When best friends noticed Erica Davis and Catherine Carter noticed they were missing out on celebrating important milestones with one another because of their busy schedules, they came up with a simple solution. What they didn’t realize was that it would turn out to be a million-dollar idea.
“We’ve been friends since college,” said Erica Davis. “We’ve done a lot of things together, like get married kind of back to back, had kids back to back, and we wanted to find ways to still get together and bond.”
Davis explained that her and Carter would schedule monthly girls nights to celebrate big and small wins over a new bottle of sparkling wine or champagne. While sipping, they’d noticed each other their friends’ palettes were different and responded uniquely to each brand of champagne they tried, which sparked their interest to learn more about make up of the drinks.
Thus the idea for The Sip was born.
They realized that like them, there were many others who needed help celebrating special occasions, but on their own terms. The Sip is an e-commerce subscription-based spirits service that provides curated boxes with serving size bottles of sparkling wine and champagne.
The Oakland-based founders said they were intentional about centering the business around sparkling wine because of their proximity to Napa Valley, the location where most of their background knowledge of the product and spirits industry at large took place.
As Black women, a vastly underrepresented group in the liquor industry, they knew the importance of leaning on the small community of other Black founders in the space to build their brand. But it wasn’t easy.
“I would never say it was smooth sailing building the company,” said Davis. “I think for Catherine and I, we were intentional about being nonconforming in the way we structured our business. We didn’t want to fall into the good old boys club way of serving our customers. So we really listened to them from the onset.”
That special attention they pay to their consumership has paid off in a tremendous way.
The founders said that in two years, they’ve grown The Sip into a multi-million brand that has grown year-over-year by 400%.
Carter, who has a background in supply chain management and operations, said that ironically, they launched their brand at a fortuitous time—during the pandemic. “Things were very uncertain then and people weren’t sure what was going on, so we were laser-focused on building a nimble business plan,” Carter explained.
Now, they said they’re focused on giving back as their brand continues to grow. “One of the pillars of our company is called Take A Sip, Give A Sip,” said Carter. “For every purchase made on our website, we donate 16oz of clean water to a shelter, East Oakland Community Project. And to date, we’ve donated over 5500 gallons of water.
Also, in time for National Prosecco Day, The Sip is offering 25% of all Prosecco on their site, using the code PROSECCO. “We just want everyone to make it easier to have celebratory moments–everyone deserves that.”