Tell Us About the Archer Roose Journey
Marian Leitner has always loved stories and has always described herself, first and foremost, as a storyteller. Wine, to Marian, is just that – a story. Humans have been fermenting fruit for nearly as long as we’ve been gathering it and. As Marian shared, “There’s nothing more human than sitting around a fire sharing stories over a fermented beverage.”
“What I love about wine is that I think more than any other type of alcohol, whether that be beer or spirits, is that it tells the story of the time and place and people behind the wine,” she expressed.
In the wine industry, the word for this is “terroir”, translating to “a sense of place.” To Marian, Archer Roose is a postcard that captures the story of the place that the wine is from and this journey has allowed her to live out her life as the storyteller, telling an “edible story.”
Why Did You Choose Elizabeth Banks as Your Celebrity Spokesperson?
Amid COVID, many of the brands that were not authorized in grocery stores were truly suffering. Marian began thinking about how Archer Roose could develop its own Direct to Consumer channels but soon realized that to do so, she needed an amplifier by her side to help tell the story behind Archer Roose’s canned wine. Elizabeth Banks was a natural choice.
“First of all, Elizabeth was born and raised in Massachusetts. She is wicked smart and she is a badass boundary pusher in her own right, not only as an actress but also as an award-winning and record-holding director, writer, and producer. The Archer Roose brand reflects strong values about living your life by your own rules and Elizabeth was the perfect fit.”
The ethos of the brand is living life by your own rules. “Our focus has been to seize the opportunity to develop a product for women, by women, that really treats them with respect and recognizes that we really care about quality and what we put in our body above all else.”
How Is Being a Female Entrepreneur Different in the Wine Industry?
2020 was a record year of venture dollars and yet only 2.3% of those investments went to female-run companies. “It’s harder to raise money, to get a foot in the door and to build credibility. In the alcohol industry, it’s more of an all-boys club than most”, Marian explained.
One of her biggest challenges has been finding individuals who can make the right introductions to distributors and retailers. These are things that a lot of entrepreneurs may take for granted yet have been especially difficult for Archer Roose. As always, they’ve persevered and built a network of women and male allies who understand what Archer Roose is striving to achieve.
Marian continues, “The biggest challenge has been how many times I’ve pitched a male investor or distributor who just doesn’t believe that women would find this product attractive, or that women would buy into this concept or positioning just because they didn’t buy into it.”
What Are Some Obstacles Archer Roose Encountered and What Choices Led to Its Success?
Going into 2020, Archer Roose was growing at around 100% year-over-year. The brand had just taken flight aboard JetBlue, being served nationally on all flights and the Company was getting ready to announce a major partnership with a big hospitality partner.
And then, of course, COVID hit. Within moments, 80% of their revenue dried up… overnight. Marian quickly found herself rebuilding the entire business model and pivoting the Company from the ground up. All of this, on top of giving birth to her first child on March 17th, 2020 – the exact day Boston went into lockdown.
Over the following 18 months, Archer Roose not only secured grocery sale authorizations, launched a national Direct to Consumer business, but also brought on Elizabeth Banks as an investor and the face of the brand. Throughout all of this, the team nurtured the partnership with JetBlue where they’re back on board all of their flights.
Where Do You See Archer Roose in The Next Five Years?
Marian hopes to become a major presence in grocery stores so the brand can be available to their target consumers and “be her Sunday through Thursday night glass of wine”.
How Did You Choose the Character for The Archer Roose Logo?
During the initial founding of Archer Roose, Marian knew she wanted to build a different kind of wine brand. Through this, while borrowing from craft beer and spirits, they found what they did well was create characters that consumers could connect and go on a journey with.
This drove Archer Roose to build and develop the character of Archer Roose. “She’s a boundary pusher, a feather ruffler, a timeless adventurer who travels the world and has crazy adventures,” Marian expresses. “And these wines are her postcards to us, telling us about the places that she’s traveled to and that she’s been.”
What Is One Piece of Advice You Can Offer New Entrepreneurs?
Marian shares, “You’re going to make lots of mistakes, but they must be taken as learning opportunities. You must have the memory of a goldfish, as Ted Lasso would say. You can easily forget your failures and don’t let them get you down but continue fulfilling your vision.”
How has Gesmer provided you with business and legal advice?
“I view them as an important part of the team who I can carry with me on this journey. I’ve already recommended them to several other entrepreneurs, and we are just so excited to be clients. Peter Moldave and Steve Snyder have, of course, been great advocates.
The thing that distinguishes Gesmer is their desire to help the entrepreneur in a lot of different ways… and their flexibility. Gesmer understands the challenges that entrepreneurs face, and they’re strapped in and ready for the journey.”
Why Go with Gesmer?
To Marian, “Entrepreneurship is a journey where you want people on your team who have your back and also understand the peaks and valleys because there is no straight line to success. And Gesmer really understands that.”