Boss Up

From the Valleys Of Wine to A Mountain of Success

Credit: Shutterstock

Get ready to move up to that corner office or start your own enterprise. is partnering with the award-winning The BOSS Network to bring you BOSS UP every week. This feature will highlight movers, shakers and rule-breakers across different industries, plus offer you career and entrepreneurial advice.

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Success in today’s marketplace is often defined by your ability to create something new while simultaneously paying homage to elements that are classic. While this is certainly no easy task, my journey has allowed me to embody this paradox.

As a woman, a vintner, radio personality, creator and partner of the lifestyle and burgeoning brand Love Cork Screw (LCS), I believe a good bottle of wine should always capture a moment in time. My partners, Tiffany Taylor and Glenn Murray, set out to do just that. More than just a line of varietals and a radio show, LCS is now a full-fledged lifestyle brand dedicated to inform, educate, and entertain the public about events, relationships, and wine.

Since its inception, the LCS brand has acquired 40 locations in Chicago, including chain supermarket Mariano’s and is growing rapidly. Much of the expansion has been attributed to my 14 years of experience in the industry, which has given me the opportunity to develop a keen awareness of what people enjoy and meet the demands of an evolving market.

While the litany of my peaks and valleys has been amazing, it’s not as cool as it looks. I work a full time job managing and selling luxury apparel and accessories. Yet when I walk down the street I get a “hey, you’re the wine lady.” People recognize me for my ability to market fermented grapes to the masses. My Love Cork Screw mind makes my heart pound with excitement, especially as the recognition increases. But it’s not always glamourous. For those that aren’t aware of the demands of the entrepreneur life, there are always meetings, phone calls, and rejections – penny pinching is the name of the game more than anything else.

The thrill is the movement not the money. The turn-on is the journey and seeing the success in what you created–not what you pocketed. Another difficult component of the journey is the reality that not everyone who is your friend will demonstrate the level of support that you expect. It’s a mixed bag of emotions for me that include, but are not limited to shock, disappointment, surprise, and frustration. I’ve learned to temper my expectations, but at the end of the day I realize that a part of the journey is the reality that it’s a lonely one.

Very few people actually understand the ebbs and flows of launching a new business and tapping into a market that has very few brown faces in the mix. With that said, there are some people whom I’ve known briefly and people I don’t know at all who have been incredibly supportive. From phone calls, connections, tastings, ideas, etc…I realize that the universe will send you people and resources from a wellspring of unknown places. I am learning to sit back and enjoy the ride and keep my focus on the larger mission.

Finally, I realize that being a woman entrepreneur has its own special challenges. While I’m not one to dwell on the explicit and implicit sexism in the business world, I feel its presence, but it only pushes me that much harder and makes me even more determined to overcome the visible and invisible obstacles in my way. I come from a strong family, I’m a member of a historically Black Greek Letter Sorority (Delta Sigma Theta), and I have paid my dues in the corporate and business world.

It is time for the world to experience what Love, Cork, Screw has to offer. As our brand’s motto states, “Indulgence knows no boundaries.”

(Red wine image via Shutterstock)

About Chrishon Lampley

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Chrishon Lampley is a vintner, radio personality; creator and partner of the wine brand Love Cork Screw launched in 2013 and are now over in 40 locations in the Chicago metro area. Ms. Lampley is also a former owner of a bar/art gallery in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood.

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