We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Shannon Zappala a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Shannon, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today How did you come up with the idea for your business?
I feel like our story is a little different from the traditional way of ‘I thought of the idea first and then ran with it.’ My business partner, Regan, and I didn’t have the idea first but we had the strong desire to start a business. The idea came later. So let me back up just a little… Regan and I met at our then preschoolers pumpkin patch field trip. After a long day with 30+ preschoolers, we started chatting on the school bus on our home and discovered that we were both ‘wine enthusiasts’, aka we like to drink wine. We ended up going out for a glass of wine after and became instant friends. I was a stay-at-home mom, former Marketing executive and Regan was working as a Finance Analyst for a hospital system. Once the kids were in school full time, we both had a nagging feeling that we could be and do more. Our careers involved building and growing business for other people, but thought ‘why not build something for ourselves and our families?’ Regan and I decided to turn our happy hours into business meetings. Brainstorming was our only agenda item. No idea was a bad idea. After reading Guy Kawasaki’s book ‘Art of the Star’, we decided our business ideas had to meet two criteria… 1. Create a new product that adds value and 2. Make an existing product better. During this time we were at a concert in the park with our families enjoying nice wine, but out of plastic cups. We couldn’t help but notice everyone else was doing the same thing. That is the moment the light bulb went off! We thought there has to be a better way to do this. After tons of research, to our surprise, a portable wine glass did not exist on the market. There wasn’t a Yeti, or a Corkcicle portable wine glass yet or any version of it. As 2 southern California, busy moms we were always outdoors watching our kids play, enjoying bbqs, picnics and concerts in the park…and, yes, sometimes wine was involved! However, regular glasses would always get knocked over and break while plastic and stainless made our wine taste bad. At this point we knew we were on to something and the idea of GOVERRE was born.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
Sure, absolutely! I’m a native Californian, born and raised. I graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, (Go Mustangs!) with a Business Marketing degree. After college, my career involved working in the financial services industry as a Marketing Manager/Director. I’ve been married to my husband for 18 years and we have a beautiful 15 year old daughter. When I had my daughter, in 2006, I put my career on hold to be home with her. It was a tough decision as I never imagined myself to be a ‘stay-at-home mom’, but it was the path my husband and I decided was right for us and I’m forever grateful that I was able to do it. Once my daughter started elementary school, I found that I had more time on my hands and that desire to start working again kept creeping up; however, I wasn’t sure that going back to a corporate job was what I wanted.
At the same time my friend, and now business partner, Regan was working part-time in the Healthcare industry. She is also a native California. Regan graduated from Clemson University with a Finance degree. She and her husband have two boys. Regan was also looking for a change in careers and wanted to provide more for her family.
This when the two of us decided to start something of our own. We both felt it was time to pursue a passion of our own which was to build a brand.
How did you put together the initial capital you needed to start your business?
Regan and I felt like we had a great idea with GOVERRE, but now we needed money to bring it to life. We needed to hire an engineer to create a prototype, CAD package, molds and we needed to pay up front for our first production run. We decided to try the crowd funding platform, Kickstarter. This wasn’t easy. We actually failed at our first attempt to raise money.
After our first capital funding effort failed, we questioned our idea and whether we could make it a reality. We wondered if the naysayers were right – were we in over our heads? Whether it was naiveté or determination, we decided to give it one more try. We tried to replace every negative thought and comment with a positive one. Instead of asking ourselves, “What if we fail?”, we asked ourselves, “What if we are successful?”.
With our shaky confidence, we decided to try to raise capital again. We had a very woman-centric product, but were trying to raise money in the very male-centric world of crowdfunding. *Research shows that 70% of traffic on crowdfunding platforms is male. How were we going to raise enough money to create the world’s first GLASS portable wine glass? GOVERRE was just so cute with its bright pops of color and its drink-through lid and we knew that women everywhere would love it, but could we connect with the right audience? After a fretful crowdfunding campaign, we did it! We raised 60k to fund our dream!
Can you share one of your favorite marketing or sales stories?
I think my most favorite sales story goes back to the time we decided to take a leap of faith and exhibited at NY NOW, large gift trade show, in the winter of 2016. Up to this point, we had shown GOVERRE at local wine festivals and small events only. At these festivals, the response was always positive and people loved the product enough to buy. Additionally, sales on our website were decent and we were in about 20 small independent boutiques. However, we wanted to take GOVERRE to the next level and in order to do so, we were going to need to put ourselves in front of a larger audience. NY NOW is one of the largest gift tradeshows out there, but it’s also one of the most expensive to exhibit at and money (or lack of ) was an issue for us at the time. It was a risk we were willing to take, though.
NY NOW became the turning point for GOVERRE. Buyers had never seen anything like our product before. It was brand new. As I mentioned before, we went into the show with about 20 retail stores and after only 4 days at the show, we came home with 85 new accounts. Additionally, while we were there, we met the editors of Oprah Magazine. They stopped by our booth to look at our glasses and not only that…they loved them. Fast forward to June 2016 and we were featured in Oprah Magazine and listed as ‘…the classiest sippy cups (for wine) ever.’ It was literally a dream come true for us.
- Website: www.goverre.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goverregirls
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/goverregirls
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/goverregirls