We had the good fortune of connecting with Mike Melancon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mike, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I hosted several wine tastings at work, Two of them, were at TOMS Shoes, and then I continued them at EnCore Interiors. These were fun, team-building events, for my co-workers. In addition to bringing the wine, I would also prepare food, which was paired with the wines, for that particular theme.
By gaining experience, hosting these tastings, I got the idea for setting up a business. My first thought was to host in-person tastings and use the online store to sell to the folks in attendance.
What should our readers know about your business?
What sets Wine Splurge apart from others, is how I treat our customers; each sale, is a relationship, not a transaction. I’m most excited about making new friends with wineries and importers. Humbly, I can’t say that I’ve overcome all of our challenges; almost three years after starting to sell wine, I still struggle to keep the business going. In trying to get our name out, I tried to advertise in different ways, but I made several mistakes. I want people to know that we are a small business, with a mission to help small wineries and to promote female-run wineries and female winemakers. By purchasing our wine, you would be helping small wineries. I’m also happy to help educate people about wine, or to make a selection.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We would visit the big museums in the greater LA area; Getty, LACMA & Norton Simon. We would need to visit the Griffith Observatory, Santa Monica Pier and the Hollywood Bowl, maybe eat lunch at Philippe’s, on Alameda, or maybe Canter’s Deli, on Fairfax, On one of the days, we would go to Catalina Island and have dinner at Steve’s Steakhouse. If we can’t get to Catalina, maybe we could at least see the West End of the island, from Palos Verdes Drive South. That afternoon, we could have a beer at Smog City, in Torrance. After we have criss-crossed the area, we would have to visit the wineries in Malibu Canyon.
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?
My first shoutout goes to former owners of EnCore Interiors. More important, than allowing me to start hosting the wine tastings, they taught me how to treat customers. The best advice I learned from them, is to not treat a sale, as a transaction; every sale is a relationship.
I also wanted to give Blake Mycoskie, from TOMS Shoes, a shoutout. He is the most widely known Social-Entrepreneur and his example, instilled in me, a desire to use the company to help other people. Shortly after I started selling wine, I created the mission to help small wineries, and to promote female-run wineries and female winemakers.