For this month's #JoieMuseSeries we had the pleasure of connecting with Robin and Andrea McBride, founders of McBride Sisters Collection, the largest Black-owned and women-owned wine company in the U.S. Raised a world apart, the sisters came together to shake up the wine industry and also pay it forward through their non-profit organization, the SHE CAN Professional Development Fund. We met up with the sisters to discuss starting an impressive family business, fashion and the importance of female entrepreneurship. Cheers!
On your career...
YOU TWO HAVE A PRETTY REMARKABLE "MEET-CUTE" - WOULD YOU MIND SHARING A BIT OF THAT WITH US AND HOW IT LED YOU TO CREATE A FAMILY BUSINESS?
Andrea: In 2005, we found ourselves together in California, fueled by a shared passion for all things wine, wine-making and a desire to shake up the industry with a blend of old-world elegance and new-world finesse. It was then that the idea for the McBride Sisters Collection was born.
Robin: Our path to winemaking and our family business definitely feels like destiny. We were raised across the world from each other in two of the world's most iconic wine-growing regions, Monterey, California and Marlborough, New Zealand. That's when the seeds were planted.
WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING THING YOU HAVE LEARNED FROM OWNING / OPERATING A WINE COMPANY TOGETHER?
Andrea: Sometimes you just have to FITFO (aka "figure it the f*ck out). We didn't come from the wine industry and had never owned our own company, so we didn't have a playbook (or a checkbook) in the early days.
Robin: I'm really not sure I could have done this with anyone but my sister. We've learned so much, but perhaps most importantly, that we can do things 100% our way and be successful.
WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING AND MOST CHALLENGING PART OF OWNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
Andrea: One of the most challenging aspects of our business can be the industry we're in. It does not always understand or represent the customer, and folks have gotten very comfortable with the status quo. However, the rewarding part is being consistently inspired by the magic and resilience of our community.
Robin: One challenging aspect is the assumptions made about Black Americans and women in the wine industry. Too often it is assumed that they do not take wine seriously enough or do not have the same capabilities as others to have a notable palate. What's most rewarding is opening doors for others to walk through that were closed pretty tightly when we started.
WILL YOU TELL US ABOUT THE SHE CAN FUND, AND HOW THAT CAME TO BE?
Robin: Our SHE CAN Fund has always channeled the strength of our Mom & Mum into helping other women entrepreneurs and business professionals. We originally started the Fund back in 2019 to bring financial and programmatic support to small, women-owned businesses. In 2020, we switched it up and pivoted to support those who have been hit hardest by the effects of the pandemic: Small Black-and-women-owned businesses. #SHECANThrive2020 raised more than $300k for these businesses to help them thrive during these unprecedented times, while also helping to bridge the gender and race gap. The fund will help businesses reopen, and make the necessary strategic adjustments to thrive in a post-quarantine world.
ANY ADVICE FOR OTHERS LOOKING TO FOLLOW THEIR HEART AND START THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
Andrea: Stay Ready! Those who are resilient during seemingly impossible times will have their opportunity and emerge stronger.
Robin: First tip from me is to seek mentorship. Having a guiding force (or voice) to lean on and look to for advice can prove pivotal when building a business, especially in the early days.
MCBRIDE SISTERS PRODUCES A WIDE VARIETY OF WINE. DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE?
Andrea: Well, it would be hard to pick just one. For me, it's the McBride Sisters Collection Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and the SHECAN Coastal Berry Spritzer. Plus the Black Girl Magic Rose now that it's starting to warm up.
Robin: Lately, it's our new Black Girl Magic Zinfandel, which you can only find online. And our Black Girl Magic Sparkling Brut.
WHAT IS YOUR STYLE MANTRA?
Andrea: Well, our business motto is Break the Rules (drink the wine) and in many ways, that's my style mantra as well. When it comes to wine, we think women should drink what they like, and what makes them happy. The same goes for fashion.
Robin: I like to match the occasion and my mood so things can change a lot from day to day.
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR WARDROBE FEELING FRESH, ESPECIALLY IN THESE TIMES OF QUARANTINE?
Andrea: Great shoes always help change the game, and the occasional steal from your sister's closet.
Robin: Well, we've all been stuck at home for so long that my old wardrobe feels brand new. I've got dresses that are itching to get outside and play.