Last Updated on August 18, 2022 by rise25
Byron Hoffman is the Co-CEO and Chief Creative Officer at Offset Partners, a wine commerce, technology, and brand design company. Prior to Offset, he was the Founder and Creative Director at Hoffman & Co.
Julia Weinberg is the VP of Commerce Strategy at Offset, the leading choice for allocated wineries and high-touch retailers. The company also offers brand packaging and website design. Before Offset, Julia was the Creative Developer and Founding Partner at Delectable.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Julia Weinberg and Byron Hoffman share their motivations for entering the wine industry
- How Offset Partners’ bespoke commerce program helps brands market and sell their wines
- Offset’s resource allocation strategy for brands
- How does Offset solve client demands and customization challenges?
- The importance of streamlining e-commerce operations for a cohesive brand story
- Advice for bootstrapped wineries to create a brand presence
- Common mistakes wineries make when developing their brand
In this episode with Julia Weinberg & Byron Hoffman
When creating their brand, many wineries rely on e-commerce platforms with limited capabilities, consequently inhibiting their full potential. So, how can you develop and hone your brand for maximum value?
One method for ensuring brand equity is to customize your wines for the consumer. To simplify this process, it’s important to allocate your products. This requires distributing, tracking, and managing your inventory across multiple sales channels to meet customer demands effectively. Offset Partners’ e-commerce software helps you create a bespoke brand strategy to cohesively integrate customization, distribution, product, and brand design to enhance your winery and establish consumer trust.
In today’s episode of Legends Behind the Craft, Drew Thomas Hendricks and Bianca Harmon welcome Julia Weinberg and Byron Hoffman of Offset Partners to discuss consolidating your operations for a customized brand experience. Together, they share how Offset’s commerce program helps brands market and sell their wines, Offset’s resource allocation strategy, and advice for bootstrapped wineries to generate a brand presence.
.Resources Mentioned in this episode
- Barrels Ahead
- Drew Thomas Hendricks on LinkedIn
- Bianca Harmon on LinkedIn
- Julia Weinberg on LinkedIn
- Byron Hoffman on LinkedIn
- Offset Partners
- Paul Mabray on Legends Behind the Craft
- Andrew Means on Legends Behind the Craft
- Ron Scharman on Legends Behind the Craft
- Frog’s Leap
- Jancis Robinson
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by Barrels Ahead.
Barrels Ahead is a wine and craft marketing agency that propels organic growth by using a powerful combination of content development, Search Engine Optimization, and paid search.
At Barrels Ahead, we know that your business is unique. That’s why we work with you to create a one-of-a-kind marketing strategy that highlights your authenticity, tells your story, and makes your business stand out from your competitors.
Our team at Barrels Ahead helps you leverage your knowledge so you can enjoy the results and revenue your business deserves.
So, what are you waiting for? Unlock your results today!
To learn more, visit barrelsahead.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a strategy call.
Welcome to the Legends Behind the Craft podcast where we feature top leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry with your host Drew Thomas Hendricks. Now let’s get started with the show.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 0:19
Drew Thomas Hendricks here I’m the host of the Legends Behind the Craft podcast where I talk with leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry. Past guests of Legends Behind the Craft include Ron Scharman Astra Digital Paul Mabray from Pix, and Andrew Means from Transom. Don’t listen these yet, be sure to check them out and subscribe. Today’s episode sponsored by Barrels Ahead. At Barrels Ahead we work with the implement a one of a kind marketing strategy, one that highlights your authenticity, tells your story and connects you with your ideal customers. In short, we help wineries and craft beverage producers unlock their story to unleash their revenue. Go to barrelsahead.com today to learn more. Today I also am on the show Bianca Harmon, who’s one of our direct to consumer marketing strategist. How’s it going, Bianca?
Bianca Harmon 1:02
Going good, Drew, thanks for having me. I am looking forward to talking to Byron and Julia today about Offset Partners and everything they have to offer.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 1:13
Yes, I’m super excited. Today we have Byron Hoffman and Julia Weinberg. Byron is the CO CEO and chief creative officer and Julia’s Offset’s, VP of commerce strategy. If you don’t know Offset’s, a wine, commerce technology and brand design company, based out in Napa and Sonoma, they have their own e-commerce platform. Offset commerce is the leading choice of allocated wineries and high touch retailers. They offer brand packaging and website design. And they’re in they have clients include frogs, leap rain, and Kermit Lynch. Welcome to the show. Byron and Julia.
Byron Hoffman 1:50
Thank you so much for having us. Looking forward to the conversation.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 1:53
Oh, I am still how’s it going today? Julia?
Julia Weinberg 1:56
Going well? Yeah, happy to be here.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 1:59
Oh, so we always, always start off kind of thing. How did you get into the industry and why wine, Julia,
Julia Weinberg 2:05
who I would say, you know, I grew up in the bay area in San Francisco. And as a teenager, I thought I wanted to be a chef. I ended up doing an internship at a restaurant in San Francisco that had a pretty legendary wine program and got introduced, you know, underage to some pretty great wines. And that planted a seed that wines come from a place fast forward many years later, and sort of just socially became friends with a group of winemakers here in Napa Valley that were really leading the charge folks, like, you know, Shona and the Messiah sins. A whole host of of great people a couple of years, Helen Keplinger. Anyway, so I got really interested in wine again, through them and worked harvest had really spent a lot of time professionally working in marketing and media of all sorts. And, you know, those pieces kind of came together. You know, gelled I’d say, through a chance run into someone who wanted to start a wine startup. And that one startup was delectable. So I helped start that company. And through that got to know a lot of people including Byron and Tyson, the co founders of Offset. And when, you know, delectable was acquired, I began working with them.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 3:35
I liked the organic, organic entry just kind of happened. Oh, yeah. Like that. How about you, Byron.
Byron Hoffman 3:41
So I am I’m based in San Francisco now, but actually, I was born and I grew up in Napa. So of course, I was surrounded by the wine industry as a child and teenager my, my grandfather was the winemaker at Christian brothers when it was still a winery, not a brandy brand. But he was retired by the time I was born, so actually grew up, you know, not experiencing him as this very, very serious winemaker, that a lot of responsibility which he was, you know, helped him make wine out of his garage and stomping grapes is, you know, beat up pickup truck, that type of thing. So, so wine wine was around me as as a kid. But But honestly, you know, like, like, a lot of kids that, you know, wherever you grew up, I took it all for for granted. And was very into art as a as a child, went off to school for graphic design, and then, you know, move to San Francisco directly after and, you know, really kind of settled into a small freelance design business. And yet some of my clients started to be wineries really, really, less having to do with with connections from Napa just just being in the Bay Area and just the Thai, you know, wine and in San Francisco and immediately started to really love it and it was a way at least at first for me to become kind of more familiar with the place But I, I grew up so I had this real personal connection to it. And it’s just kind of grown since that I’ve done it, I’ve always felt a responsibility to do it right. Because you know, in my in my hometown, like wine is just completely linked to the community as a whole. So it’s been a really rewarding space to grow into.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 5:21
It was just woven right into the fabric, I did not come from that background, we did not I wasn’t raised on line family, wound up in the industry after college, getting a degree in philosophy and add a Greek, I guess, I guess that’s the backdoor entry into the, into, into wine.
Julia Weinberg 5:38
Many people have come into wine through that same background.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 5:43
Either be a professor, or you make wine, or sell wine. So that leads me right into Offset Partners. Let’s talk about how Offset came to be.
Byron Hoffman 5:57
So it’s, it’s a long story. So I’ll tell you the simple version. So prior to Offset, I had a few different small design cities that I ran, one of them a partner. And the common link with all the studios I was a part of is like collaborated very, very closely with Tyson Cali, who’s my co CEO at Offset. So roughly 13 or so years ago, we we met and he was focusing on website design and development for the wine industry, I was focused on branding work, and also some website design for other industries plus wine. And we started to collaborate and just really clicked right away. Around the same time, he just became incredibly frustrated by, you know, building these these beautiful websites. But then, you know, the second that someone would click add to cart, they would enter into this completely broken experience. And this was 13 years ago. So those experiences were not up to par is the way to put it and put it nicely. So So you know, he, along with two partners decided to build their own e commerce platform that was known as 750 group at the time. And really, he shifted his energy into the platform, and my company at the time started to really do all of the design work that that he would do in the past. So really just over the years, like we just, you know, even though we were separate companies, we almost operated like we’re the same company. And there was there was one day where we did a co pitch to a client, I believe it was Joseph Phelps. And it went really well. But you know, three quarters of meaning and the client looked at us this is baffling way she’s like, Wait, why aren’t you the same company? And we, we did not have a good answer. So right, right after that meeting, we started serious discussions about, you know, to actually merging our company’s two together.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 7:59
Oh, interesting. I, I had a similar experience with one agency that I used to CO CO pitch to, and to the, to the, at the time, we were so intent on keeping our own separate agencies that we never did. We never did blend them. But I have to know just like phelps’s, like why are you both here? And not one? Yeah, I can definitely relate to that. So you guys, see you guys merged, or, and then offset came to be? Now let’s move next to offset commerce. So you he had he’d already done a commerce program? What unique challenge does offset commerce saw versus the other e-commerce systems out there?
Julia Weinberg 8:41
Well, you know, I don’t think there’s a singular unique challenge. Perhaps it’s actually a little bit more approach. And, you know, technology is typically built in a few different ways. It’s either, you know, very, like bespoke and not scalable. Or it’s in very scalable, but not necessarily all that modifiable, right. So if you want to build a large company, a large scalable company that might be acquired, yada, yada, you need to put some pretty hefty guardrails, on your features and functionality. And that can be problematic for wine. So, especially high end wine. And so I would say that one of the unique challenges that we try to address is finding that middle ground of where we can, you know, grow and be a sustainable company ourselves, and also be able to kind of have, you know, a community of clients that can all kind of, you know, raise, raise the tides there. So, you know, if you’ve only got one person and one person, one clients input, you’re only going to do so much we can, you know, kind of push forward heard and learn from our clients, they can learn from each other. Anyway. So what that means for us is that we really take into account the nuances of wine. And that’s the nuances from the brand perspective, as well as the nuances from, you know, the operations perspective. And, you know, how do you run your, your, your DTC sales, you know, what does your communication with your clients look like? What does your bandwidth as a team look like? And we want to be able to be really sensitive to that, and kind of accommodate as much as possible, or as much as makes sense. So I think that’s one of our key points of difference is that we really see ourselves as partners to our clients, as opposed to just being, you know, software providers.
Bianca Harmon 10:48
So you think that’s one of the big things that sets you apart from some of the other e-commerce sites? platforms out there? Yeah, I mean, it’s accessible to your partners, you’re more hands on, you’re, you know, I think that can be some of the things that kind of get lost is they get on with these e-commerce sites, and then they’ve lost their connection with them when they need something, or they need help or anything. It’s like, okay, thanks. Sign the contract. See you later.
Julia Weinberg 11:17
Exactly. And, you know, or, Hey, I’m a winery, say, and hey, I really want to be able to do this particular thing that’s sort of unique to us or unique to our type of winery. And it’s like, sorry, you can’t, and then there’s just no options. You know, we tend to take the approach instead of like, if we don’t have an immediate solution for someone’s problem. Yeah, or what are you trying to solve? And how can we get there? Through I’m trying to think of a good example. I mean, an example that we do have a solve for that some platforms don’t is being able to modify orders on mass after they’ve been placed. So you can make at a certain point with from a tech perspective, you have to decide when an order is unalterable, right, when is it fixed? For us, we choose the latest possible option, which is, it’s shipped. You can’t change that. You can do refunds if you need to. But you can’t change an address after it’s already out. For us.
Bianca Harmon 12:33
And that’s usually from legality standpoints, honestly, isn’t it when it comes to shipping alcohol?
Julia Weinberg 12:39
That you can’t change it afterwards? Yeah. Well, you just can’t change it if it’s out of your hands. Right, like redirecting addresses and all of that. Yeah, that sounds dicey. There are, you know, it’s pretty common with a lot of other platforms, that once an order is placed, you cannot change it, you cannot change the shipping method, you cannot change the billing, you cannot change the address. That works just fine. If you’re essentially doing, you know, direct to ship. But that doesn’t work. So great. If you’re doing an allocation that’s maybe not going to ship out for six months, you know, until, you know, there’s a shipping window. So that’s an example, I think of something that I haven’t been with the company long enough to know at what point that adjustment was made, but I’m sure that wasn’t in the original plans. It’s a little bit of a complication. But you know, it’s relevant to enough of our accounts that it really made sense to implement and to implement it well, and to make sure that we’re talking to our clients to find out on the broad scope, okay, we’re going to pursue this functionality change, let’s make sure it’s as comprehensive as it can be. So, hey, clients, what are all of the things that you might want to change? You know, do you want to change it in our system? Do you want to change it, you know, via on mass via, you know, download and re upload yet, you know, etc. So, that’s where we’re really in communication with our clients. And we, we like being involved with them, so that we can learn how to, you know, kind of ride that fine line of bringing them best e-commerce, you know, the e-commerce best practices, because this, the industry is pretty behind when it comes to technology in general. So how can we help push the industry forward? Yet also, you know, honor their operations and not kind of screw them up in terms of the, you know, hospitality that they provide to their clients to their customers?
Byron Hoffman 14:38
You know, sorry to interrupt Drew just to dig in for like a really big picture kind of response to your question is that we’re always so if you kind of go back into our history for many years, we’ve worked very closely with allocated wineries. Kosta Kosta Brown was one of the first and they’re, you know, they had very complex needs in terms of what they needed there. technology to do for them. So, you know, oftentimes we’ll partner with clients really more at the enterprise level. And we’ll, we’ll tailor our software to support their operations. And then, you know, of course, many years later, you know, our software is a fantastic fit for many different types of of allocated producers. So we’re always looking to partner with really smart producers and retailers that that in some ways are almost at the edges of the industry. Like maybe they’re the details of their sales models still could factor into how most wineries do things. But they run an extremely successful b2c businesses. We’d love we’d love to learn from them.
And what part of the allocation process does your does your e-commerce self, looking at all the wineries listening to this that may be trying to solve those challenges?
Julia Weinberg 15:53
Well, certainly the customer facing, you know, sorry, I’ve got I don’t know if my connection is bad. If I froze there for a second, but the the customer experience for allocations is really important to us. So making it really clear and easy. You know, what, when’s your allocated getting, you know, having magic links into your allocation, so you’re reducing friction there. And then as well, you know, making it really clear between, you know, if a winery has minimum required purchase on an allocation, if they do wish list, having all of that be really, really clear to the customer, I think is Byron alluded to our ability to customize isn’t just from the features and functionality, but also to really marry the design as well. So, you know, if someone wanted to have a more bespoke customer needs account page, that’s something that’s always viable for us to do, because we have the design resources as well in house. And then, you know, so moving all the way from that customer experience to that admin experience, you know, doing things like granting wishes can be a total pain for some wineries, it can get really, really complicated. So we have a variety of tools that can be used to do that, whether they’re individual on mass, there’s, you know, a lot of variation in how wineries like to do those things. So it’s more just kind of having those options for allocations. And then, you know, I’d say as well, one of the core things for allocation is, you know, outside of the customer experience, or the purchasing experience, is the fulfillment, typically allocations, you know, it’s going to be a delayed shipment, maybe it’s a held shipment. So having robust tools and flexibility around that is also a really important piece of the allocation puzzle.
Bianca Harmon 18:02
So are you offering shipping as well, or the customer is in charge of their own
Julia Weinberg 18:06
shipping charge of their own shipping? We have, you know, integrations, various degree, you know, different levels with with different pillars. Okay. But you know, and a lot of people also we have an integration with SIP compliant. So a lot of times make that the middle between us and a Fulfiller.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 18:25
That’s very good. Very good. I want to go back to the what Brian was Byron was talking about on the enterprise level, and being able to customize something. And also listening to customers feedback for building out the for evolving it. How do you overcome the challenge, like of all your enterprise levels, having them not become 20 bespoke e-commerce programs, and having them drift so far away from the the mother build? And then also, how do you manage all competing requests on the mother build?
Byron Hoffman 18:59
That is a very, very good question. One of the ways that we handle that is that we’re, we’re focused on a very specific and a portion of the wine market, we’re not going after scale, we’re not trying to kind of have encouraged everybody in the wine industry for a platform, if we were pursuing that model. It really would be at odds with supporting enterprise clients that have very high needs. So I think that and I’ll let Julia be to let him details here. But just on a, on a fundamental level, I think that it’s in our DNA as a company, we really came from a place of doing like very bespoke custom kind of brands, projects. And you know, so always looking for, you know, like running many different projects that are all focused on doing like what is right for each specific client versus just, you know, appetizing the work. So in many ways, like we’re just building upon that DNA that we’ve always had as the company and extending that into these very complex Tech. analogy builds Yes. Oh, sorry, Julia,
Julia Weinberg 20:05
I think that it might be important as well, to clarify what we mean when we say enterprise. So, you know, that can certainly mean the conglomerates in the big groups. And that’s not necessarily what we’re talking about, for us enterprise is, is really, you know, a client that’s going to want ongoing collaboration and customization from that poor build. So it could be an individual winery, it’s more about the type of relationship that we have with them, as opposed to the type of business that they are.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 20:41
And we don’t want to talk too much about other e-commerce ones. In the industry, I’m gonna give an example of like, two different sides on project management. On one side, yeah, Basecamp 37 signals, every, they’re just all about saying, No, you fit our model, or go away. On the other side, you have clickup, which seems you want it, we’ll add it. And every single week, we’re adding a new feature. And suddenly, you can do everything, somewhere, you got to fit right in the middle between those two, where do you see your e-commerce?
Julia Weinberg 21:13
It’s, I mean, it’s a, it’s a tricky one, I would say that we always want to learn from the like, from all of those requests pushing forward. So that we were continuing to, to move our core platform forward and be innovative, and, you know, encompassing, hey, I’m more on the tech side of things. So I’m more the person that pushes back for less customization on the whole or less sort of, you know, one off customization, but instead, Where can this fit into the core product, that’s always going to be my personal leaning Byron’s, you know, sort of coming from more of that design bespoke background is probably going to be a little bit more on the other end of the spectrum, we like having that tension within our company, it helps us make better decisions on the whole. And so, you know, it’s a little bit hard to say we’re, in general, you know, my preference is for people to work with our system, for at least a few releases or release cycles first, to really see what they need. You know, going back to at least what I was saying earlier about the industry being a little bit behind, oftentimes, you know, if someone’s coming to us from another platform, they’re most likely coming to us from one of the older platforms is typical, historically typical. And so that may mean that it’s a little bit of a sort of, from a tech perspective, like, older approach to
Bianca Harmon 22:45
talking like RMS, or, like, as far back as RMS or, like,
Julia Weinberg 22:53
like, I think been 65 is one that, you know, sort of, or wind direct, sometimes struggles at, because they’ve got such a robust system. So making changes and modernizing their platform is hard, you know. So it feels like, that feels like old tech to me in a way that feels like legacy tech, it’s, you know, been added on to and sort of Frankenstein ways as opposed to being like really cohesive system, things are just kind of packed in where they need to be. And it can do a ton. But it’s not necessarily the easiest to use from an admin perspective, like, you really have to know the system to know where things are. Yeah, I think I just kind of went off on a tangent there.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 23:44
It’s so easy to get into the I just geek out on this stuff, it’s almost
Bianca Harmon 23:48
like instead of, you know, some of these software systems, instead of going in and doing a whole revamp of their entire system and shutting it off, even maybe for a couple of days to do it, they just keep adding band aids. And it’s not. And then it just so the the problem or the like resolution actually never gets resolved. Because it’s always a little temporary, oh, let’s put a bandaid on this, you know, and then a bandaid on this, and then eventually got all of these little systems and band aids that you’ve tried to place and nothing is and you’re actually making it more complicated for fresh
Drew Thomas Hendricks 24:22
and that kind of loses perspective of the larger part of e-commerce, which is to complete the story. The story starts with someone finding the winery and finishes when someone makes the sale and starts to identify one on one with the brand. So as far as the way you’re building this system, and part of your chord Offset from what I see is I mean, you’re into the storytelling process. If we can take up from the maybe go up to figure out how the system and how the sale itself fits into the wine story. And then we can walk back into just kind of storytelling.
Byron Hoffman 24:53
Yeah, absolutely. So you know, as I alluded to, with just our origin story of my partner, Tyson Just being frustrated that he couldn’t really affect anything after someone clicked Add to Cart. Everything that we’re doing now, I mean is still related to that, like we are invested in carrying the brand story all the way through and looking for opportunities at every edit every every checkpoint. So, you know, because we have designed in house and we don’t exclusively use our own design units that other people outside of our company are able to use our platform. But but one of the many things that we really love about having these resources in house and it being just a core part of our company is that we’re pressurized to, to have every component of the e-commerce platform fit as seamlessly as possible with the storytelling with the design with the customer experience. You know, when clients are signing with us for that kind of holistic, offering, you know, we’re telling them that word, you know, from homepage to proceed, we’re going to make sure is perfectly considered all the all the way through, and we’re on the hook for that, you know, versus just saying, here’s, here’s our software, use it as you wish, and then then someone else is responsible for the quality of the experience, we, we love being able to carry the experience all the way through.
Julia Weinberg 26:14
I think that, you know, I often see it coming from, you know, I’ve been working with Offset for five or so years now, six years. And the, you know, in terms of those two sides of the business, I’ve always seen it as sort of like your Yin Yang, you know, there’s always that drop of the other in the other side. So all of our design is really mindful of the technology and the capabilities there. And all of our technology is really sensitive to design. And so, you know, it was really interesting, I was doing a demo recently for someone, and they wanted to look at what our most basic allocation page looks like, like if we do nothing, what does it look like to the customer. And I showed them an example of the what, you know, this is the stock, this is a, you know, sort of our boiler plate, and they were just so impressed. And you know, that, Oh, you know, colors and fonts carry through. And there’s a sense, you know, there’s an aesthetic sensibility there to, to us that feels like, you know, table stakes. But that’s not the case with a lot of other systems. You know, there’s just almost like, zero design, or aesthetic sensibility to some of those, you know, really important customer facing moments.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 27:32
I think you guys understand it, because there’s, there’s the story that the winery tells that they want to talk about their history and how great their vineyards are, and everything. But then there’s the story that the customer tells, which is their experience with the winery. One and I’ll just say I think one of the biggest mistakes that wineries make, is they forget about the customer story in detriment to their own story. So I think that’s kind of what you guys are doing with with this, like unified, elegant system where everything the design flows, and that you’re helping perpetuate the right story that the customer is going to tell.
Byron Hoffman 28:09
Yeah, couldn’t agree with that more. And I think that it’s one of the reasons that I think wineries struggle with it is because it’s difficult. Oftentimes, the technology or budgets just doesn’t, doesn’t support carrying things through in a in a seamless way. I mean, we’ve encountered, you know, so Julia mentioned, design and tech are really like the two sides of our company. And, you know, just just to give you an example, like oftentimes, the personality of a designer, and I’m generalizing here, versus the personality of the developer, like sometimes couldn’t be more different. You know, but but, you know, to create a great experience, they’re just completely dependent on each other. So, so we love bringing those things in house. And this is this is not, not a new idea, by any means. I mean, essentially every, you know, large technology startup in the world now, you know, values design and integrate it as a as a core part of just, you know, their, their their business. But But we found that it’s not something that you generally see in the wine industry, oftentimes that you do design marketing is handled by one company that technology is handled by another. And I think the part of the reason is that they’re, they’re hard to integrate. So we embrace that tension.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 29:26
It’s great. I was thinking, so as far as your tool winery, to a smaller winery, like we have a lot of a lot of our listeners are DIY wineries, there’s sub 4000 cases, they really aren’t in the position to hire a full agency to get a fully branded experience. For someone trying to bootstrap their own winery. What advice could you give them?
Byron Hoffman 29:53
Julia, I’ll pass it off to you.
Julia Weinberg 29:57
I mean, I I think one of the core things Just to like, be okay with where you’re at now. Meaning that if you’re a small winery, and you know, you’re not producing a ton of wine, you don’t have a ton of cash flow, you don’t need a giant, glossy website, you know, be where you are, and that’s okay, your customers will come along that journey with you. So, just, you know, I think, to me, that’s one of the biggest things that I see is, you know, especially here in Napa, there’s, you’re surrounded by so much kind of like wine glamour, and it can feel like you need to be that, and it’s like, well, just be yourself, as well. I’d say Don’t overcomplicate your, your commerce strategy. So that may mean simplifying it for your own bandwidth, you know, pay allocations actually really do a lot to help preserve your bandwidth versus shipping all the time, Fielding, you know, questions about, you know, just orders and all of that jazz. So that’s potentially, you know, something that would be good for a lot of smaller wineries, just from a logistic standpoint, and those things are all okay. It’s a little bit of a tricky one, to say, you know, I think that to me, it’s really being okay with where you’re at, and also not comparing yourself to people who are at a radically different place than you. So you know, get with your peers and find out what they’re doing, you know, and learn from each other.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 31:47
I think you hit the nail on the head there, be comfortable where you’re at, if you’re at one of my favorite wineries here in San Diego, East is Edwards, and they really operate off, they were one of the first in the remote a VA and they operate really out of a shack, and they excel being where they’re at, right across the way is a big winery that has all the bells and whistles. But the two, in my opinion, are just lockstep as far as inventing that region.
Byron Hoffman 32:13
You know, there’s another piece of it to embrace that, what, what you can do differently, because you’re small, you know, small producers are able to oftentimes have very close direct relationships with their customers, which can be a very difficult thing for larger producers to do. And that’s just one example. So I would say just a general guidance that we would also give is just think about what you can do at your size that that larger wind businesses can
Drew Thomas Hendricks 32:43
do great point figure in also not feeling a need, because I see a lot of them will embrace this new system, and this new platform is way beyond where they need to be right then it’s okay to sell off at the shop, because that’s where you’re at. And people expect that. Conversely, though, if you’ve got a huge multimillion dollar facility, there’s no infrastructure, you’re gonna start to wonder what’s going on.
Julia Weinberg 33:07
And I think, you know, at all sizes, but especially the small, you know, so you’re not in this sort of, like keeping up with the Joneses situation, it’s be really critical of your ROI, both from a, you know, quantitative and qualitative perspective. So, you know, personally, I see wineries of all sizes, doing things that they think is, you know, or they, they justify it big spend on certain things, thinking that it’s really going to return. And it’s like, now, just admit to yourself that you’re going to that event because like you like it, you know, because it’s fun. Yeah, you know, not because it’s actually going to yield a ton of new, you know, customers that are going to convert not all that jazz. So, you know, just being really cognizant of why you’re doing things. It’s really, you know, a lot of people are in this industry too, because, you know, there is a lot of fun and sociability to it and community to it. And that’s great. And that is actually a worthwhile thing to put value to as well.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 34:12
You’re also one of the premier brand shops. So I talked about your branding, and what advice would you have for one, what’s the mistake they see a lot of wineries making with their brands? And to what advice would you have a new winery as they’re starting to first develop their brand?
Byron Hoffman 34:27
Good questions. He knows to answer to what’s the common mistake. And I’ll speak more specifically, let’s say larger wineries change for changes sake, you know, new people coming into, let’s say a legacy brand or that has existed for a long, long time and, you know, they made personally dislike the packaging. They personally dislike the way that story is told, and they made ever admit that that like where they’re coming from is from a personal place, and then they’ll push to, you know, change something that has a lot of equity and in the market. So luckily, we don’t we don’t see this happen all the time, what we’re experiencing, especially in the last couple of years is that a lot of these larger legacy wineries are very aware of the brand equity, and the concern is more of, okay, how do we, let’s say that they need to add additional wines, their portfolio, and maybe some components to their packaging that maybe aren’t as sustainable as they would like. And so changes need to happen, maybe there’s components of their visual identity within their packaging, that just cannot extend to digital in any way that is consistent, there’s all these real needs for them to kind of reevaluate the, let’s say, like the visual elements of their brand. But they want to be very, very careful to not destroy any of their, you know, earned brand equity and in the process, we love that type of projects. You know, oftentimes, it’s about you’re doing design in a way where people don’t even notice that design was done. But you’re able to, you know, essentially kind of flush out the visual identity and packaging system that just kind of further supports the wineries needs. You know, Switching gears, let’s say to the small startup winery versus a white who’s been around for a long time that you know, doesn’t doesn’t have a brain yet doesn’t have a package, maybe they just have a name. Those projects, there a lot of fun for us that are really exciting, because you need to create something new, I think that the thing that small producers need to really recognize and embrace is that it’s, it’s a, it’s an emotional process. You know, oftentimes at that stage, you know, your, your business is your baby, and the label is going to be its face. So there’s, there’s so much pressure that is put on the project for for good reason. And, you know, as you go through that process, you’re probably going to notice, you know, a lot of different emotions that are coming up, throughout discovery, especially, you know, when you’re taking a look at the work. So it’s just something to be aware of a big part of what we do is just kind of guide people through that process, and kind of let them know, like, what they’re feeling, you know, is, is common, you know, help them kind of like reframe how to look at what they’re seeing, we’re very, very collaborative for clients that we’re not presenting packages, in the concept stage that are close to finish, by any means it’s more of, let’s get this core idea in front of them. And then then let’s, let’s kind of CO develop it with the client from there. But that can also be a very, very tricky thing, because what you’re seeing is not the final thing. There’s, there’s oftentimes, you know, illustrators that still need to be hired calligraphers that maybe need to be brought on. So, so it’s, yeah, the creative process is, is a, it’s a delicate thing. It’s, it’s a lot of fun, but it’s also stressful,
Drew Thomas Hendricks 38:00
Julia Weinberg 38:02
Yeah. One of the things that I’ve learned from observing the, you know, the design side of things, and, you know, Byron, and the rest of our design team, as well is, you know, especially if you’re starting off, it’s not just about the portfolio that you’re starting with, it’s about picking where you want to grow into. So, you know, hearing them ask questions about tearing, and all of those pieces so that, you know, maybe your first label doesn’t break when you start introducing new skews. You know, I think that was one big lesson that I learned from just, you know, the osmosis of being around them. And, you know, I think the other thing, too, that was, has always been really interesting to me as sort of a marketer, but more on the tech side of things, is that, when it’s not just about creating the label itself, you know, but also thinking about the label, and the website and the other sort of digital experiences, it’s that the entire story doesn’t need to be told in any one of those places, like all of these fit together. And Drew that goes back to what you were saying about what’s the customer’s experience of the brand, what’s the customer’s journey and story? You know, what are their different touch points and us thinking about that holistically, so that people can learn and discover different things along the way, and maybe there’s even you know, some little surprises and easter eggs and
Drew Thomas Hendricks 39:34
the right time for crossover. There’s the right time to Yeah, like you said, an Easter egg is the right time and place for that.
Byron Hoffman 39:43
Yeah, and just one thing I want to add to with with new producers, I think that oftentimes as a pressure to feel like you need to start with a fully defined brand, you know, a fully defined and fleshed out story. And I think it’s generally good to acknowledge that at that moment in time, like you’re just starting your story. So, so don’t try not to be distracted by the need to create your story at that moment, which can can lead to a lot of just, you know, in brands that aren’t authentic. So so just to brace where you are, do a
Drew Thomas Hendricks 40:21
lot of bullshit. Say it bluntly.
Byron Hoffman 40:28
It’s very true. I mean, just a little bit of an aside, I think that, you know, we call ourselves a branded commerce technology and brand design company. And, you know, honestly, personally, I’m suspicious of a lot of branding. I think that a lot of people in the wine industry are as well, because it’s, it’s oftentimes used to help sell wine, help help sell products that aren’t really about the wine at the end of the day. So so when we look at our branding work, it’s really more about how can we help, you know, great wine, get in front of the right people, versus kind of creating brands that are kind of empty, and, and are the lead and are the kind of the substance for the wine is not?
Drew Thomas Hendricks 41:12
What I love most about talking to you today and talking about what Offset Partners is doing is that you’re providing this end to end curated experience, which very few companies can offer many try, but it’s to have that actual branding in house, and then taking it through the whole sales cycle is so powerful.
Byron Hoffman 41:32
Thank you, it’s, it’s really enjoyable when it all comes together.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 41:37
Yes, I’m gonna resist the temptation to ask for a story when it doesn’t come together. But we have this. As we’re kind of wrapping down towards the end of the episode, I always like to kind of shift and talk about AMD, you want to thank any buddy, anybody, the person who’s the person you respect most in the industry right now. While you’re thinking about I am famous for clunky closes, so no point,
Byron Hoffman 42:11
really thinking about that one. In the wine industry,
Drew Thomas Hendricks 42:19
anybody provide like, it doesn’t have to be, it could be anybody getting inspiration from that you just kind of
Byron Hoffman 42:24
you know, so early in my career, you know, I had the chance to work with Frog’s Leap, and to collaborate closely with with John Williams. And to that, that was probably one of the first examples where, you know, I experienced, you know, doing storytelling, doing website design work, you know, that’s led into kind of redesign their label a lot of a lot of other things we’ve done for them, but where John’s kind of personal ideals and the brand ideals were, were not separate. They’re completely intertwined. And it immediately resonated with me, then. And I would say that it’s, it’s, it’s become a guiding light for us in general, when we’re seeking out new clients to find those businesses where there’s, the people at the helm, are incredibly, personally invested in their business and have really strong values that they see through. About you, Julia,
Julia Weinberg 43:33
it is a tricky question. You know, it’s, of course, when, when you say sort of what people you admire, I think that for many people, Jancis Robinson, is always friends of mine. And to me, one of the things that’s most impressive is actually, you know, not just like, the tremendous work that she has done, you know, throughout her career, but really seeing her, you know, through the past few years, as there’s been some like, you know, evolution in the industry in terms of also social responsibility and how,
Drew Thomas Hendricks 44:15
you know, heavy bottles, she always puts out on her. She’s so
Julia Weinberg 44:19
no bullshit. And she could certainly exist within a wine ivory tower if she wanted to, and she does not, you know, she’s always been extremely proactive with seeking out, you know, interesting producers that aren’t necessarily glossy, at all, very authentic. And she’s, you know, one of incredibly humble about line and has done a lot to, I think, embrace new voices and bringing on you know, Elaine, as the new sort of editor as a Genesis Robinson concert, her successor, it’s a And to me, it’s just been inspiring how both down to earth she is and how she really genuinely embraces that. You know, there’s always more to learn and that, like, that’s what’s exciting to me about this industry is there is always more to learn in wine you are kind of never an expert. And I, she is the expert who really embraces embraces that sort of like Buddhist beginner’s mind.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 45:31
I love it. I love it. I do have to say one of your clients is the one of person I respect most when I started the start in the industry, we were the San Francisco store that sold all the current lunch points and inspiring thirst, that book and the way he wrote, guided really the last 35 years of me writing and pursuing wine.
Byron Hoffman 45:53
I completely understand why you’re influenced that way. I mean, we’re working with them has been continues to be an incredible and humbling experience. You know, we’re we’re just doing what we do trying to hold up our end of the bargain picky now. Like they’re, they’re an incredibly impressive business.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 46:11
Yeah, it’s work has been fantastic. So guys, where can people find out more about you and Offset Partners?
Byron Hoffman 46:17
So our website is a good place to go. So offsetpartners.com. And, you know, in addition to the case studies, in our review of our commerce platform, we’re also publishing articles that just gets into just a bit of our thing, you know, what we do? You know, different different, you have some great coffee outside. Thank you.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 46:37
Thanks. So you guys, thank you so much for joining us today. And if you’re looking if you’re a highly allocated winery, or you’re looking for an end to end solution branding to from, what do you say from concept to checkout? Offset Partners is the place. Thank you.
Julia Weinberg 46:56
Byron Hoffman 46:57
Thank you, Bianca, great to talk to you. Thank you.
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