Michelle Lawlor has worked in the wine trade for 18 years and now owns and operates the Nude Wine Co. A company that specialises in award winning organic, natural and vegan wines, operating out of Kildare and deliver nationwide.

Over the last few months we have seen the gifting market become very important for our B2B and B2C client base and have expanded our gifting offering. We also offer virtual wine tasting events to corporate clients.

You can visit the Nude Wine Co. website here

How did you get the idea/ concept for your business?

I worked in Hong Kong for 5 years where I worked in the wine ecommerce field and loved it. In 2017 when I returned home after 10 years abroad, there was a gap in the market for a speciality online wine store. We took it from there and launched www.thenudewineco.ie in late 2019.

Give a brief account of your education background.

In 2005 I graduated from DCU with a degree in Communication Studies, at the time I was working part time in a wine shop which I loved and did my dissertation on the wine drinking culture in Ireland. A life long passion was born and in Autumn 2005 I did the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wine and Spirits. I’m now participating in the DCU Ryan Academy High Fliers programme for female led high potential startups.

How did we pivot in March 2020 when the Covid 19 Pandemic struck?

We launched straight into Virtual tastings with #NudeWineTV, themed live tastings twice per week and put together a package for the team building tastings for corporate clients. We also promoted corporate gifting for teams in the Tech industry as management was looking for ways to reward and engage their staff.

Did you always know/ever think you would become an entrepreneur when you were younger?

I never thought I’d become an entrepreneur and wrestled with it from 2017 up until early 2019 when I took the plunge.

Is entrepreneurship a common trait in your family?

No! Entrepreneurship is not a common trait in my family.

Did you have prior knowledge of the industry before setting up your company?

I’ve 18 years experience in the wine trade across 3 continents with my main work experience in London and Hong Kong, and various placements in Italy, New Zealand and Australia as well as working in my home town, Dublin.

What was your previous work experience (if any)? Do you think this gave you an advantage when setting up your business? I’ve worked as a cellarhand, wine sales, trainee manager and then headed up 2 different online wine companies in Hong Kong, so starting www.thenudewineco.ie felt like a natural progression.

How did you initially fund your business? (self-funded, government funding, etc)

This is self-funded project, although we are now looking for investors.

Looking back, would you have changed the method of funding you chose?

No, although I would have done better due diligence on the contractors I engaged with for getting the business off the ground. I now get at least 3 quotes for everything. There were hard lessons to learn in the first year of business.

What characteristics do you feel benefited you most when starting your business?

Resilience and focus. My partner was very supportive and if it wasn’t for him I would have probably given up!

To what do you attribute your company’s success/growth to?

I asked for help and have a mentor, which is amazing for keeping the business on the right track and my own mind focused.

What is your opinion on the importance of a professional network for an entrepreneur?

A professional network is invaluable in terms of advice, support and contacts.

If you had one piece of advice for a new entrepreneur, what would it be?

Make sure you have a strong network around you as you will need a lot of support.