Real Talk With Meg Murray, Founder of Nasty Woman Wines
Nasty Woman was an insult muttered at Hillary Clinton by Trumperdink during one of the presidential debates that was then taken up like a badge of honor, a moniker of unapologetic defiance, and in the end, a battle cry.
And if you know anything about anything, you should also know that wine makes damn fine battle fuel. Meg Murray knew. After Trumperdink became President-Elect Trumperdink (and now President Trumperdink), she founded a kick-ass brand called Nasty Woman Wines with a kick-ass cause.
Name: Meg Murray
Location: McMinnville, Oregon
Title: Nasty Woman & Founder
Company: Nasty Woman Wines
What it is: Wine Brand
Educational Background: Major in international studies and minor in political science from Portland State University
What came first: the idea for something “nasty” or the idea for a wine brand?
The wine brand. I already had a different wine brand I was helping to create. My husband and I just finished our first harvest for our own personal brand, Project M Wines. This is our life’s work brand, the one that we had both been building up to professionally for a long time. So I was already in full brand-building and business-launching mode. It’s funny, once I took those first steps into my own thing it became easier to dive into other entrepreneurial ventures. Not less daunting but the momentum was already there.
I like to buy domain names. I thought www.nastywomanwines.com would be a fun domain to have. I would then bottle some wine under the brand and just figure it out from there. On election day 2016, I insisted that my attorney file the trademark thinking we would be electing our first female president. I thought “this will be a fun celebratory brand!” So the wine brand came first. Getting nasty came next.
The next morning I was on my kitchen floor with tears running down my face. I was in disbelief of the election results. My 5-year-old daughter turned and asked when she could run for president. Something clicked. She asked “when,” not “if.”
I became proud. Proud that she had witnessed a strong woman running for the highest office in our land. I became hopeful. Hopeful that real progress was being made. Real progress to me is when we stop talking about the gender of a candidate or executive. I also became determined. I knew I needed to do something to assure progress wasn’t slipping backwards. So then, then I got nasty.
Twenty percent of our net profits will go to help accelerate global progress toward women’s equal participation in policy and leadership. Check out www.50x50movement.org — they’re awesome and I look forward to supporting their efforts.
Do you have a background in wine?
Yes. After graduating college I worked in politics — I joke that this drove me to drink. I soon found my way into wine. At first, I was just having fun selling it and (of course) drinking it. Wine is great. In can be cerebral and also fun.
Over time, I became more interested in the business side of wine and learning about it; the process, the places, the grapes and yes of course, more tasting. I furthered my education in both the business of wine and wine studies. I’ve worked for large and small wineries and other wine-related businesses, and now I own my own wine industry consulting firm with a focus on sales and marketing.
How did you get Nasty Woman Wines off the ground so quickly?
With very little sleep and some incredible help. Friends, and friends of friends donated their time and expertise. There are so many but if you wouldn’t mind I would like to give an extra shout out to a few Nasty Women who also run their own businesses. I think it’s important to give credit where credit is due. We also need to make sure we are all building each other up as women and business owners.
Andrea LaRue of Nectar Graphics: Her artistic talent and quick design skills took NASTY WOMAN WINES from a concept to something visual people could start getting behind. Her team is unbelievable and they all put up with my unrealistic expectations for wanting everything yesterday. Timing of this brand launch was paramount.
Emily Davis of 40 Reasons, whose wordsmithing is second to none. She gets me. She gets the brand. She takes what is in my head and brings it to life. Everyone needs an Emily in their business.
Lota LaMontagne of Front Porch PR, who navigates the world of media and communications like a boss. She wears so many hats you would think she is a coat rack and she manages it all with grace.
An important thing to note is that I wasn’t afraid to ask for help. If you want to make something really cool happen, really fast, you’re going to need to either enlist help or do a sloppy job. I wasn’t going to settle for sloppy. In addition to a lot of great help, I also contracted work out. I knew certain things needed to be done and either I didn’t have the expertise to do them or the time to execute. Ask for help and hire out. These are strengths, not weaknesses.
What does a typical day look like for you?
There isn’t any real rhythm to my day at the moment. Two days after I started this brand I was in Mexico on vacation with my family. I would barely make it out of my hotel room and was frantically working while they slept. Their patience and support has been unreal.
Some advice to those who want to get married: Marry a true partner. Life ebbs and flows and you each need to be able to step in and step up at different points.
Things are going fast and there are so many moving parts from product development, compliance, marketing, sales, and trying to work my other business ventures to pay for this one. I also just returned from New Zealand visiting a dear friend. I had made those travel plans well in advance of deciding to launch a wine brand in nine weeks’ time. I took my laptop and just kept at it.
So a typical day? That would be doing a lot of pivoting. It’s exciting though, and I’m not complaining. I am in my flow. I felt I needed to do something and this is my something. I know wine. I encourage others to find their something — their own way to get nasty. I promise to keep you all hydrated.
If you could have given yourself a piece of knowledge or advice when you started out in your career, what would that be?
Trust your gut. Your gut is wise.
Would you do anything differently?
I would’ve trusted my gut earlier on. I would’ve brought up the hard questions earlier. I would’ve been less afraid of upsetting someone by such questions. I would’ve been okay with walking away from things if they were not working sooner.
Oh, and that time I got shushed in a business phone conference. Yeah, that time. That time I would have called him out on it when it happened rather than sitting there dumbfounded on the other end of the phone line. No one needs that shit. Man or woman.
How do you define success?
That’s hard. My definition of success, as with many others I imagine, has changed over the years. It’s constantly shaped by my experiences. I don’t believe there is any end goal. Success today, in this moment, are the exhales after facing something challenging. It’s a privilege to be able to face them.
What’s been the hardest part of starting Nasty Woman Wines?
Time and cashflow.
Cashflow: This is 100% self-funded at the moment. I hope to get an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign started soon to be able to grow this at the rate it’s demanding.
Time: When I’m really “in” something, I get into a flow. It’s 2:30 am as I write this. Time seems to be elusive, and not everyone operates on my timeframe. That, at times, can be hard to come to terms with.
What has been the most rewarding?
Seeing the support from so many with not only this brand but this movement. I can’t even put this into words. I just know it propels me forward.
Nasty Woman Wines has a very strong brand — from the names of the wines to your Instagram hashtags. What advice do you have for someone else trying to build a brand?
Be bold. Don’t be afraid of trying something different and don’t try to be everything to everyone. Be authentic. Strip away the fluff and get to the heart of what you want your brand to say, what feelings you want to evoke, then build from that.
How has marketing and your social media helped shape your brand?
It has helped to build the tribe. Social media has brought NASTY WOMAN WINES in front of so many and in a way that is easy to share. It has helped to foster a collaborative spirit that continues to shape the brand.
And really, how did you name those wines? (They’re genius).
Thank you! I enjoyed the process of coming up with them.
- Pantsuit Pinot Noir
- Progress Pink
- Pave The Way Chardonnay
- Represent Red
- Boss Lady Bubbles
Mainly I would just brainstorm then search the trademark database to see if I could secure it. If I could I would commit. I didn’t have much time to question. I also have this wordsmith warrior Emily, whom I mention above in my shoutouts. She’s a great person to bounce ideas off of.
So Pantsuit Pinot Noir is a nod to Pantsuit Nation in case anyone is living under a rock. I’ve been trying every which way to get in touch with them. Seriously. Every. Which. Way. There is a philanthropic piece to NASTY WOMAN WINES. Twenty percent of my net profits are going to help get more women to the table in policy and leadership positions, and I think what Pantsuit Nation is doing is amazing. I would like to help. So there you have it – PANTSUIT NATION, if you are out there, reach out to me please! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
What are your hobbies? What do you do when you’re not working?
I adore laughing with my young daughter Matilda. I enjoy listening to my husband speak about most anything he is passionate about. I am seriously married to the most amazing man.
I love to travel. I enjoy cooking, which would surprise my younger self. And I adore connecting people, for anything. Friendships, work, love, I am a connector. I dig it. Oh and I love naps! I know they’re not a hobby but they are lovely.
What’s your favorite part of being a Nasty Woman?
Modeling what a strong, confident, smart woman can be in front of my daughter. Showing her that equality is beautiful and standing up for those marginalized is necessary. Teaching her she has a voice and her voice deserves to be heard.
Who is your #1 Nasty Woman?
My father. You don’t have to be a female to be nasty. My father marched with Martin Luther King Jr. During the Civil Rights Movement he lived in intentional communities in the south. He taught my sister and me that we had a voice and to use it. To honor differences but speak up when injustices occur. To be nasty.
What’s next for you and Nasty Woman Wines?
I’m just getting started. Next is a lot of hard work. Next is finding the right distribution partners nationally then globally so we can keep all our Nasty Women and Nasty Women Supporters hydrated. Next is scaling this business and concept as fast as I can responsibly. Next is making money so I can give 20% of it away. Next are the 2018 mid-term elections! Next is tomorrow. I ask those reading, what are you going to do with your tomorrow?
Images via CWK Photography
Last modified on February 23rd, 2017