I like the challenges involved in creating inspired, unique wines. I enjoy giving proceeds back to charity and having people come up and thank me for our work. There are challenges associated with being a female athlete, we are not an equivalent pay scale to the men in golf. The wine business is evolving however, we have 2 female wine makers and our Curvature partner, Suzanne Pride Bryan owns a top winery; women are quickly populating the highest levels of the wine business.
Cristie Kerr is one of today’s most prominent breast cancer activists and a successful entrepreneur outside of her prosperous golf career. In 2003 she founded the non-for-profit organization Birdies for Breast Cancer, and since its inception, has raised nearly 4 million dollars to help fight the disease. In 2010, Birdies for Breast Cancer partnered with Jersey City Medical Center to create the region’s foremost comprehensive center specializing in women’s health issues. The Cristie Kerr Women’s Health Center offers breast cancer screening, diagnostic testing and treatment programs available to all women regardless of their ability to pay. The center has seen over 53,000 procedures since opening in 2010.
What did you eat for breakfast?
I usually eat an egg white omelet with fresh vegetables and some gluten free bread, a fruit smoothie and occasionally some bacon.
What’s your favorite sport or exercise?
I vary my workouts depending on the time of year and obligations. It’s challenging to have a routine when balancing a golf career, parenting and running a small business. This year my husband and I moved a couple of times which adds some curve balls to the time commitments. I try to do cardio (elliptical) 3- 4 times a week and some light weight work during the season. A lot of my gym time is spent with the Physios and dealing with minor ailments and doing preventative exercises. The off season I focus on weight training and strength work.
What inspired you to start your business? Where did you start and where are you now?
We started a small wine business in Napa by partnering with an established winery, Pride Mountain Vineyards. We made a small amount of 2006 Napa Cabernet in 2008 called Curvature with the idea to use the wine at special events and to donate proceeds to breast cancer charities. My husband and I love wine and we had a unique, low risk opportunity to enter the business at a very high level. We now have grown from 600 cases to around 1500 cases and have 5 varietals in 2016.
How large is your business?
We have 3 full time employees and another 6 people working on the wine business.
Tell us a success story about funding your business.
We are 100% self-funded for now, and we have more value in product in current inventory than our investment. High end red wine is a commodity and can actually appreciate. If your base sales are strong and you can be patient during the early years, it can be an advantage.
Tell us a story about a success in your business or a mistake you overcame that made you proud of yourself, or more confident.
When we started out we bought an existing wine project and in an effort to get the wine to market we rushed a label design through and that hurt us at retail. Wine labels are very important in the consumer’s perspective. When we launched our new brand, Kerr Cellars we had 18 months to do label design and our new labels just received the prestigious “Benjamin Franklin” award for best wine label. We also redesigned our Curvature label and this helped us add new placements.
What about your business matters most deeply to you? How does it engage your values?
Quality of what we produce. My name is on the label and I am very proud of what goes into that product. Having people working with us who share that passion and enjoying the business is important.
What would you say is your “entrepreneurial superpower?
Hard work and attention to detail. I never quit in golf and that carries over to my personal and business life.
What’s the best and the worst thing about being a female founder?
I like the challenges involved in creating inspired, unique wines. I enjoy giving proceeds back to charity and having people come up and thank me for our work. There are challenges associated with being a female athlete, we are not an equivalent pay scale to the men in golf. The wine business is evolving however, we have 2 female wine makers and our Curvature partner, Suzanne Pride Bryan owns a top winery; women are quickly populating the highest levels of the wine business. I think the hardest part of being an entrepreneur is the risk. It’s a lot like golf in that “we eat what we kill”, and if you don’t put in the work you may not get results. Sometimes you can put in the work and not get the results, the golf gods can be cruel or in wine mother nature can give you a short-crop.
What is the best advice you ever got, and from whom?
My favorite quote is from Ben Hogan, whom I am also a big fan of. You live your life like you play golf, and I think about that a lot in business. The attributes that have made me successful in golf is part of me and are vital to bring to our wine business. Hard work, attention to detail, execution and surrounding yourself with the best people. In the wine business, Suzanne Pride Bryan, co-owner of Pride Mountain taught me patience and the importance of great relationships.
Connect with Cristie Kerr
Instagram: Cristie Kerr