These business savvy ladies might just have one of the best jobs in the whole wide world. They’re in the business of wine. And not just any wine… it’s Malbec with a really cute spin. Speak Wines is paired with cute quotes and a yummy taste. It’s genius in a bottle and this week they’re launching a wedding portion called Big Day. Get cozy with Stephanie Fasi and Kerry Sutherland as we go behind the scenes.
SMP: Tell us a little about your business.
S & K: Speak is a beautifully delicious Malbec, thoughtfully packaged to perfectly “speak” to any occasion. Offering six different artfully designed labels with quotes like “You’re Pretty”, “The Future Is Exciting”, “Laughter Is the Best Medicine” and more, the wine inside the bottles is the same throughout.
The wine is produced in La Consulta, located in the Mendoza, Argentina wine county. Speak’s winery location alone offers every advantage in wine making. The extraordinary characteristics of the area, including high altitudes in the Andean foothills, excellent sun exposure with moderate temperatures, and pristine mountain water for irrigation results in the prized fruit that has long been recognized as the highest-quality in the country.
But, it’s much more than a fine red wine- it’s beautiful.
Since 2012, we have been curating quotes and phrases from around the world that inspire us personally, and that we believe will speak to our customers. And, similar to the fashion industry releasing seasonal collections, Speak will do the same, constantly offering customers fresh designs and quotes. Collection 2 will launch this summer.
SMP: What did you think your dream job was before your dream job found you?
S: I always wanted to be a teacher and actually went to school for it. I’ve always loved kids and think teaching is a really brave and honorable profession.
K: I’ve wanted to be just about everything at one point or another- a florist, an event planner, a dermatologist, a high school teacher, an owner of a bank (seriously, that was my dream job in kindergarten). I’ve always been pretty open-minded about where my future may take me, and mostly drawn to creative work.
SMP: Any guilty pleasures?
S: Reality TV….big time.
K: I’m a chocaholic, and the richer the better!
SMP: Why do you think your business has done so well?
S & K: We are definitely still learning the ins and outs of the wine industry, however I feel that going against the typical “industry norms’ has been our best asset. We are not a “Chateau de Whatever” type of wine, which is what’s been traditionally preferred by old-school distributors, and we don’t ever want to be that. We created a brand tailored toward women who care about style, want to drink a high quality wine and are savvy enough to go online to find it. In the beginning we were told that there wasn’t really a space for a brand like ours in the wine industry, so we just created one ourselves… and so far it’s been working for us.
SMP: If you could dine with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
S: Beyonce…she runs the world.
K: I’d love to have a holiday-style meal (that I wouldn’t cook) with all my relatives who have passed. They’d die all over again if they knew what I was up to now (no pun intended)!
SMP: What’s your favorite quote that describes your creative process?
S: Don’t be like the rest of them darling.
K: Fleetwood Mac is my all-time favorite band, and I love their lyrics, “you can go your own way”. It has a lot of obvious meanings, but most importantly for me I think it’s a good reminder to believe in yourself and have the courage to be different and take risks!
SMP: Advice you’d give to your younger self?
S: Travel even more while you’re in college. Take advantage of those long holiday breaks and go study abroad! It won’t be so easy once you graduate. And don’t worry so much about your future, you’ll end up right where you were meant to be.
K: Don’t rush it. I’ve always been in a hurry for the next step… I realize now that eventually, I would have arrived in this place regardless of how quickly I wanted to get here. Maybe not down the same path, but this would have been my final destination. I was in a hurry to finish college and start working, and now I would tell college kids not to worry about getting a job right away- go travel and experience new things! You’ll be a better person for it in the long run, and in my opinion- even more hirable.
SMP: Best moment of your career so far?
S: There have been a lot of really great moments since Speak has launched…and I mean REALLY great. However, I think when a friend of mine told me that he overheard girls at his office talking about Speak and how they saw it on LaurenConrad.com, saying, “It’s the cutest wine ever!”…that was a really amazing moment. Hearing that other people (not friends or family) were talking about how much they loved Speak, its one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.
K: Taking the risk to start my own PR agency. It was a ton of work and stress, but it has been an incredible adventure. And, it’s led to so many amazing opportunities I never thought possible (like launching my own wine brand!). Plus, I get to work with amazingly talented people who make work so much fun and rewarding!
SMP: Do you have any secret talents?
S: I can belly roll.
K: Persistence…At least that’s what my husband says.
SMP: What’s a typical work day for you like?
S & K: Well, we work together both for Speak Wines and K. Sutherland PR. So, there’s really no typical day. It’s a balance between fulfilling online orders for Speak, coordinating with distributors and media regarding the brand, and providing work for our PR clients as well. Every day is different, and that’s just the way we like it!
SMP: What was the tipping point in your business that made you feel like it was going to thrive?
S & K: We both always believed that Speak would thrive. We love everything about the wine and brand. But, when we started hearing from major media outlets (like InStyle Magazine editors, TODAY Show producers and more), we had even more confidence in Speak. The coverage we’ve already earned which has resulted in positive feedback from customers across the country have all really validated what we believed all along.
SMP: Your secret to success?
S: Work hard and be persistent. And always take advantage of the opportunities that come your way.
K: My husband. I go to him with every question and challenge, and he always delivers sound (and very honest) advice.
SMP: What’s your best tip for balancing work and personal life?
S: Always make time for friends and family. The work will still be there when you’re done.
K: Find a job that doesn’t feel like work. If you’re not happy at work, it will affect your personal life too, not just during the 9-5pm hours.
SMP: If you could buy yourself a single gift of any cost, what would it be?
S: I would buy a jet that could take me wherever, whenever! Travel is one of the most important things in my life.
K: If I could buy anything, it would probably be a house on Lake Tahoe. I’d love to have a vacation home where my family could create memories and traditions over time.
SMP: If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?
S: The one thing that you have that nobody else has, is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. Always remember that and use it to your advantage.
K: I would encourage people to take bets on themselves… after all- if you are going to gamble on anything- it might as well be you!
SMP: If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?
S: No. I believe that your past shapes who you are and is responsible for where you are and what you’re doing in your present.
K: No, not one thing. If I could slow it all down, that would be nice. Time goes so fast. But in terms of actual experiences, I’ve learned something valuable through it all- good and bad.
SMP: Stranded on a desert island question… what’s the one cocktail you would take with you?
K: I really only drink wine, so Speak of course!!
Photography: Josh Elliott