t tell.
There are six sleeps and counting until SV’s Tan Tan lands back in Londontown all the way from Canadia. I am looking forward to lots of coffee and wine gossip sessions, although I’m sure Loges will be cracking the whip to make sure we get plenty of work done too!
The applications for BBC3’s Be Your Boss have been extending an extra week until this Sunday so we are still eagerly waiting to hear if we have made it to round 1 or not. Stay tuned. For those of you who have received letters and bday cards signed by us over the years, might be worth fishing those out now and getting them ready to frame and sell on ebay for a tidy profit.
Thanks to those who have made some names suggestions for our label lady, we loved all of them! I think we won’t really know what she’s called until we see the final product on the bottle… I think then ‘we will just know’.
Half of the SV team are off to Paris this weekend as Logan prepares to take part in the Paris marathon on Sunday raising money for the charity Get Kids Going. He is aiming to run the race in 3 hours 40 minutes and has been training hard for many months. Admirably, he has been out running whether it was sun, rain or snow (literally!) He began his training over the Christmas/New Year period while most of us were being our most indulgent. I will be at the start and finish line cheering him on and taking lots of happy snaps, so keep your eyes peeled for the post 42km run photo – should be a goodie!
We are taking a few friends along with us who are more interested in exploring Paris’s nightlife than carb loading and getting an early night, so Loges will have to be on his best behaviour if he is going to pull off a sub 4 hour time.
But it’s au revoir for now… the croissants are calling me.
What do you think of our Skinny Vines label design? We need your help to name our SV lady on the label.
About her: She is a professional female who is health conscious but loves a glass of wine or two with her friends. She will often hit the gym so she can pick up a bottle of wine, guilt free, on her way home. She works hard but is a social butterfly and you will often find her at a picnic in the park, laughing and gossiping with friends, at dinner parties, down the local pub or shopping on the local high street….
There is just one problem… we don’t know what her name is!? Please help us name our lady by making name suggestions that sound like her.
We are excitedly in the process of applying for a new BBC Three TV show called Be You Own Boss. Richard Reed, one of the founders behind Innocent Drinks, has £1m to invest in young entrepreneurs. If we get to the first stage he will give us £100 which we then have to invest and show our business skills to make money.
Logan and I have been brainstorming ideas on how we can take £100 and make some quick cash. Our current idea is to use the money to buy cleaning products and get some leaflets made up and clean cars and scooters in our local area. All the profits made go to charity so hopefully our local Londoners will support us if we get through.
The best part is Tan Tan is in London in April on a ‘vacay’ but little does she know we are planning to get her scrubbing our neighbours festering cars for the weekend…
We have to film it on our smart phones for the show (presuming we get to the first stage) so you will all be able to see how thrilled Tanya is to spend her weekend in London with a sponge and bucket in her hand…. wax on, wax off.
Last night chaos broke out in the midst of a Skinny Vines (skype) business meeting!
It was the first time the four of us have managed to touch base in some time due to our international work schedules, so there was quite a bit to discuss. Mid sentence there was a god awful squeal come from the mad hatter (Steve) which led the rest of us to believe he must be in a life or death situation. Low and behold he had a possum running riot in his garage. Needless to say all business chat came to a grinding halt and the skype call abruptly ended while Steve dealt with the deadly beast…
However, thankfully 15mins later and Steve was back online and ready to carry on…. minus a possum…
So the update from the call at the end of the day is that everything is full steam ahead. We should finally find out today if the printers were able to print our die cut design and then we can move on to the next stage of trialling if the label design can be applied to the bottle.
Logan has become a nerd reading php and mySQL books and is carrying on with designing our website, which is coming along swimmingly. Hopefully it will be ready for you to check out soon! In other exciting news Tanya has booked some flights back to the UK for a week or so in April so we are looking forward to being able to do some work under the same roof for a change. Thats all from me for now but stay tuned for more life or death updates.
Spring is on the way! The days are getting longer, the sun is poking through and the jackets are getting lighter. We are working hard to get Skinny Vines on the supermarkets shelves before summer hits. Hopefully there will be more updates this week as we are waiting on feedback from the printers in NZ to see if they were able to successfully print our technical die cut label design…. fingers and tossed crossed!