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Andre Eikmeier

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Profile

Andre Eikmeier is the ex-actor turned entrepreneur behind wine retail site Vinomofo. Eikmeier began his career as a child actor, appearing at 9-years-old on the Australian drama A Country Practice. Australian audiences know him best from his much later role on drama series Pacific Drive, as well as his appearance as a centaur in BeastMaster. In 1990, he starred alongside Kylie Minogue in a Coca-Cola ad, her first appearance in a commercial. Meanwhile, Eikmeier worked with his father, doing sales and marketing for their raw fragrance business. He also completed half an economics and accounting degree from Macquarie University, was lead singer in cover band called the One Hit Wonders, and started a theater production company that had to paid off its debts by becoming an event management company.

Eventually, however, things for Eikmeier started to find some relative stability. He got married, had a child, and started his own new media production company, The Vision Gallery. Following his love of wine, he gradually started working as a new media consultant for wineries in the Hunter Valley, evolving his business into a wine marketing consultancy. In 2006, he started a consumer wine review website, “redcellar.com.” Meanwhile, his brother-in-law, Justin Dry, inspired by the communication he’d done over the then-novel Facebook while travelling South America, was brainstorming ways to create a “Facebook for wine.” At Christmas dinner that year, the two wine lovers started discussing their projects, and realized the sites might be highly compatible.

That same night, the partners christened their new endeavor, Qwoff, and registered domain names all over the world. Pooling their savings, they started working on the site out of Eikmeier’s garage, contracting a developer to help build the Qwoff website. Qwoff.com launched in July 2007. Within the first year, it had amassed 5000 members.

Still based in Eikmeier’s garage, the partners set to growing Qwoff, starting an online wine store, Qwoff Cellars, that sold members small amounts of select wine. They also built a wine club for Next Generation Health Clubs, with 40,000 members nationally participating in regular tastings held at the venues. In June 2009, they produced “Road to Vino,” driving around Australia seeking out wine and wine-related stories. Seeing how well the show was received, Wine Australia eventually came on as a sponsor. “The Qwoff Boys” began to be increasingly known in wine circles, and in September 2010 were invited to participate and correspond from Australia’s most prestigious wine event, the Landmark Australia Tutorial. Their “Semillion Tweet Up” reached an audience of over a million from all over the globe, making it one of the most successful events of its kind in the world. Later that year, they launched the Great Wine Adventure, a “check-in” platform featuring over 200 wineries explored by 10,000 adventurers.

In 2011, “The Qwoff Boys” decided to take their enterprise in a new direction, moving towards offering their beloved beverage to the public in a retail space. Joined by Leigh Morgan, Eikmeier and Dry launched Vinomofo, a daily deals wine site with a similar format to group buying site Groupon. They soon scaled up from their one-wine-per-day plan to offer a curated selection of bottles, an evolution that served to encourage wine companies to sell to them despite the pressure from major chains Coles and Woolworths. In 2012, they sold a percentage of the company to the Catch of the Day group, gaining access to two million consumers through the daily deals business. They bought back the shares in 2013.

By 2014, Vinomofo had grown to a team of 35 and had sold 2.5 million bottles of wine to over 250,000 customers. The company, which by this time had a turnover of $30 million, was named Best Startup by Startup Smart in 2014, adding to a trophy case which included Deloitte’s 2013 award for Fastest Growing Tech Company in Australia.

Companies and Investments

Vinomofo (Co-founder, Joint CEO), Qwoff (Co-founder, Joint CEO), The Vision Gallery (Founder)

Lessons Learned

Your marketing strategy should be: get your product and your customer experience right, so that people will tell their friends about you.

Vision, mission and values come first. To get buy-in, you need people (team, customers, suppliers) on board with this. Where you're headed, why and what you stand for - this is what people truly engage with, not what you do so much.

Have fun. Don't measure your life in terms of distance from your goals or plans. Your life is the present. Enjoy it.

(Andre Eikmeier)


Inspiring Quotes

Andre Eikmeier's Quotes

Be Human.

Andre Eikmeier

Influential Books

Marcus Buckingham - First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently

Mentors

Gary Vaynerchuk, Seth Godin, Paul Edginton

References


Technical

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