I recently finished reading the book about the The Widow Clicquot the Grand Madame of the Champagne House. I ‘m sure you’ve seen the bright orange brand on your Instagram feed or if you like to dabble in Champagne like me, you might’ve had a sip or two of it.
Her story is incredible and inspiring as a female entrepreneur growing up in the days of war and Napoleon, it’s amazing the feats she went through to become the recognizable brand we know as The Veuve Clicquot Ponsadin today.
Veuve Clicquot took a couple big risks in her business over the years, one worked for her and the other did not. It inspired me to write about taking risks in your business. Not all risks work out and that’s why it’s called a risk, but sometimes the payoff is oh so sweet and can set you and your business apart.
Risks Gone Wrong
In her first big risk as a business owner, not to mention the many risks she took to even become a female entrepreneur at a time when only widows were allowed to own businesses, she was attempting to get her Champagne to Great Britain before the ports closed. She got her wine to Amsterdam and unfortunately the borders closed before she could get it through. She ended up paying exorbitant amounts for holding fees in the shipping docks because she couldn’t get the wine further and she wasn’t sure if it would survive the way back. This was a huge loss because by the time she was able to send someone to check on the wine it had turned. She lost millions of dollars worth of wine. This is obviously crushing to a business now a days let alone in the 1800s.
At the end of another war years later, she took the same risk. I thought this was incredibly bold. I appreciate her courage to not give up and to try again. This time she risked her vintage from 1810 which was an exceptional year, so she was really going all in! She illegally shipped her champagne through the closed borders to Russia. She wanted to be the first one to have her wine there at the end of the war. Sending the wine on a sketchy boat ride, smuggling the champagne into Russia was extreme, but this time it worked out for her. The wine arrived safely and she was the first there with her delicious vintage just in time to celebrate the end of the war. This made her a recognizable brand in Russia and amongst royals. This was a huge risk and reward.
Go Big + Persist
I’m not suggesting breaking the law or going so all in, but I do feel that being persistent when things don’t work the first time can be rewarding. There can be a huge benefit to taking risk in your business whether it’s investing in yourself through coaching and courses, or in your business through advertising or time with clients. I hope this reminds you to take risks in your business so that you have some victories to celebrate with perhaps a little Veuve Clicquot Champagne!
Wondering if your little or big risk worth taking?