I'm tea total. In fact, i'm worse than that, I don't even drink tea. With that in mind, The Black Goblet seems a very odd choice of business to try and start.
I really love the branding I developed for it by the way.
As per the business/concept plan I mocked up with the team:
An experience in exclusive wine and spirit discovery, tailored for a specific range of budgets. Online and off.
Engaging the audience in a monthly wine subscription service. Weekly, beautiful video and photographic curation of exclusive wines to the UK market, by wine experts. Buy at discounted flash prices, and receive free cases to your door. Continue the experience offline and compliment it by mobile technology.
Led by a team of wine and operational supply chain experts. Complimented brilliantly by online, communication and strategic masters.
From the above, and my opening caveat, you can understand why I wasn't really an expert in this field of business.
Working with Adel, my co-founder at Flubit, and Ricardo, we were introduced to both a wine expert and someone who had a wealth of business experience and was prepared to become CEO.
Everything looked set.
- The wine expert introduced us to exclusive products
- A professional sommelier agreed to be the representative
- Lot 18 launched in the UK, validating the market just 5 months before.
- We were offered investment of around 250k to get started.
However, I was to learn two important lessons, and ultimately end the journey with The Black Goblet.
1. The first lesson was that it's very hard to bring random people together and make them become a start-up. Both the CEO and wine expert had their differences, and we had our differences with them too (as i'm sure they did with us). No doubt they were great people, and excellent at their work in their respective fields, but you can't just create a team that would work for each other in the harsh conditions of a start up... just like that....
2. We didn't agree terms at day one. We always agreed to agree later down the line. When we came to agree everyone felt they had given more work, and could give more work than anyone else. For this reason it just wasn't possible to continue with everyone feeling happy about the agreement. If you're going to go into something, at the very least set out the main expectations of return from early on.
So, The Black Goblet was no more, I still hadn't tasted wine, and another investment opportunity based on an concept was passed by. But with hindsight it's a good thing, It wouldn't have worked with the mix of personalities we had on board.
p.s. - Oh and just two months later Lot 18 shut down their UK arm citing that the supermarket dominance was just too great for an independent player. phew!