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Brick & Mortar Business Doing it Right - King James Wine School



Summary

In this episode, Bryan and Loren sit down with James King. James is one of the nation’s leading wine experts, and he owns King James Wine School, a fine wine shop in Bentonville, Arkansas. Bryan, Loren, and James chat about the importance of educating customers in order to make wine more approachable, standing out from the crowd, and using sabers to open bottles of champagne. As always, thank you for tuning in!


Shownotes

(0:20) Intro

(2:07) Introducing James King

(7:50) James’ mentality behind educating customers in an intimidating industry

(20:58) How King James Wine School stands out from the crowd

(26:21) James’ social media strategy

(33:40) Wrap Up

(36:50) Using a saber to open champagne


Links

Bryan Fittin

Loren Lewis

James King

King James Wine School

KJWS Instagram

KJWS Facebook


Quotes

“I love it because I’m passionate about it, and seeing other people coming in regularly and just beginning to sort of go ‘I had that wine. It was beautiful, can you suggest another? Can we look at something else? Give me another region.’” (21:10)


“A lot of people go into the liquor stores, which I define as different to what I am, which is a fine wine store. They go in and buy the same product every time, nobody gives them assistance. The majority of my clientele, I probably spend 10 minutes with each client. I have that ability to do. So therefore, it’s that they want to learn more.” (22:25)



Brick & Mortar Business Doing it Right


In this episode, Bryan and Loren sit down with James King at his fine wine store, King James Wine School. James, born in the UK, has spent much of his life globetrotting and becoming a master in his craft. Now highly trained and knowledgeable in the world of wine, James has his Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) diploma, a highly sought after distinction in the industry. He is also one of the nation’s experts in several wine types, including Burgundy, Rhone, and wines from the regions of Bordeaux and Napa Valley. He has taken this knowledge with him as he worked in the wine industry in California, Houston, and now Bentonville, Arkansas, where he owns a fine wine shop and teaches at a culinary school.


While James is an authority in the wine industry, his business model, sales strategy, and marketing tactics at his shop King James Wine School (KJWS) are transcendent across countless industries. In an industry that many see as pretentious and intimidating, KJWS attempts to make fine wine more approachable by emphasizing education for its customers.


I love it because I’m passionate about it, and seeing other people coming in regularly and just beginning to sort of go ‘I had that wine. It was beautiful, can you suggest another? Can we look at something else? Give me another region.’” (21:10)


KJWS hosts tasting classes, as well as presentation classes at the store. James has set up at-home tastings for his regular customers throughout the pandemic, as COVID-19 has caused him to suspend his in-store tastings.


Classes and tastings are not the only way to expand your understanding of wine at KJWS; James prefers to spend time with each customer who comes through the door. By gaining an understanding of each customer’s palate and budget, he can recommend the first bottle. Just as much, he enjoys helping returning customers find new bottles based on his previous recommendations.


A lot of people go into the liquor stores, which I define as different to what I am, which is a fine wine store. They go in and buy the same product every time, nobody gives them assistance. The majority of my clientele, I probably spend 10 minutes with each client. I have that ability to do. So, therefore, it’s that they want to learn more.” (22:25)


When James cannot help customers individually, he continues to promote learning by placing information cards on the shelves with each bottle of wine. This way, customers can learn about how different grape varietals, growing regions, and wine styles affect each bottle of wine.


The KJWS Instagram page is also a helpful resource for customers. James sees Instagram as an opportunity to share background information about wines that he wants to highlight, rather than merely promoting a special he has running that week.


While James’ expertise quite obviously lies in wine, his value of educating customers to make wine approachable is useful across many industries. Whether it is marketing, hospitality, construction, or entertainment, making your business approachable to clients is an integral part of success.


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