Recommended Viewing: Jon Rimmerman from Garagiste at Small and Special

Friday, July 9, 2010

Garagiste is a Seattle-based retailer with a unique business model.  Proprietor Jon Rimmerman travels the world finding unique wines and then offers them for purchase through beautifully worded stories in daily E-mails.  I've been receiving his E-mails since February of this year and one in particular this past week really impressed me.  The guy is a fantastic writer.

The video embedded below is from last year's Small and Special conference, but I just made time to watch it today.  Here are some points that jumped out at me:

  • He started the business with just $500 after building up relationships in the organic food trade.
  • They do somewhere south of $30 million in annual sales and they don't have an e-commerce system.  You just reply to their E-mail offers and tell them how many bottles you want.  The famous Niki responds and, assuming they have your credit card on file, your order is processed.
  • They've got almost 100,000 people on their E-mail list, many of whom subscribe just for the writing.
  • He recognized that consumers like connecting directly with people and immediacy long before Twitter existed.  They're on Twitter now (@Garagiste_Wine) but their business still hinges primarily around connecting personally from proprietor to consumer through Jon's E-mails.
Unfortunately, they can't ship to Massachusetts.

At minimum, your call to action today is to sign up for their E-mail list.  And when you can set aside some time, watch the video.  I think you'll enjoy getting to know Jon a little better and you'll benefit from the ideas he shares whether you're a wine lover, a small business owner, a blogger, or all three.

Thanks to @joshiemac for the referral in the comments section of this piece from last year on the top wine deals of 2010.  Like he says- the action is in the E-mails not on their website.

If you like the Garagiste model where you respond to email offers and build towards a case over time check out this New York retailer. Totally different style, but similarly outstanding deals.

Jon Rimmerman - Garagiste - Small and Special 2009 from Small and Special on Vimeo.


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