Success Strategies of Leah Caplanis
On Episode 34 of The No Limits Selling Podcast, we have Leah Caplanis, CEO at Social Sparkling Wine. Diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer at 26, Leah Caplanis chose to heal holistically. When she couldn’t find an alcoholic drink that aligned with her new diet and lifestyle, she decided to create it with the help of expert brewmaster Ray Klimovitz – a 50-year veteran who co-founded Izze Sparkling Soda – and SOCIAL was born!
- Survey the marketplace before you pull the trigger
- Make your suppliers and customers your team members
- When things get too tough we dance it out. It changes the mood instantly.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: This podcast is sponsored by No Limits Selling. It is a fun, fast-paced podcast that delivers hard-fought business advice that you can implement today to improve your sales and performance]
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The podcast features Leah Caplanis, the founder of Social Sparkling Wine, a company that produces a healthier alternative to traditional alcoholic beverages. The conversation revolves around some team-building strategies that gave her success.
Starting the Company
Leah started her company four years ago, driven by her personal need for an alcoholic beverage that fit her healthy lifestyle. After being diagnosed with thyroid cancer at 26, Leah embarked on a holistic healing journey that involved a significant lifestyle upgrade, including a two-year period without alcohol. She missed the social aspect of drinking but was dissatisfied with the available options due to their high calorie content, artificial ingredients, and the hangovers they induced. This led her to conceive the idea of a low-alcohol product that tasted like sparkling wine, was low in calories, organic, gluten-free, and sulfite-free.
Under the banner of team-building strategies, Leah Caplanis initiated her venture with a compact team of four, including herself. Displaying a strategic expansion, the team grew to seven within a mere six months. Demonstrating her unwavering commitment, Leah resigned from her existing job only half a year into the project, a bold move considering the product samples were yet to be finalized and the brand name was still undecided. After dedicating a year to full-time work and a total of a year and a half into the venture, Leah and her team triumphantly prepared their product for sale.
Gaining the First Customers
Leah's strategy for gaining her first customers involved making the product as tangible as possible, as early as possible. She created graphic designs of the brand and the cans they were going to produce, even before they had printed cans or did the production run. She was able to show potential customers, like Mariano's and Whole Foods in Chicago, what the products would look like and provide samples, even if they were in unmarked plastic bottles. This strategy helped bring the product to life for potential customers.
One of the significant mistakes Leah made was in hiring. She hired someone who wasn't a great fit for the company, which taught her the importance of thorough reference checks when hiring. She now ensures that she follows up on all references, and if they don't come back glowing, she doesn't move forward with the hire.
In conclusion, Leah Caplanis' entrepreneurial journey with Social Sparkling Wine is a compelling narrative of resilience, innovation, and strategic planning. Her personal health challenges led her to identify a gap in the market for healthier alcoholic beverages, which she filled with her low-alcohol, low-calorie, organic, gluten-free, and sulfite-free sparkling wine.
The growth of her company was fueled by a dedicated team, strategic use of interns, and a proactive approach to customer acquisition. Despite facing challenges, particularly in hiring, Leah's ability to learn from her mistakes and adapt her strategies has been instrumental in her success. Her story serves as an inspiring example of how personal passion, coupled with a clear vision and effective planning, can drive entrepreneurial success.
Questions & Answers
Who is Leah Caplanis?
Leah Caplanis is the founder of Social Sparkling Wine, a company that offers a healthier alternative to traditional alcoholic beverages. Her personal journey of overcoming thyroid cancer and adopting a healthier lifestyle inspired her to create a product that could be enjoyed without compromising on health.
What is Social Sparkling Wine?
Social Sparkling Wine is a unique beverage company that produces a low-alcohol product that tastes like sparkling wine. The product is organic, gluten-free, sulfite-free, and low in calories, making it a healthier choice for those who enjoy a social drink but are conscious about their health and wellness.
How did Leah Caplanis start Social Sparkling Wine?
Leah started Social Sparkling Wine four years ago, driven by her personal need for a healthier alcoholic beverage. She started with a team of four and expanded to seven within six months. It took about a year and a half of full-time work before they had a product ready for sale.
What strategies did Leah use to gain her first customers?
Leah's strategy for gaining her first customers involved making the product as tangible as possible, as early as possible. She created graphic designs of the brand and the cans they were going to produce, even before they had printed cans or did the production run. This strategy helped bring the product to life for potential customers.
What lessons did Leah learn from her mistakes in building Social Sparkling Wine?
One of the significant lessons Leah learned was the importance of thorough reference checks when hiring. She made a mistake in hiring someone who wasn't a great fit for the company, which taught her to follow up on all references and only move forward with a hire if the references come back glowing.
What role did interns play in building Social Sparkling Wine?
Interns played a significant role in building the company's infrastructure. Leah recruited a group of 17 interns who worked 10 hours a week, helping to build the company's infrastructure. Over time, they've had over 200 interns, three of whom they've hired full-time.
What makes Social Sparkling Wine a successful business?
Social Sparkling Wine's success can be attributed to Leah's clear vision, strategic planning, and effective team building. Her passion for providing a healthier alternative to traditional alcoholic beverages, coupled with her perseverance and ability to learn from mistakes, has driven the company's growth and success.
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