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These Aussies’ ‘no BS’ approach to wine is making them millions

Techly's Business Success Series

If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.

It’s a saying we’ve all heard, and one which brother-in-laws Andre Eikmeier and Justin Dry took very seriously when they built a multi-million dollar company around wine.

If you’re a wine lover who hasn’t heard of Vinomofo, it might just revolutionise your life.

The company is an Adelaide-based Aussie startup, which approaches wine with a “no bowties no BS” approach.

The co-founders, Dry and Eikmeier offer a platform for wine-lovers around the world to find great wine at an affordable price, simply through talking to a mate, rather than a wine connoisseur.

justin dry giving a speech in front of a projector screen

Over the last seven years, the company has grown from a backyard business in Adelaide, run by just the two brothers-in-law, to a 120-staff strong business, with revenue of A$70 million.

However, Dry is no stranger to starting businesses. The entrepreneur’s first job was starting his own car washing and lawn mowing business, aged just ten-years-old.

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A few years later, it wasn’t until his late teens that Dry discovered his love for wine – and with his entrepreneurial spirit in tow, began to think of the possibility of turning his passion into a profession.

“I was inspired by discovering Facebook while travelling in South American in 2006,” he continues.

“I decided I wanted to create the Facebook for wine.”

The initial business set up by Dry and Eikmeier was named “Qwoff”, without the retail elements of Vinomofo, Qwoff was a place for wine lovers to bond over their favourite discoveries and rate and review wine.

However, after four years, Qwoff was struggling financially and the two men knew something had to change.

As a result, Qwoff was transformed into Vinomofo.

Justin Dry vinofomo co-founder with his arm up giving a speech

Whilst Vinomofo retained the heart of Qwoff – to unite those with a love of wine – the new company added a retail element and was designed to cut out the middlemen of the wine industry.

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“Vinomofo, and even Qwoff back in the day was never about selling wine.

“It was always about building a community of people who loved wine – the drinks, the growers, the producers and the makers,” says Dry.

“We started Vinomofo back when the wine industry was still very stuffy, so a part of our proposition was about returning the power back to people.

“Actually, just having some fun with wine. The way it’s meant to be.”

There’s no doubt that part of the success of Vinomofo is its brand. The “no bowties, no BS” mantra definitely works.

Dry admits he’s aware of how much the Vinomofo culture has influenced the success of the company.
“In order to build and maintain a great culture, you need to first decide what your mission is and what you stand for.

“Then you need to communicate it clearly and regularly to the team and your community.

“Most importantly, you need to live it from the top down.”

All in all, the success of Vinomofo has spiralled beyond what Dry and Eikmeier could have imagined when sat in their Adelaide shed, creating Qwoff.

Justin Dry talking to a crowd of people

But the road to success, even with Vinomofo, hasn’t always been easy.

The number one challenge Vinomofo has encountered since beginning the journey?

“People,” says Dry.

“Humans are complicated things and everyone has experienced or is experiencing different challenges at any one time.

“There is no perfect solution when trying to build out a great culture.”

With or without the frills, there’s no doubt Dry and Eikmeier are successful wine connoisseurs, just without the pretentious philosophy so often associated with wine specialists.

Therefore, it seems only right to ask, what makes the perfect bottle of wine?

Somewhat unsurprisingly, the answer reflects the whole culture of Vinomofo and the two men who founded it.

“It’s so much more than just the wine; it’s the whole experience.

“Who you are drinking it with and where. What’s being discussed.

“How connected you are to the experience and the people.

“Oh and food, always the food.”

Read about other innovative Aussies who are kicking goals every day

About the author

Alice is a Londoner who quit her 9 – 5 job and bought a one way ticket to Sydney. Usually found pining after Leonardo DiCaprio, drinking red wine and keeping her Instagram “on point” via @alicesantics.

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