Buy Black: Love Cork Screw Wines
African Americans are powerful consumers, but the point is often raised that we could certainly support more minority entrepreneurs with our purchasing power. To make that mission easier, JET presents #BuyBlack, which profiles Black business folk from around the world.
Chrishon Lampley is no overnight success. With more than 20 years in the marketing and sales industry, along with a love for people, food and wine, the entrepreneur took a leap of faith and followed her passions to launch Love Cork Screw Wines. As a vintner and entrepreneur, Lampley has a solid business that lends itself to social atmospheres and feel-good times.
Ready. Set. Indulge!
JET: What are the origins of Love Cork Screw and how has the brand expanded since its launch in December 2013?
Chrishon Lampley: I’m in about 16 Mariano’s [stores] now and I’m in two Whole Foods locations – Schaumburg and River Forest in Illinois. I also just introduced my 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon. I’ve always wanted to hit all five senses. So, for people who appreciate a good cigar, I decided to come out with a great cigar. My cigar is Dominican and both are Churchill. These are for serious connoisseurs. I decided to name them after my father: Lampley by Love Cork Screw. They’ve been doing well. I’m keeping them very private. I don’t want to be in the mass market yet – that takes time.
There are people who don’t drink or smoke cigars, so I have something for them as well. My cigars and candles launched at the same time and some of the candles go well with the cigars. I have a smoke and odor eater candle that eliminates the cigar scent. I also have other wine-scented candles. They’re 100 percent soy and wood wicker, so they’re environmentally safe. They burn for 172 hours.
JET: What is your career background?
Chrishon Lampley: I’ve been in sales for 20 years. I went to school for sales, marketing, fashion merchandising and business. In addition to owning a bar and working in distribution in sales, in the wine industry. So I’ve been in all aspects of sales and marketing.
JET: How long did you have the vision before it came to fruition?
Chrishon Lampley: You know, the vision just kind of came to me. It’s almost like the vision found me. I’ve always been a people person and I’ve always loved food and wine and the conversation that comes with it and when 3Peas [wine and art lounge] started, I wasn’t from Chicago and taking part in such an amazing establishment and dream, it just birthed a lot of my fans and friends and the lovers of Love Cork Screw right now!
JET: How did you fund your vision?
Chrishon Lampley: I’m self-funded. I’ve definitely done a lot of my business through relationships and people I’ve dealt with in business for years. So it’s more of a trust than anything. I definitely recommend that people research and see how much everything is because you really don’t know until you get in. But always protect yourself, legally. Seek lawyers and financial advisors.
JET: What are your top three advice tips to new entrepreneurs?
Chrishon Lampley: (1) Everything cost more than it does. Always know there are going to be certain situations that come along and things that don’t go right. So always have a reserve for contingency. Know that nothing is exactly what it seems. (2) You can’t take everyone’s advice. You have to trust yourself and if it’s something you’re passionate about and it’s your dream, go for it! But be an expert at what you do. Let it be something that comes natural to you. You have to trust your ability and what you’re good at and follow that mind. Don’t try to jump on everybody else’s bandwagon. (3) Keep Going! I’ve always said that. I totally believe in that old adage of success – stopping before success hits. A lot of people give up. So just don’t stop.
JET: What has entrepreneurship taught you about business and self?
Chrishon Lampley: When something is your passion, nobody else can be in it like you are. So you have to manage your expectations about the people who are around you that are helping you. Also, if you have the right team and people supporting you, it is amazing! But always know that you’re going to be more passionate about it than anything – your hands are going to be in it way more than anyone else.
In business, I learned social media is a beast! Love Cork Screw wouldn’t be what it is right now if it wasn’t for social media. I come from a generation where I was not big on social media, until I got into this type of industry. So learn and know the power and workings of social media. Also, take the good with the bad. That one “yes” can take you to a whole other level. Don’t take rejection personal…ever!
JET: How would you like to see Love Cork Screw evolve?
Chrishon Lampley: I’m looking to go national. That is my biggest thing right now. That is not easy and I need help! Right now, I’m only distributed in the state of Illinois. So, I’m looking for a national distribution deal.
JET: How can readers find/support your product?
Chrishon Lampley: Social Media – @LoveCorkScrew. Website www. lovecorkscrew.com and share! Just go buy a bottle. One bottle goes a long way!