The Barefoot Spirit succeeds on several levels.
Those in or around the wine business will enjoy some of the inside scoop on how a young couple naively entered their industry, made predictable mistakes and yet survived. And eventually prospered. Actually, though the product was wine, their journey might serve as a blueprint smart people with boundless energy and dogged persistence could apply to any business. There’s also a “feel good” element to the Barefoot story. Houlihan and Harvey found ways to “do well by doing good.” when they applied their social consciousness in helping causes they thought worthy—and did it in ways that helped build their brand.
When a winemaker friend was owed money by a bankrupt Sonoma County winery in 1985, the couple came up with a novel way to make him whole. They convinced the winery, which was cash poor, but did have a couple of unrealized assets—unbottled wine in tanks and a functional bottling line—to resolve their debt in wine and bottling services. They would help their friend out by selling the wine. After all, it was good wine. How difficult could it be?
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Who We Are
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.
Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.
They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.
Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.
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