In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th, we wanted to take some time to get to know the powerhouse women that started it all at ONEHOPE: Tiffany, Kristen, and Sarah. Learn more about how they founded this business, advice they have for fellow female entrepreneurs, and the challenges they’ve faced along the way in this intimate Q&A.
What inspired you to start ONEHOPE?
All: We all met right out of college while selling wine in high volume Southern California grocery stores. During October, we noticed hundreds of brands supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month by doing cause-marketing campaigns with non-profits. But at the end of the month, everything stopped. So we asked the simple question – why stop? Let’s create a brand that supports amazing causes 365 days a year.
Prior to ONEHOPE, did any of you have experience as founders or business owners?
Tiffany: Prior to ONEHOPE, I had never founded or started an “official business” before, but because we were so young when we started, I can tell you that entrepreneurship is contagious — even though this was my first, it won’t be my last!
Kristen: Aside from my small babysitting side hustle as a kid, I never founded a business prior to ONEHOPE. However, I was personally inspired by my dad, Steve, who started his own construction company when I was young. His passion, dedication and work ethic continue to inspire me everyday.
Sarah: Similar to Kristen I had a bustling babysitting gig starting at the age of 12. I had 2 younger brothers, 7 and 9 years younger, along with a cousin 7 years younger that I often helped out with. So when the neighborhood parents saw me with those 3 little boys, they gained some trust that I could handle their kids.
I continued to be excited about work and applied for a workers permit through my high school at age 15 and got a job at a surf shop, which allowed me to ride my skateboard to Dairy Queen on my lunch break for blizzards, go to the beach while waiting for a ride to get picked up, and get a discount on summer clothes which was all heaven on earth at that age. Also around that time, I started working every holiday season as a gift wrapper in my uncle’s clothing store to wrap beautiful suits, ties, and all things menswear.
I seemed to always have a job growing up and loved it (and still do!) Before 21 I had been a receptionist in 2 hair salons, house sitter, dog walker, babysitter, phone bank operator, waitress, children’s center employee, worked retail, gift wrapped, and realtor assistant passing out fliers and doing grunt work. So no I had never founded a business but had always been entrepreneurial.
What is one of the biggest obstacles you have faced thus far as a female entrepreneur?
Kristen: Hands down, balancing business and family. Being an entrepreneur, you can never “clock out” of the job. Working evenings and weekends, and spending many nights away while traveling on business, is really hard when you’re also a mom and wife. I’m so thankful to have a husband and family who supports my career. I’m also really proud to share what I’ve helped create with my daughters, so they can see it has all been worth it.
Sarah: In the early days one of the biggest challenges for me was gaining the confidence and courage to present to, or meet with, large groups of experienced professional distributor executives twice my age in a very male-dominated industry.
Being an entrepreneur, you can’t be fazed by 1,000 NOs. Looking back I wish I never doubted myself because we had the knowledge, team, product, and know-how which is why ONEHOPE is thriving today. But at the time, I remember doing a lot of preparation to make sure I was always incredibly buttoned up beforehand to overcome being intimidated or insecure.
Now, I find balance challenging. Whatever I’m doing I want to give it my all at 100% effort, so changing gears from manager, to colleague, to mom, to wife, to household operator, to daughter and sister and friend, and taking care of my own health and fitness…it’s doable but takes discipline and a LOT of scheduling and communication with all the people to make it happen.
Explain what it means to be a Cause Entrepreneur with ONEHOPE.
Kristen: Opportunity! Opportunity to learn about wine. Opportunity to be your own boss. Opportunity to make an impact for your local community and causes around the world. Opportunity to make friends and amazing connections within our community. Opportunity to empower those around you to give back, every day.
Sarah: So much fun! Becoming a part of a wonderful community of like-minded, passionate individuals looking to bring people together to change the world! Being handed all of the tools needed to run your very own business and having the autonomy to do so at your own pace to fit your own life! All while giving back!
How are the women at ONEHOPE disrupting the wine industry and direct to consumer channels?
All: By empowering people to share wine and give hope. The women at ONEHOPE are giving wine lovers and do-gooders across the country a new way to buy wine and support the causes they love.
What is one learning you’d like to share with fellow female entrepreneurs?
Kristen: Stay true to your vision, believe in yourself, and surround yourself with people that lift, inspire, and challenge you to be better.
Sarah: I have 9 learnings to share!
-Embrace criticism. Discovering what you can do better/self improvement is such a gift.
-Be persistent in what you truly believe in.
-Trust your intuition.
-Be curious and listen.
-Take care of yourself – health/fitness/mind! You will have more to offer the people around you.
-Allow your values to guide big decisions.
-Get to the root of problems as quickly as possible.
-Treat everyone you meet with respect (A given, right? But also because industries are small and you will likely work closely down the road with someone you met in your early years and relationships are everything!)
– Be on the bus with the right people
Tiffany: I would emphasize the importance of partnering with like-minded people who share your core values – whether they are employees, vendors or customers.
How do you promote women’s empowerment and equality for ONEHOPE employees?
All: We empower the women in our community to build their own business and earn an income, while also making a difference for themselves and others, every day. We provide the training and tools required to launch a career, and a community that lifts and supports them, and an impact to inspire.
We are proud to say that 99% of our Cause Entrepreneur community are women, and 60% of our home office employees are women. Women engineers, women designers, women marketing gurus… and even a woman VP of winemaking!
Who is a female role model in your life that inspires you and why?
All: Our fellow female founders! We’ve worked SO hard together to build this brand and vision for nearly 13 years. We’ve helped helped each other navigate the wild world of trying to balance motherhood, marriage and business. We truly inspire one another every day and we can’t imagine our lives without each other!
How does ONEHOPE support women’s causes 365 days a year?
Tiffany: We have several wines that are dedicated to women’s causes 365 days a year such as our Côtes de Provence Rosé that supports educating women on their risks of ovarian cancer, and our Carneros Chardonnay and Vintner Chardonnay that provide clinical trials for women fighting Breast Cancer.
In addition, we are supporting thousands of women across the country with our platform that allows our community to find purpose, make an income, and give back to their local communities!
It took the 3 of us grinding for 10 years so we could get to a place where we could provide our community of Cause Entrepreneurs with everything we didn’t have when we started: a 90+ point rated award-winning wine portfolio, an integrated wine and training education platform, and a technology enabled storefront/back office equipped with everything you need to start your own thriving business!!
What is your biggest piece of advice that you’ll share with your daughters as they pursue their careers and passions in the future?
Kristen: Pursue your passion, work hard and always be kind.
Tiffany: BE BRAVE. Don’t let the fear of failure ever stop you from pursuing your passions. You don’t have to be perfect, you have to take risks. Growth happens outside of your comfort zone, it’s really important to make mistakes and it’s critical to learn from those mistakes and move on as quickly as possible! BE KIND, always.
Sarah: We have 6 little ladies between the 3 of us and I’m so happy to have Tiff and Kristen to help navigate motherhood, raising strong daughters, and growing a business!
In addition to sharing all of the above that I would share with other female entrepreneurs, they have summed up some of the best advice for our daughters perfectly!!
Become a Cause Entrepreneur with ONEHOPE
We hope this interview with our founders inspired you to go after goals and make time to pursue your passions. If you’re looking for a fun, flexible, and fulfilling career where you can be your own boss, make your own schedule, and raise money for meaningful causes, take a look at the benefits of becoming a Cause Entrepreneur on our Join page. We look forward to having you as a part of our community!
Happy International Women’s Day,
The ONEHOPE Wine Team