Red or white? In a world with so many liquor options, customers often find themselves confused and overwhelmed. Lo and behold, brands such as Glassful are making it easier for us to pick our favorite flavors and open new corks, through e-commerce and technology.
“There are two types of people in life: those who read the instructions before using a device & those who use the device & simply try to figure it out.”
Adria Jover, Co-Founder of Glassful is a man of many traits. Originally a sculptor, Adria grew up in Barcelona, Spain and moved to New York when he was 17 years old to study architecture. A true entrepreneur, Adria has never worked for a company since graduation. “I always invent and try to do things differently.” A bad-ass motorcyclist, he gave up the craft of his hands to open up an independent branded entertainment agency in 2002 that catered to brands such as HBO. Having launched too early for its time, Adria decided to move on and set up a restaurant in New York called The Elephant. Working from 9 am to 1 am seven days a week, Adria wasn't too happy with the way things were going anymore. He felt that the depreciation of the restaurant business was very high. So, he sold his business and hopped on a plane to Japan for six months where he disconnected himself from the world to regain peace.
Adria returned to his hometown, Barcelona, after Japan and spent a lot of time with his family. A naturally born wine drinker, Adria loves wine and we mean he loves it so much that he prefers it over coffee. Having his veins pumping with more wine than blood (joke), Adria felt that he could build something in this space.
So, when was that aha-moment? He tells us, “I was in Barcelona at a restaurant and went for dinner with who is now the second half of Glassful. She was doing a similar project back in Spain called Wine and Social and had created an algorithm to figure out what a person’s palette is based on with a range of symbols. I found that a bit too complex to bring to the U.S. market, but that was when a trigger was pulled in my mind. After coming back from my travels of a year and a half, I met up with friends and explained my current business idea to them in New York. Everyone was very positive and told me to go for it and that's basically how we started!”
“We are the only ones who specialize in organic, natural wines from all over the world. We have a very specific niche of products that we taste and select through our system of rating wines. This helps put us ahead of our competitors.”
Glassful is an online technology driven company with a brick and mortar store and office located in Long Island City. To start, customers have to fill out a fun, interactive quiz to get a sense of their palette. Based on the results from the algorithm, Glassful hand-picks three bottles of wine and delivers them to your doorstep for only $54. Based on a subscription model, members can then rate the wine online, resulting in better selection for the future. That’s not all! To keep you guessing, each month is themed and each box arrives with a surprise gift inside! (Talk about Christmas coming early eh.)
Despite their addictive business model, Adria wants customers to become socially conscious of where their wine is coming from. “It takes a lot of effort to create the magic inside those wine bottles. If people took the time to meet the families producing the wine, they would be supporting agriculture, which is very important to the rural side of the country.” Fun fact: you can actually tell how well a certain town is doing, i.e. its employment rate and cleanliness, based on its wineries and thermometers.
Why The Name?
The name Glassful was chosen because, believe it or not, it was one of the only related names left for domain purchase. “I believe the most well known and coolest brands have the silliest names.” Just like these cool brands, Glassful’s target market consists of the same avid online shoppers as those who would purchase from Warby Parker, Birchbox, and Casper to name a few.
Feeding off that demographic, Adria tells us how cross promotions and partnerships have brought him the most traffic. “It helps us reach a wider audience in one single campaign. For example, when we partnered with Casper, it automatically brought us an average of 1,000 to 2,000 Instagram followers that we would have never been able to reach on our own. So it’s really about time versus cost.” Adria also tells us how word of mouth marketing (as usual) has been a top runner for spreading the word. Breaking news: Glassful recently got acquired by invino last month, hooray!
The Red Tape
The alcohol industry is one of the toughest to enter since it's basically ran by major industry players. Despite Glassful being a small elf in this situation, the regulations in this vertical are extremely costly. Adria tells us how “it would be helpful for the government to update their regulatory systems to make it easier for alcohol companies to scale businesses. From an investment point of view, you definitely need physical assets, cash, licenses, and space. The logistics were also a big challenge as we were dealing with such a fragile product.” Insider tip: legally, you can't be a producer as well as a distributer or retailer. It's the law!
Building a Team
With an office location in Long Island City, “I think it is easier to be yourself and find your own company voice when you are not surrounded by New York City’s energy. We tend to all eat together in the office mainly because there isn't much happening in the area. As a result, we become stronger as a team.” In terms of building a team, “to hire someone is the easiest thing ever, but recruiting is one of the most difficult tasks. I have had my fair share of wrong hires in which I thought the person I was hiring was capable of carrying out the skill-sets needed to only find out two months later that they were not able to perform up to my expectations. Times like these end up costing a lot for both the company and the individual.” Currently, the Glassful team consists of nine players. As a manager, Adria comments on how it is important to have empathy with people's lives and problems as well as care about their moods. After all, we are all human at the end of the day.
- Start a company doing something you love, even if it is wine
- Don’t try to reinvent the wheel too much
- Test. Build. Get feedback. Evolve.
- Share the concept and raise initial investment with family and friends
- Delay talks about shares and becoming a corporation until you have tested the market and received enough feedback
- Try to wait as long as possible before spending your first dollar!
Get your wine on by subscribing today and using promo code: Glassfulradiche2016 for a 30% discount. If you're interested in practicing your Spanish language skills or drinking with Adria? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put you in touch.
Photo courtesy of Glassful.