The societal upheaval and global pandemic that defined 2020 led Jill Osur to re-evaluate most every aspect of her life – but especially her work, her purpose and her passions. As a wine industry veteran, she realized how “tamed I had become [working] in an industry steeped in tradition, and dominated by rich white men.” Osur then wondered, “What was I doing to be part of the solution I wanted to see?” Her answer was to launch her company, Teneral Cellars, later that same tumultuous year. She and her team sustainably farm and produce award-winning wines, then donate 10% of all profits to organizations that empower women and fight for racial justice. Today, the Somerset, California, entrepreneur is proud to be a part of the change she wants to see in the wine world, and has her sights set on growing her million-dollar company.
Here’s our lightly edited Q&A, from The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project.
How is your business different from others in your industry?
I want to be the brand that defines how to do well by doing good – to show that we can change the wine industry so that it’s more equitable for women. My goal is to be a $30 million company in five years, to develop a thriving wholesale operation, to build our direct-to-consumer and corporate gifting channels – and to do it all with a beautifully diverse team of thriving women running the show.
Tell us about your biggest success so far.
Breaking the million-dollar mark in 2021, our first full year of business, and donating $51,000 of that to organizations that promote both gender and racial equity.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Lack of access to capital. To address that, I launched a fundraising round through WeFunder, a community tool that connects startups and young companies to investors. I chose WeFunder as a means of democratizing the flow of not only capital, but influence and impact as well.
What is your biggest tip for other startup entrepreneurs?
Listen to yourself, and trust that you have the power within to do great things. I should have listened to my head, heart and gut a long time ago. When these are aligned, you can be fully connected to your highest, most authentic self, which then allows you to operate with brilliance.
How do you find inspiration on your darkest days?
I think about how, if I want to see the change, I need to be the change.
What is your go-to song to get motivated on tough days?
“Superwoman” by Alicia Keys.
Who is your most important role model?
Phyllis Newhouse, a powerful serial entrepreneur, mother, Army veteran and changemaker, who leads through a lens of service. ◼