Whereas the world is experiencing an unprecedented crisis and the wine world crumbles, U’Wine keeps going. Interview of Thomas, founder and CEO shares his experience during the last 5 months and the way that he went through this special period.
What resilience means for you and U’Wine?
The word “resilience” is above all a technical word about material resistance. It defines the resistance of a material against shock and therefore its elasticity. Thermic treatments can of course reinforce the resilience of the material ; but it is in fact a characteristic you have naturally in yourself or not. What is our ability to face the unexpected circumstances? What is our ability to bounce and get back to our growth? For me, being resilient requires listening, being humble, having the agility in your organisation and constant reflections. I think our management under Covid-19 has proven our resilience and I am really proud of my team.
How would you describe the last few months?
I think we have been through different phrases: hyper-growth until 17 March, then budget review and action plan to communicate with our customers and address their requests and worries. One important thing for me was that nobody was on part-time employment and we practised home office for the whole team to move on and prepare for the recovery. The last phase took place in June which represents the best month in U’Wine’s history!
What have you learnt from this crisis?
First of all, there are some industries that are dramatically affected. For example, the aeronautic industry which I care so much as well as tourism and the hospitality industry. My thoughts are with them and other companies in trouble. Human is naturally resilient. Even though fear and our physical system set us a limit, I trust in human to build a better world with a vaccine against coronavirus.
This crisis has also helped me to see that U’Wine is not anymore a fragile start-up: it is solid with its shareholders, its partners, its 600 clients, its organisation and its 20 U’Wine Makers in France and in Shanghai. I admit we are lucky but we did also work hard to be here today… We may deserve this luck! This crisis also demonstrated that our offers which value the domains are meaningful for our economy and are more than ever necessary for investors. We have today an excellente opportunity to convince about investment solutions of tomorrow!
What are the next steps for U’Wine until the end of 2020?
Our partners have not yet taken back our offers in hand; Covid-19 is still more than ever around us. It is a warning signal then! Yet, we will work hard to rebound and get back our hyper-growth that we had before the crisis. We will restart the discussions with the banks and institutional clients because we have a beautiful story to tell no matter for them and for their clients. U’Wine remains above all a company that is innovative and is open to discovery of new markets. We will also accelerate our investment in China because our current indicators are encouraging! There will still be some nice lines to write in this adventure…