We had the good fortune of connecting with Tim Barnes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tim, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My most recent venture, The Wine Nest, aims to take advantage of the most wide spread and most immediate adoption of technology that the world has ever experienced. Through COVID, hundreds of millions of people have been forced to not only try video conferencing but accept it as a the “new normal”. We see this as an opportunity to rapidly reshape the way two industries generate revenue, build brand awareness and loyalty and engage their customers. Our B2B platform delivers virtual event solutions for wineries (with a focus on small-to-medium sized producers) and non-profit organizations. Behind all of my entrepreneurial ventures, supporting the community and local businesses is at the forefront of the business strategy!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The path to The Wine Nest required a bit of a strong stomach as it was born out of the COVID-driven demise of my previous company. That business offered high-end international wine and food travel and tour solutions which provided me with unique insights into a multitude of different industries. Unfortunately, the pandemic brought that business to a screeching halt and I was forced to close down operations mid-Summer. However, this “forced time off” allowed me to take a step back and analyze the lasting impact that COVID-19 would have on different industries and ultimately, on consumer behavior. Serving the community and the small-business ecosystem has always been a passion of mine so I began searching for businesses that are typically under-staffed, under-resourced and typically on the slower side when it comes to innovating and adopting new technologies. While they might seem unrelated, small/midsize wineries and non-profit organizations have a ton of common challenges that we aim to solve! These key challenges include: finding and retaining new clients/donors, developing word-of-mouth referrals, expanding brand awareness outside their local geography, The Wine Nest is making a bet that in a post-COVID world, virtual experiences and virtual events should not replace, but rather supplement, the efforts that wineries and non-profits make to address the challenges listed above. Our platform connects our clients with a network of passionate, philanthropic wine-enthusiasts and we do this through low-cost, technology driven virtual events! In terms of lessons learned, having compassion for your clients is a very powerful motivator and can provide the energy and tenacity it takes to build a disruptive business. Taking the time to deeply understand their challenges will help guide you in creating a business model that is meant to thrive and make a lasting impact.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh man, coming from the travel/tour industry I could fill out 100 itineraries with my favorite local places! The first stop after I picked them up from the airport would be Point Loma Seafood for one of their famous sandwiches. After that, we would make the lazy coastal drive from Mission Beach to Cardiff were we would take my Siberian Husky to his favorite dog park on D Street. Burritos would be ordered from Juanita’s and we would enjoy them from the J Street Lookout Point above Swami’s at sunset. Days 2-4 would be a trip south of the border for a Foodie Surf Adventure! Food truck parks in Tijuana, great waves just south of Rosarito and a night’s stay at the class La Fonda Hotel. Of course, we would make our way up into the burgeoning wine country Valle de Guadalupe for some fantastic, hand-crafted wines and a couple gourmet meals from the incredibly talented chefs in the region. Back in San Diego, we would work off our borderline gluttony with a rigorous bike ride up to Mount Soledad for the spectacular views of La Jolla followed by an easy downhill ride to El Pescador for the freshest fish in town. A ride up the hill at Scripps to the Torrey Pines Glider Port would be next and then we would hit a bucket of balls at Torrey Pines Golf Course. Of course, we would reward ourselves with a Drugstore Burger at The Lodge to cap off the day!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
A good friend and mentor Erik Caso deserves a huge shoutout for the success of The Wine Nest. A local in North County and a successful tech entrepreneur, he has been an invaluable sounding board as the platform was designed and launched. Thanks, Erik!