Storefront Stories: Epernay Wine & Spirits
Storefront Stories: Epernay Wine & Spirits
Storefront Stories: Epernay Wine & Spirits - Celebrating Women's History Month Spotlights
In honor of Women's History Month, we’re spotlighting #ACKChamber Women Owned Businesses! We asked Jenny Benzie of Epernay Wine & Spirits a few questions, here are her answers!
Q: How did last year challenge you as a businesswoman, if at all?
A: Last year was a challenge in that we had to be true to ourselves and our convictions, not listen to what everyone else was saying or doing. The decisions we made were what we felt was best for the safety of our team, and our community, even if a handful of our customers did not agree with us. You realize quickly who is there to be part of the solution in a situation like we experienced in 2020.
Q: What are the pros and cons of being a female entrepreneur in 2021?
A: It is an amazing time to be a female entrepreneur right now! There are many new female owned businesses that are blooming and flourishing. Women realize they don’t necessarily need to have a lot of money to get started. It is a blessing to be able to bring our gifts into the world and be of service to others. Owning your own business means you have to hold yourself accountable and find the motivation within to keep going, which is a challenge when you may not always want to do that.
Q: What tips or advice do you have for other women wanting to start their own business?
A: My first piece of advice is Just Do It! My second piece is Know Your Numbers. You go into business not just to be of service to others, but also to provide for you and your family. There is no reason to sell yourself short, that is just disrespectful to you. As long as you are providing value, there is no shame in charging what you are worth.
Q: What mantra do you live by?
A: Where can I focus my energy that is profitable and rewarding to me? Keep in mind, profitable does not necessarily mean money in the bank. It could be a feeling you get by being involved in your church or volunteering for a community organization, perhaps the adrenal rush after a solid workout, or the love you feel by taking a walk with the dog in nature. Whatever it is, make it worth your time and effort.
Q: How do you balance owning a business and your personal life?
A: Do I? My balance is more on a bell curve, where I work extremely hard in the summer and then get to have a lazy winter. This may not work for everyone! I am fortunate to work very well with my husband in our business and we are great partners in domestic duties as well. It makes an enormous difference to be doing this together versus going it alone on all fronts.
Q: Who is the most influential woman in your life and why?
A: The easy answer would be my mother! She was an angel here on Earth and taught me how to be a good person, have a determined work ethic, and be financially literate at a young age.
As I got my start in the wine business, I was greatly influenced by the few women (even still so few) who have become Master Sommeliers, the highest certification for wine professionals working in the hospitality industry. The determination they have to achieve such status is awe inspiring, and the ones who have achieved this title are always available and willing to work with other aspiring females who want to be in the business.
Q: Why do you think it's important to support other women?
A: Women need to hear they are smart, they can do it, they make a difference in the world, and who better to hear that from than other women. All boats rise with the tide, let’s row this boat together and make the load a little lighter for all of us. No one will get ahead if we push others down trying to get to the top.
Q: To what do you attribute your success?
A: Having a goal and a plan to get there. When you are in school, you look forward to the next semester or the next year (or summer!). After I graduated college, I started looking at 6 months goals to have a plan for the near future. I realized that I needed to do something, even if it was a small something, almost every day to get to that big goal at the end, even if it was saving money for a trip, relocating to a new seasonal work location, learning a new language (mine was wine!). It doesn’t just happen. It’s the compound effect that leads to results.
Q: What can we expect next from you?
A: I recently created an online wine course that is available and will be expanding my course offerings to bring successful business strategies to small, family owned wine retail stores.