Business

Kacy's Chateau stems from a passion for wine

Nominee #16

Sunday, June 23, 2013    

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KACY'S Chateau is a niche within a niche.

The micro-distributor operates in a small segment of the wine market, which in itself is small yet growing.

The business started last year, when wine fanatic, Kacy Walcott, realised she could make money from her passion for the fermented drink.

So, starting with a case of wine, she invited 10 friends over to her home, told them that she was starting a business and was seeking their feedback.

Her mission, she says, was to convert persons in her age group — 21 to 30 years of age — who mostly view wine drinking as upscale, into wine drinkers themselves.

To start she sold the wines, bottle by bottle, using the sale of one case to purchase another. But she also does gift baskets and hosts wine-related events, either to help other distributors promote their wine brands or to generate revenue from admissions.

"I was working full-time for an alarm company — 12 hours a day — so I was doing it on the side," said Walcott. Soon she realised that if she wanted to market it work, she had to pour more of her time into the business, and not treat it like a hobby.

"So I resigned from my full-time job last November and that was when I started to push it — going to more wine-related events, meeting persons -- which is when the business really started," she said.

Walcott now has two locations in Southdale Plaza, where her gift baskets are available for purchase, while she uses social media marketing and networking at events to make her products and services known.

The businesswoman actually has to focus more on the baskets rather than the distribution of wine, as much larger distributors set up their own stores, getting closer to the retail space with established networks and clientele, and the fermented drink become more readily available with wider selections in supermarkets and convenience stores.

"I am doing around 30 baskets a month on average, and get higher amounts of orders around special occasions," she said. "Like Mother's Day was a high point for the business."

Baskets come with items that compliment the wine. For instance, for an older person, they may include crackers and cheese, or for a younger person, spa items, while corporate baskets would have products made by those companies packed in with the bottle.

Her knowledge of wines also gives her the ability to make recommendations to persons, especially those not familiar with the fermented drink, based on other things that they like. This factors neatly in her hosting services, which is also a key part of the business.

The owner of Kacy's Chateau aims to set up her own store and is looking to establish her business further in at least three main markets -- Kingston, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. Walcott has 15 locations where her baskets can be purchased in mind.

"I want to have a location for myself as a base, where persons can come and buy wines and gift baskets and where I can host my own events," she said.

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