CD: I met you when you were working with JP Morgan! Tell us a bit about your prior career chapter as well as why you decided to start this next one.
DS: Prior to founding Wander + Ivy, I spent 7 years with JPMorgan Private Bank. During the first few years, I worked as an analyst in the New York City headquarters. In 2013, I had the opportunity to join the Private Bank team in Denver and by 2016, I earned the title of Vice President. At a high level, our team managed investment portfolios and assisted with generational wealth planning. Our clients were successful entrepreneurs and their families. As a VP in Denver, I focused specifically on the food and beverage/health and wellness industries, among a few others.
My husband, Gus, and I met at JPM and often talked about how our clients inspired and motivated us. Over time, we agreed that if/when one of us wanted to ever make the leap as an entrepreneur, we would 100% support it.
We threw around many ideas but Wander + Ivy was the first one that I REALLY believed in. The idea came from frustration over a problem and I saw a real gap in the market. After taking the time to create and share my initial business plan with people in the industry, I felt confident that this was an idea worth pursuing and Gus supported me 100%.
CD: Did you have concerns about leaving a “stable” career and jumping in to the entrepreneurial world? Fear of failure? If so, how have you managed these emotions while leaping?
DS: ABSOLUTELY. I worked very hard to earn my position at JPM and built a promising career path. I was really scared to leave that behind for something that may fail.
I managed (and continue to manage) those emotions in a few different ways.
First and foremost, I talk though it with my husband, family and close friends. Everyone is different, but for me, it is super important to articulate my feelings and not let them build up inside.
I also try to surround myself with people who have been in similar situations and can offer advice or guidance, whether that’s a one-on-one catch up with another Founder, a networking event for CEOs, or even podcasts that share startup stories. It’s VERY helpful to hear how others have managed and even embraced the fear of failure.
Ultimately, I think that every entrepreneur needs to come to peace with the fact that (given the odds) their venture will likely fail. I try to handle that with positive thoughts like, So what? I’ve learned A LOT, created something that I am extremely proud of, and have no regrets of giving this thing a shot.
CD: What do you love most about Wander + Ivy? Where do you want to see it in 5 yrs?
DS: I love how different it is. And I am proud of that. Everything else out there in the market in the convenient/alternative packaging space is cans, bags or boxes. I am OFTEN asked, “Why not cans?” My answer: There are SO many canned options on the market and does a can of wine feel like something you want to enjoy at home after a long day of work?
I wanted to create a premium version of the convenient options out there. With Wander + Ivy, we created something that is not only premium, but beautiful and organic as well.
In 5 years, I’d like Wander + Ivy to be a national brand that stands for premium, organic ingredients and giving back to the community. An important element of the company is that we give back 1% of gross profits to charitable organizations.
CD: Anything that has surprised you along your entrepreneurial journey thus far? Best lesson learned?
DS: Several things surprised me while raising capital. How long it took. What was important to each investor. How many men were in the room (this is changing and I proudly have many amazing female investors, but I was surprised that I often found myself pitching to rooms of men).
Resilience is the best lesson. You MUST take the low, incredibly challenging moments, learn from them, and pick yourself right back up in order to even have a chance to succeed. Someone once shared that “People aren’t investing in you because they see no challenges in your future; they are investing because they strongly believe in your ability to overcome those challenges.”
CD: How do you take care of yourself while running a start-up?
DS: Yoga, running, eating well, sleeping well, hot baths and face masks ☺
I practice yoga 3-4 times per week and it really helps keep me sane and feel physically fit. I also love to run or walk our puppy. And it’s so important for me to eat and sleep well and find time to spend with friends and family.
CD: What’s your favorite book?
DS: I have several! One is “Killing it” by Sheryl O’Loughlin, the CEO of REBBL and former CEO of Cliff Bar. I heard her speak at a conference and immediately read the book. She shares her entrepreneurial journey and lessons along the way.
CD: Who would you most like to have dinner with?
DS: I have listened to A LOT of podcasts recently and would honestly love to have dinner with any one of those inspiring founders, particularly the female founders. Jenn Hyman (Rent the Runway), Susan Tynon (Framebridge), Katrina Lake (StitchFix) and Jessica Alba (The Honest Company), to name a few!
CD: What’s your favorite vacation spot?
I come from a very Italian family (my maiden name is Ferrero). I’m in love with Italian food, wine and history.
PLUS, Gus proposed to me in Chianti.
CD: Favorite wine other than Wander + Ivy of course?
DS: Right now, I am loving Jarvis and Far Niente. Two incredible producers in California. I highly recommend!