We love our wine at Lux and Concord; red, white, sparkling, and otherwise. Now with summer events, concerts on the lawn and outdoor movies coming up on our calendar, we were beyond excited to find out there was a way to take our wine with us on all the on-the-go adventures. GOVERRE is a glass, portable, stemless wine glass with a silicone sleeve and drink-through lid, created by Shannon Zappala and Regan Kelaher. They started off as friends and wine-lovers, who took one great idea and turned it into a seriously successful business. Recently, they appeared on Shark Tank and secured a deal with three sharks: Mark Cuban, Lori Grenier and Robert Herjavec. The deal was for a $200k investment for a 33.3% stake in their company. Pretty sure they celebrated with a glass of wine or two after that!
HOW DID YOU TWO GET INTO BUSINESS TOGETHER?
Shannon: Regan and I met six years ago when our kids were in preschool together. We participated in a field trip to the pumpkin patch and have been friends ever since. Once our kids got a little older and were in school full time, we had the itch to change career paths and start our own business.
WHAT DREW YOU TO WINE SPECIFICALLY?
Both: Our kids drove us to wine specifically. Haha! Neither of us are wine connoisseurs but we are definitely wine enthusiasts! We also love drinking our wine out of glass instead of plastic.
WHAT SPARKED THE IDEA FOR THIS PRODUCT?
Both: One evening, while enjoying an outdoor concert in the park with our families, we both noticed that everyone was drinking their nice wine out of plastic cups… including us! We knew there had to be a better way of drinking wine at these types of outdoor events. So we began looking for a portable glass that wasn’t plastic. After an extensive and unsuccessful search, we decided to create one!
HOW DID YOU GROW YOUR IDEA INTO A BUSINESS?
Shannon: Once we came up with the idea, we created a mock-up of what we wanted it to look like and took it to a local engineer. He created a 3D prototype of the product and we thought ‘hey, we’re on to something!’ From there, we did a ton of proof of concept with unbiased groups. When we saw that the response was positive and people would actually use it, we hit the ground running. We found a manufacturer but quickly realized it takes a lot of capital to create a product. Our initial funding came from a successful Kickstarter campaign. We raised over $63,000!
Additionally, Regan and I had to contribute money for production to make up the difference. Once we had the funds necessary, we were in business to start making product. From there, we hustled and attended every wine festival we could, knocked on retail stores doors to see if they wanted to carry GOVERRE and used social media to get the word out there. Fortunately, it caught on and people starting wanting and buying our product.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE ON SHARK TANK?
Both: It was an incredible experience! We were so nervous, but at the same time felt very prepared because we definitely did our homework. We are both big fans of Shark Tank and watch it religiously. Standing on the set in front of the sharks was extremely surreal.
HOW DOES IT FEEL IN THE AFTERMATH?
Both: Crazy! 🙂 Seriously, though, we feel extremely grateful to have such an amazing group of investors on our side.
WHAT IS YOUR NORMAL DAY LIKE NOW?
Shannon: It’s a lot busier now, that’s for sure! It’s non-stop from the moment we wake up and drop the kids off at school. Regan and I work out of my house and pack/ship orders out of my garage, believe it or not. We have over 500 retail shops that carry GOVERRE, the majority of our day is working with our sales reps, retail stores, etc. processing and managing new orders. In between, we are constantly working on new business strategies, ideas, etc. I’d say no two days are exactly alike.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE FRIENDSHIP AND BUSINESS?
Shannon: Fortunately, the two of us work really well together. Our business backgrounds are different, too. Regan studied/worked in Finance and I in Marketing. We complement each other well in this aspect. As far as friendship goes, we have to make an effort, though, to spend time together as friends and NOT talk about work. It’s more challenging than we thought, but we definitely make it work!
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR ANYONE LOOKING TO GO INTO BUSINESS WITH A FRIEND?
Both: Do it! However, go in knowing that you are not always going to agree with each other’s ideas and sometimes even arguments may come from it. Open communication is key…without it, your business and friendship may suffer.
HOW DID YOU EXTEND YOUR BRANDING INTO THE SOCIAL MEDIA SPACE?
Both: Thank you! We really wanted our brand to represent who we are…fun, cheery, bright. We also work with a great team that matches our vision and personalities.
HOW DO YOU WORK YOUR BUSINESS MODEL AS PART OF THE INCREASINGLY ONLINE WORLD?
Both: We’re constantly growing our customer base by providing exceptional service, fast turnaround times for shipping and constantly staying ahead of the trends.
WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE FOR SOMEONE LOOKING TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
Both: Never give up. There will definitely be naysayers out there and you will receive a lot of unsolicited advice, but don’t let it deter you from your end goal. Keep your head high, smile and nod politely (though it’s the last thing you want to do) and keep doing what you’re passionate about doing.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TYPE OF WINE?