Holly Berrigan felt unfulfilled in her corporate job and desired to do something she was truly passionate about. As a wine lover from Oklahoma she knew how difficult it could be to find quality natural wines in rural areas. With wine subscription clubs and monthly wine box delivery services continuing to grow in popularity she saw there was a gap in the market for natural wine. Her company MYSA Natural Wine fills that space, delivering natural wines through their e-commerce platform and monthly subscription box across the country. While the Pandemic was tough on most small business owners, it was a boom time for the Northampton, Massachusetts-based Berrigan, as MYSA hit the $1 million revenue mark and continues to grow rapidly.
Berrigan’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
What was your reason for starting your business?
I love wine and wanted to help broaden the natural wine category. In my old consulting job I wasn’t feeling so fulfilled, so I started taking wine courses and ended up starting an import company. Being from Oklahoma, I also knew that the kinds of wines I loved most (natural wines) we’re really tough to find outside the big cities, so I teamed up my now partner to launch an eCommerce solution that would combine both areas that I loved.
How do you define success?
Feeling fulfilled in what you do and waking up excited to work on it everyday. Having gone from making lots of money to launching my own project in the negative, it was clear to me that I needed to be creating something for myself to feel successful. That’s not the path for everyone, which is why I think it’s so dependent on how you feel daily versus achieving some specific goal.
Tell us about your biggest success to date
Hitting multiple seven figures in revenue for our wine clubs. We scaled very quickly during COVID-19 and I didn’t even realize when we hit the $1m mark in revenue. But I do remember the day we hit multiple and that felt like a big achievement and scale I wasn’t sure we’d achieve that quickly as a company.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
We have no outside investors so we had to be very scrappy in starting up the business and funding a very expensive product line. We run a very lean team because of this (just myself, my partner, and an assistant) and spent a lot of time developing organic content so that long-term we wouldn’t be dependent on ads for growth.
Have you experienced any significant personal situations that have affected your business decisions?
My business partner is also my fiance so we have to work extra hard to ensure that we don’t let work take over our personal lives.
What is your biggest tip for other startup entrepreneurs?
Just jump in and start working on it, there will never be the “right time.”
How do you find inspiration on your darkest days?
I pet my dog and have a daily meditation and breathing practice.
Who is your most important role model?
The natural wine space is filled with inspiring women which makes me really happy to be a part of the community! Isabelle Legeron is both a role model and friend for me. As a Master of Wine and running the largest natural wine fairs in the world. Jenny Lefcourt is also very inspiring, having started one of the largest natural wine importing brands. Both of them started way before this category was popular and really paved the way for women like me to be able to do what I do now. ◼
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