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Top 50 Q&A: Justin Dry, Vinomofo

Welcome to our weekly Q&A with Internet Retailing’s 2019 Top 50 People in E-Commerce. You can find this year’s Top 50 report here, and see our previous Q&As here.

This week, Internet Retailing interviews Justin Dry, co-founder and chief executive of Vinomofo. Dry placed 14th in this year’s report.

Short on time? Here are the three key takeaways from the interview:

  • Vinomofo’s partnership with Empathy Wines started out of a desire for the teams to create a business together.
  • Despite the business’s size and scale, Vinomofo still thinks like a startup.
  • Dry has enjoyed going more in-depth into the day-to-day of the business since co-founder Andre Eikmeier stepped aside as co-CEO.

Internet Retailing: What does an average day look like at Vinomofo for you? What are the daily concerns?

Justin Dry: First it’s coffee, then I prioritise my to-do list and plan out my day. It usually starts with checking in on the important metrics to see where we’re at compared to targets, and if there are any opportunities, which I’ll then discuss with the relevant people or teams.

Next, it’s onto the highest priority on my to-do list. This will change depending on the what projects we are working on at the time and also what part of the month/year it is. There’s also usually plenty of meetings throughout the day and an occasional wine tasting to keep things fun.

IR: You ran Vinomofo with your co-founder Andre Eikmeier, but recently stepped up as the sole chief executive. What has changed in this transition for you? How has this change affected the business?

JD: Andre and I were co-CEOs from the beginning, but in more recent years, we’d focused on different parts of the business. He was managing Australia and I was on global markets.

So when he left the day-to-day of the business, my focus had to return to all three markets. Obviously it’s a lot more to think about but I have a great team around me and it’s been nice to go deep in all parts of the business again.

IR: Vinomofo unveiled a partnership with US-based Empathy Wines. How did this come about? Is exclusive product something Vinomofo is looking to increase its focus on?

JD: Gary Vaynerchuk started Empathy Wines along with two of his mates – Jon Troutman and Nate Scherotter. I’ve known Gary and Jon for a long time and we’d talked about doing business together over the years, so when they needed someone to help get their wines into the hands of their supporters in Australia, Singapore and NZ, they reached out and I jumped at the chance to work with them. It also means we have a great excuse to hang out more.

We love introducing new interesting producers to our mofos so it’s an area we will be looking to expand upon.

However, exclusivity is definitely not a pre-requisite for these projects.

IR: Vinomofo entered the alcohol delivery market quite early, but there have been a number of new players in the past year. What is Vinomofo doing to stay ahead of the competition?

JD: It’s a super competitive space, and we do keep an eye on what’s happening in the market, but our focus is definitely on how we keep evolving Vinomofo to deliver the best possible user experience for our mofos, as opposed to what others are doing.

There are obvious advantages to the size and scale we’ve reached but our thinking is still very much like a startup and growth focused, rather than defensive.

IR: What is a hurdle the business is still working on solving?

JD: There is a new one everyday.

IR: Is there anything else you wanted to add? Anything upcoming in the business to look out for?

JD: Empathy Wines land in July. Jump on site and join the wait-list now to get first access. You might just win an invite to the launch party which is happening in August. 

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