Have you ever gone out to purchase a bottle of sparkling wine and were overwhelmed by your options?
Best friends Erica Davis and Catherine Carter launched a brand to help wine lovers discover, taste, and learn about sparkling wines and take the stress out of the shopping experience. They founded The Sip, a champagne-and-sparkling-wine-tasting community, where anyone can curate their own luxury experience.
“Our girls nights would be centered around discovering a new bottle of sparkling wine, and we really connected around the joy and the celebratory feeling that you get when you drink sparkling wine,” Erica says.
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The friends fell in love with the wine-tasting experience, but immediately noticed a large opening in the industry. “The idea to start The Sip sparked around a gap in access and understanding. As two Black girls from Oakland who go into Napa, it was always pressed upon us that we needed to know everything in order to enjoy the experience,” Erica says.
The Sip is now a space for discovery, exploration, and education. Erica and Catherine provide a curated experience, allowing people to understand what it is they enjoy about certain grapes or location-specific flavors. “The great thing about The Sip is that we make it OK to not know, but to enjoy,” Erica says.
Making your business profitable and charitable from the very start
Ever since the inception of the brand in 2019, The Sip has contributed to the East Oakland Community Project, via its Take a Sip, Give a Sip program. “For every box, bottle, or accessory you purchase on our site, we donate 16 ounces of clean water [to people experiencing homelessness],” Erica says. “Thus far, we’ve donated over 7,000 gallons.”
Letting their customers be a part of giving back with every purchase was important to Erica and Catherine from the very beginning.
For Catherine, having that direct give-back element built into every purchase makes managing finances easier. “We’re giving a donation regardless of how the quarter goes, and we tell that to our customers every time they make a purchase, because we want them to know that their purchase is impactful,” she says.
With monthly subscription boxes, corporate gifting, and branded accessories, Erica and Catherine have made their mark on the wine industry. “For us, it’s all about our customers getting to discover something new and different so they can find their own flavor and what they like,” Catherine says.
Tune in to the full Shopify Masters episode to learn how Erica and Catherine packaged and sold a wine-tasting experience and expanded their business through accelerator programs, and why representation matters in the wine industry.