I wear a lot of hats. And I mean a lot. Sometimes it's marketing. Sometimes it's sales. Sometimes it's finance. Sometimes it's production planning. Sometimes, it's just providing a shoulder to lean on or a pat on the back. Keeping them all straight and changing them all day long is proving to be the biggest challenge of my new role as President.
One of the ones I enjoy most is sharing good news about our business. In this case, today it's with our staff.
We are having our bi-annual company meeting to give everyone the low down on where we've been, where we're going and how we're getting there. We've been having these meetings a few times a year as a way to keep everyone fully abreast on the direction of the company. Even in a small business like ours, it's important to have these meetings. That way no one can claim they "didn't know!"
I'm happy to be doing it as we're in a good place right now. We have worked very hard, for a very long time, to improve our business. No stone has gone unturned, as we've "reinvented" our family winery for the future. Call it the "vision of the second generation", or simply the need to "leave our stamp on things". Whatever the case, Dry Creek Vineyard as a company and a producer of high quality, appellation driven, distinctive wines is radically different than it was 10 years ago.
We finished 2011 in good form--just 2% below our goal. Considering our new national sales partner, V2 Wine Group, wasn't up and running (fully staffed) until September, that's pretty good. On the consumer direct side, (tasting room, wine club and ecommerce) sales were up 11% over prior year. I can't tell you how rewarding it is to be able to brag about this. For years, we've wanted to grow this side of the business. Obviously, it's more profitable than through wholesale channels. But, it's actually a lot more rewarding which is why everyone is so pumped up about it around here. And truthfully, a healthy consumer direct business enhances sales through 3 tier channels, so our distributors should be happy about this.
I'll be sharing our goals for 2012, as well as what's on the horizon. We'll touch on sales, marketing, production, human resources, sustainability, etc. And, hopefully the staff will reciprocate by sharing their thoughts and ideas. I'm not one who needs to have things candy coated. I prefer honesty and feedback, just as long as it's not whining.
So, that's the hat I'm wearing today. Tomorrow, who knows...?
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