Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Rugieyatu Bhonopha. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Rugieyatu, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
Growing up in the Northern SF Bay Area. I frequently visited Napa and began selling wine for a popular winery in St. Helena. During the pandemic while wine and liquor sales were up I decided to reach out to my connections to see how they would be able to support my dream of having my own wine line. This was a very exciting and scary time for me because I was putting all my dreams into this. I wanted to show that an African Woman who grew up in the Bay Area can have her own wine. My approach of offering a good quality Napa wine directly to your door within 7-10 days really helped me reach a new audience.
Rugieyatu, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
My family is from Sierra Leone, West Africa and my father was the first businessman I knew. My parents instilled that if you work hard and put your mind to anything you can make it happen. They always supported my ideas. Wine is a product I love. I started wine tasting in college and that started my love. I was a wine distributer for various companies and decided I wanted to try on my own. That is when I contacted Kimberely McConnell Riberdy who is now Amoy’s Chief Marketing Officer to help me bring my brand to life. I wanted to have quality Napa Valley Wine delivered to your door and experience my favorite place anytime of the day, month or year and an affordable price.
Amoy Wines is a brand built by hard working black women who would like to show other women and people of color that we deserve to have spaces in industry’s that we’re not normally seen in. Amoy Wines wants to feel as if you’re on vacation while drinking our wine.
How’d you meet your business partner?
I met my business partner Kim though my best friend Krystal. The three of us started our first business together called BE Sharp Events. This was my first go at entrepreneurship. I really believe this helped me to be the business owner that I am and to understand that having the right people on your team can really help the success of your business. We also learned what we liked and didn’t like.
These steps of not moving forward with other business helped us know how each other works. Everyone has their strengths, and we bring out the best in Amoy Wines.
We often hear about learning lessons – but just as important is unlearning lessons. Have you ever had to unlearn a lesson?
I learned that everything takes time and sometimes you have to wait, and the right opportunity will present itself. I also learned that you can’t work with everyone. Not all brands and companies that want to work with you fit your brand and where you see your company going. I had to learn that you have to have a clear vision of who and what your brand is.
I also had to unlearn that everyone wants to see you win. Some people don’t and that should be your motivation to keep doing. Your biggest success you believing in yourself and your company.
- Website: www.amoywines.com
- Instagram: @Amoy_Wines
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100076107272395
Rugieyatu Bhonopha CEO/Founder of Amoy Wines Kimberly McConnell Riberdy CMO of Amoy Wines Photographer: Samantha Tyler Cooper Makeup: Brittany Bahou Hair: JillLisa Brown