We had the good fortune of connecting with Shayla Varnado and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shayla, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When I started Black Girls Wine I wanted to create a space where Black women could come to enjoy, learn, and connect over wine and feel celebrated at the same time. When I looked around I couldn’t find any one place where everyone was gathering so I wanted to create that space!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Black Girls Wine is a lifestyle brand I created to celebrate the Black woman and her love for wine. When the Black Girls Wine Society launched it was really exciting for me because it gave me the opportunity to bring the brand to life. I’m most proud of the way the women around me in this organization have rallied with me to create such a magical experience when women join the community. I got to where I am today by doing good ole fashion hard work. It wasn’t easy and I’m still overcoming challenges. They don’t magically stop or go away because you’ve reached a certain goal or income level. You learn how to adapt, pivot, and navigate through business by keeping your mind focused on the why. That’s what keeps you motivated when things get tough. One of the major lessons I’ve learned along the way is making sure I don’t allow other people’s dreams become a part of my vision. Often times people will see what you’re building and want to add their spin on it. That will lead to so much distraction on your path to accomplishing the goal you set out to accomplish in the beginning. I want the world to know that Black Girls Wine Society is not about me. It’s not about the women who become Presidents and the members who join to not only support their local chapter but to also engage in community of Black women who love wine just like them. It’s about the partners that want to see more diversity coming through their doors. It’s about the community that is being built around the Black Girls Wine Society.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m so proud of my little big city of Richmond, VA growing as much as it has! There’s so much to see and do I’ll just cover a weekend! We would kick off a Saturday with brunch at a local spot, Lulus because they’ve got a great crab omelette. From there we would hit a few wineries just outside of the city before heading to the Little Wine Shop in Chester, VA to grab a few bottles for the Sunday Lawn event being put on by UnlockingRVA. We’d spend Saturday night on the rooftop of Kabana dancing while enjoying a view of the city. We’d wakeup to yoga at Bare Soul Yoga before hitting the lawn with our wine and a charcuterie box by CocoaParriiss. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
It’s really hard to narrow down this shoutout to one person or group but I’d have to say my family. Without my husbands support and love it would’ve been really hard to even have space to create this business. Without my family’s love, mentorship, and encouragement I wouldn’t have even started!
Images may be credited to the Black Girls Wine Society (Chapter Presidents)