A good glass of wine is the perfect end to a stressful day. The wine industry makes up a huge portion of the South African GDP and has created nearly 300 000 jobs. Micaela Cormack, an ambitious entrepreneur, founded her own online wine business and has chosen Co.Space as Ms Plonk’s home. We wanted to find out more about Micaela’s wine business, Ms Plonk:
I have been in the wine industry for about 16 years and decided to start Ms Plonk around 18 months ago, give or take. Previously, and currently (I am actually moon lighting with MsPlonk), I was working for wine distributors, Meridian and Wineworx/Vinimark, and selling wine wholesale only. I was very much involved in selling wine to liquor stores, restaurants and hotels. I was selling on behalf of the distributors and then more as a wine ambassador or PRO for the wineries.
Ms Plonk is an online liquor store (website still to be published with improvements) with our primary focus being on wine and wine related products. We have also established a wine club with our customers. Our clients sign-up (but also don’t have to commit to a monthly purchase and can do random purchases whenever you want to) and receive a mystery wine box once a month. Customers have no idea what they’ll be getting until it arrives. The idea is to get our customers to experience different wines from various wineries that they might have never tried before and to broaden their “wine horizons,” learning about new exiting and the hidden gems of the wine industry.
I wanted to sell wine straight into people’s homes as opposed to wholesale. Wines often sit unnoticed on a shop shelf for ages and become a hand sell for us wine ambassadors.
My experience has been that when selling wholesale, you have to sell the wine 3 times: First, you sell the selected wines to the stores or restaurants. Then, you need to sell the wine to the customers. Finally, you have to market your product enough to ensure the customers ask for that specific wine again and again.
I am not a university graduate and with our economy it’s very difficult to clime the financial ladder. I started working relatively young and I have had a range of business along the road. I ran a travel and tourism business for 8 years, I have been involved in property and property sales, I had my own reflexology and natural health care business that I ran from home.
Before I made the decision to move to Co.Space, I was working from home. My garage was my warehouse and my study was the office. Working from home just wasn’t suitable anymore and I needed a professional environment for my business which also allowed me to apply for a license, as well as still being within the flexibility of movement I need for my working hours.
I though the concept of Co.Space was brilliant. I loved the idea of a space that fits small to medium size businesses.
The month-to-month rentals also poses limited risk for new business. You’re not tied down by 12-month lease agreements which can be quite scary when starting out your business.
Co.Space also offers a professional setup without having to pay ridiculous prices.
The retail zoned units fit my business model. I needed space for my business that allowed me to get a liquor licence and Co.Space was the perfect fit. Also, I am not tied down to retail shopping centre hours, so my flexibility is still in place and I decide on my own working hours at my store.
I have done business with several of the entrepreneurs within Co.Space. Many of the members of the Co.Space community purchase wine and other liquor from my store.
Thandeka, from BVB Projects, was supplying gift bags and I supplied her with bottles of craft gin for her clients.
I have also supplied alcohol for the Co.Space Meet & Greet events as well as collaborating with a few of the caterers in the community.
Kevin and Lisa, owners of Burnt Edge, supplied me with beautiful gift boxes for my Christmas catalogue and I have also done some business with some of the packaging guys at Co.Space.
There is a definite networking advantage to being at Co.Space and I hope to do business with a few more members of the Co.Space community.
Benefits of Being an Entrepreneur?
Absolutely everything. You work your own hours. You are your own boss. You can write your own salary cheques.
Basically, it is the freedom that comes with being an entrepreneur that I enjoy so much.
I love the community of entrepreneurs that Co.Space offers. There are a lot of other entrepreneurs spurring me on and encouraging me to succeed.
Advice for other entrepreneurs
You need to have “balls of steel” when deciding to start your own business. You’ve got to have enough capital to sustain you. When the going gets tough you can’t be knocked down. Get up and keep on going. You have to be motivated enough to keep perusing your dreams and keep focussed to reach your goals.
If you would like to know more about Micaela and her self-built online wine retail business, contact her via:
Want to get down to business? Want your business to operate on your terms? At Co.Space, we’re all about making your business easy to start and grow. Send us your details and we’ll help you find the right office, workshop, showroom, studio, storage and parking space for your business.