MENTOR SPOTLIGHT: STEPHANIE FRANKLIN @ FLY WINES
When did you know you wanted to take an entrepreneurial path?
I realized my entrepreneurial calling when I started feeling a deep sense of discomfort working under traditional corporate leadership. I yearned for a work environment where authenticity and genuine care for people were paramount. This desire to create a company culture that prioritized human connection and mutual growth fueled my entrepreneurial aspirations. Additionally, throughout my career, I found myself consistently stumbling upon exciting ideas that sparked my curiosity and passion. I couldn’t ignore the persistent drive to explore these concepts further and turn them into reality. As an entrepreneur, I’ve come to understand that the journey is not just about finding the right idea but having the determination and vision to nurture it into something meaningful. Entrepreneurship, to me, is all about recognizing opportunities and challenges, embracing them with open arms, and learning from every step along the way. It’s about embracing uncertainty and turning it into innovation. While the path may be filled with risks, I find the thrill of creating something new and impactful to be incredibly rewarding. Ultimately, being an entrepreneur allows me to align my values, vision, and purpose, enabling me to create a positive impact in the world while embracing my passion for exploration and growth. I am grateful for this journey, and I look forward to every twist and turn that lies ahead.
Tell us about your venture/work.
Fly Wines is a dynamic wine company that redefines the wine experience. With a focus on authenticity and inclusivity, Fly Wines aims to create a diverse and vibrant wine community. They offer a carefully curated selection of high-quality wines, each representing unique flavors and stories from various regions. Beyond exceptional wines, Fly Wines fosters a supportive and empowering environment, inspiring women and underrepresented voices to thrive in the wine industry.
How did you decide to tackle this particular issue?
At Fly Wines, we decided to tackle the issue of underrepresentation by exclusively working with independent wineries from around the world. We recognized the immense talent and unique stories these wineries offered, but they often lacked exposure in the U.S. market. By building genuine partnerships, showcasing their wines, and promoting them through various channels, we aim to give these wineries the recognition they deserve and create a more inclusive and diverse wine culture. Our commitment to supporting underrepresented voices drives our purpose and enriches the choices for our customers, all while fostering a vibrant community of wine enthusiasts who appreciate the artistry in every bottle.
What do you enjoy most about being an impact entrepreneur? What’s hardest about it?
What I enjoy most as an impact entrepreneur is working with independent wineries and seeing their wines gain popularity in the U.S. market. It’s fulfilling to introduce consumers to new and delightful wines they haven’t experienced before. The hardest part is budget constraints, as I wish I could help more wineries. Despite the challenges, the joy of promoting unique wines and making a positive impact keeps me motivated on this rewarding journey.
How do you navigate the space of being a founder and also being a POC/women/non-binary person?
As a Black Woman Founder in an industry with limited representation, I stay true to myself and embrace authenticity to break barriers. I seek support from like-minded networks and mentors, and I advocate for diversity and challenge stereotypes. Continuous learning fuels my passion, and celebrating achievements keeps me motivated. Collaborating with others, I strive to make a positive impact and create a more inclusive entrepreneurial space for everyone. Together, we can redefine possibilities and celebrate diversity in the wine industry.
What advice do you have for early-stage impact entrepreneurs about using their time, relationships, and opportunities at The New School to prepare for this kind of career?
For early-stage impact entrepreneurs at The New School, there are several valuable pieces of advice to make the most of their time, relationships, and opportunities to prepare for a career in entrepreneurship: 1. Take relevant courses and workshops to gain knowledge and skills. 2. Build a diverse network of like-minded individuals and mentors. 3. Engage in campus initiatives and events focused on social impact. 4. Seek guidance from faculty, alumni, and career services. 5. Test and refine your ideas with feedback from peers. 6. Look for internships in social impact organizations. 7. Embrace failure as a learning opportunity. 8. Stay informed about social entrepreneurship trends. 9. Balance passion with a pragmatic business approach. 10. Make the most of resources and support available at the university.
Anything else you would like to add?
Enjoying the journey is a crucial aspect of being an impact entrepreneur. Embrace the ups and downs, celebrate small wins, and cherish the learning experiences. The path of a social entrepreneur can be both challenging and incredibly rewarding. Remember to stay passionate about your mission, maintain a positive mindset, and find joy in the process of creating positive change. By finding fulfillment in the work you do, you’ll be better equipped to make a lasting impact and inspire others to join the movement. Happy
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