Next up in our 10 Year Anniversary Founder's Stories Series is Brandon Hall, ONEHOPE's Chief Brand Officer. Here are Brandon's reflections on building a brand over the last ten years.
Tell us a story from the early days of ONEHOPE that highlights the challenges of entrepreneurship and disrupting the wine industry:
One of the first things we learned in this business is that a couple cases of donated wine could buy your way into any event. Events need wine (a lot of it) and we had it. So, we found ourselves donating wine to events all over California during that first year or two and spent our weekends at these events telling people our story, what I like to call "grassroots marketing." Then we hear about this Super Bowl party at the Playboy Mansion. Growing up in Southern California in the 90’s, all you would hear about were these epic parties at the Mansion and that house might as well have been the sacred temple. So naturally we contacted them and offered to donate wine but they didn’t need any. We offered to donate an auction item in exchange for tickets... nope that didn’t work either. So then we just decided to show up at the front gate, each carrying a couple cases of wine, and the darnedest thing happened….. they just let us walk right in! We handed the wine to the bartender, grabbed a drink, called my Dad and said with a giant cheeseball smile "you’ll never guess where I am.” He was so proud.
Tell us about the moment you knew your young company was going to be successful:
This is funny question, because I think we were the most confident during the first couple months of the business. We were so naive and confident that we had no idea what we were getting into. Early on, an advisor told us it was going to be a marathon and we all just laughed. But, we were quickly humbled and realized that were just decided to jump head first into arguably one of the most competitive industries around, with very little cash and one big idea. After those first couple months I always stayed as positive as possible no matter what curveball was thrown our way, but there is one special moment that stands out. That first time I strolled through our vineyard that we secured in Napa Valley 3 years ago. I stood on the middle of the vines, saw the Rob Mondavi Winery tower next door and the Cakebread Winery directly across the street, then just took a deep breath of Napa air and said, “Wow, we did it."
Tell us the cause you are most passionate about and why:
This is always a tough question. Throughout the years we've had the honor to get to work with so many amazing non-profits and be exposed to stories from all over the world. But, I have to say that I lean towards the our veterans. My brother is an Army veteran, my grandfather served in the Army, and I have some very close friends that are combat veterans over the past 15 years. I’ve had a chance to hear many of their stories and see first hand what our veterans go through when they return from battle. It breaks my heart and I’m so thankful for organizations like Team Rubicon and the many others out there that are working tirelessly to help our heroes as they try to settle back into a normal life.