In 1997, I had the opportunity to present a biz plan to Chicago Title to take a $195 title product and string services together as well as acquire companies offering services to the loan service industry to take the avr. fee per file to $3500 +.
Chicago brought me in to create the first national company dedicated to streamlining processes for mortgage loan servicers from pre-foreclosure through liquidation of REO properties. We convinced lenders that by using the data available to us on each part of the process we could save them money, centralize invoicing and bundle services to lower costs. And this was in an era when most couldn't even get outside their company firewall. The plan worked and in Jan. 2000 when Fidelity National Title bought Chicago, I was bought out of my contract. At last glance, that company, Fidelity National Default Solutions was on track to do about $600 million in revenue in 2008 (and probably more this year).
That experience taught me that if you targeted your business towards a niche constituency - and put your stake in the ground for a highly ambitious plan - that the pay-off would be great. After 4 years of consulting to the same industry (and buying/selling/starting new companies in this sector), I finally realized that my dream was to start a company that would tap into my personal passion for wine, food and travel. I started W&W and launched our first site in Jan 2006.
I recently relaunched our site and Women & Wine http://womenwine.com with the recession in mind. The community platform invites novices and pros to share their stories - to inspire, educate and entertain women (and men) who love wine, food and travel. It's a launching pad for the company to become the largest lifestyle brand with a primary focus of connecting over a glass of wine. The company's revenue model is to create multi-media content and offline events for companies seeking to reach savvy women ages 21-55.
We've held events in 31 cities in the past 18 months for over 7,000 people on behalf of A-list clients from movie studios to fashion, wine and spirits, hotels, publishers and more. Our newsletter goes out bi-monthly to 45,000 people and we have a top 100 wine show on i-tunes, Women & Wine Radio http://womenandwineradio.com with over 90 archived hours.
We own a tiny bricks and mortar wine boutique and wine concierge service called Wine Valet at Two Rodeo Drive - it's only 192 sq ft. - that takes our philosophy of connecting over a glass of wine full circle to connecting with the consumer on a personal level at the point of sale. http://wine-valet.com
We own the trademarks for Women & Wine in all categories of use in the US & EU as well as for Wine Valet.
Next week we'll be launching a new radio show LIVE! at the Wine Valet where audience members can listen in to my interviews of top winemakers and tastemakers, taste the wine and buy it in our store. The show will air on CRNTalk.com Sundays at 10 a.m. PST and will be available through Time Warner Cable in 24 million households nationwide.
I'm passionate and determined - and have self-funded this company for the past three years. THIS IS THE YEAR for W&W. 38 million women say they drink/buy wine once a week. There is a huge gap between consumer interest and information that appeals to women who love wine. W&W is the leader in this space and needs to raise expansion capital to grow the brand rapidly over the next year.