We were recently interviewed on Thrive Global, by Adam Mendler.

Adam: Thanks again for taking the time to share your story and your advice. First things first, though, I am sure readers would love to learn more about you. What is something about you that would surprise people?

Michael: Out of high school, I applied to be a fighter pilot at the US Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, but was washed out because of a history of migraine headaches. They thought at the time that I might have a mental problem. They didn’t want me in the cockpit of a multi-million dollar aircraft. Later, it was proven that migraines are not a mental issue but I may have had a mental problem after all when I chose to become an entrepreneur!

Bonnie: It’s my foot on the famous Barefoot wine label! We were looking for a footprint with a high arch and I realize I had one just like that right on the end of my leg! So I sent Michael to the store for the biggest ink pad he could find and put my foot in it and stepped onto a piece of artist paper, and that’s how my foot got on the largest wine label in the world!

Adam: How did you get here? What experiences, failures, setbacks or challenges have been most instrumental to your growth?

Michael: From the time I was a kid, I had to be pretty much self-reliant and creative. I had to stick to it and believe that I would discover the solutions.  I built my own coaster, built my own toys, built my own fort, and had my own paper route. I saved up for years to buy a bike. But what was most  instrumental in getting me here was, in a word, “persistence!”

To read the complete interview, please visit Thrive Global




Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

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.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.