Each month we showcase truly inspirational social entrepreneurs and social enterprises that are making a difference in the world. This month we speak to David Laity from Good Will Wine.
So, tell us more about Good Will Wine, and how you got started.
Good Will Wine is an online wine business and it sources high quality boutique wine and then I pass on 50% of the profit to a charity of my customer’s choice.
Back in 2009 I lost a lot of what I owned to the Black Saturday Bushfires. I received a lot of help and I also received $15,000 from the Red Cross Bushfire appeal. I decided to pay that money back by starting with the charities that helped me when I needed it and the business has grown since then.
What impact are you creating with Good Will Wine?
To date we have donated over $150,000 to charity. We donate 50% of the profit and the wines, besides being nice bottles are inexpensive. The wines go to dinners and starting the conversation about the charity my customer wants to support.
Amazing work David. So how did you partner up with these charities initially?
Initially I contacted the charities and explained my concept. They came on board and as my social enterprise was growing, charities now contact me and they all have a presence on my website.
So we’d like to hear more about the wine. Where does it come from?
My wines come from all over Australia. They come from boutique vineyards and they are not clean skins as such, they are usually end of runs where vineyards would have underestimated how many bottles we are going to have and have fallen short with the labels. For them, it’s not worth their time to go back and print such a short run of labels because it is so expensive, so I have become a really good option for them. They contact me and let me know what they have got and I’ll try it and if it’s good enough I’ll buy it.
How would you grade your wines?
Most of my wines are holiday rated gold medal ones. I have got some pretty exceptional wines on board. I am currently stocking a Chardonnay which is regarded as the best value white wine in Australia by most wine raters. I sell it at the vineyard price and significantly cheaper than the vineyard.
What is your favourite wine or something that you would suggest to our readers?
Currently, I prefer red but I also have a white. Currently I am stocking a Cabernet Sauvignon from Bendigo, its 94 points, I think it’s exceptional. It’s one of the nicest Cabernet’s I have drunk in a while. I have also got a Merlot from the Yarra Valley which has got a fair bit of age on it and it’s absolutely stunning.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting a social enterprise?
The beginning of a social enterprise is just like any other business - it’s challenging. It’s in the early days of your business that you are going to be struggling the most as you try to build it and then having a business that passes on such a large amount of profit adds a new level of challenge.
I think you need to have a good business plan if you are going to start a social enterprise and I really do think that you need to seek advice. There’s people out there who can help you and would like to help you and they have knowledge that you won’t have or unlikely that you will have. I think the secret would be to prepare well and not expect to make a fortune out of your social enterprise, but that’s not why you should be doing it.
Social Traders has been amazing for me. I didn’t even realise I was a social enterprise until they contacted me and told me. I was just setting the business up that wanted to pay back the help that I have received and I felt uncomfortable calling myself a business but also I knew I wasn’t a charity so I just didn’t know what I was until they told me.
How can people find you and be a part of what you are doing?
Our website is http://www.goodwillwine.com.au/
It’s interesting, 90% of the customers I have are women and consequently I sell a fair bit of white wine. I have got an incredibly high return rate; 40% of my customers come back. I feel like I must be doing something right! I also supply my wine to venues and I do a lot of Christmas wines to businesses who want to give the wine as gifts but also wants to give something back as well.
Thanks for sharing your story with us, David.