Scottish entrepreneur to bring her love of wine and books together with new business venture.
Inspired by her father’s entrepreneurial spirit, Anna Smith, who hails from Aberdeen, is on a mission to bring wine and books to the masses through her new subscription club.
Pairing fine wines with much-loved novels and new releases, Anna works with her suppliers to bring together a community of grape and bookworms together with her Words With Wine firm which she started earlier this year.
The 30-year-old entrepreneur attended book and wine clubs before lockdown and wanted to bring this community of people together online in a first for the UK.
Anna’s dad, Ian Smith, who owned numerous Domino’s franchises in the north-east, was one of the first people she pitched her business idea to.
Having run various successful businesses over the years, Anna wanted to secure the approval of her dad who she aspires to be even more successful than.
Originally from from Newmachar, Aberdeenshire, Anna now lives near North Berwick with her boyfriend.
She said: “The idea came to me on December 30 last year. I am a serial business person in the sense of I come up with different business ideas every week and I text them to my dad. He usually replies saying ‘no, that’s not going to make you a millionaire’.
“I have had my own wedding business before but I was part of a wine and book club before lockdown and it made me read different things and try different wines which I wouldn’t usually pick up myself.
“I moved out to the middle of nowhere in the middle of lockdown and I mentioned to my boyfriend how much I missed it and that I missed reading as much. I wondered if I could get wine delivered with my book and I couldn’t find anything apart from a company in America which tells you the wine and book you should buy for the club.
“I texted my parents and both of them replied and said it was a good idea. I started researching on January 1 this year and started contacting companies about it. It wasn’t until February that I started with the branding and the name. The first box launched in April and it is due to come out this month.”
How it works
Within any Words With Wine box customers will receive a fiction book, a carefully paired full-size bottle of wine, an information card about the wine and book, and membership to our online book club. There are three subscription options: monthly, bi-monthly and a one time purchase.
“The way it works is everyone purchased the box a month in advance and everyone gets the same book and wine,” continued Anna.
“No one knows what it is until they get it, but we do, do share a sneak preview on social media, which hints what the wine will be.
“Boxes are posted from the 14th of each month and you can purchase monthly, bi-monthly or a one-off box. The one-off box is a little bit more expensive, but these ones have been mainly individuals sending to a friend as a gift. I know a lot of people struggle with gifts sometimes and this is something quite different.
“We have an online book club. I think people are a little fed up of the whole ‘Zoom thing’ and where I want to get the business to, having lots of people on a Zoom call wouldn’t be ideal. The platform is online and you can go on and leave reviews, chat to people and write comments about the book and the wines.
“I am taking wine courses to become more versed in the wines, too. I want it to be very inclusive and be a subscription service everyone feels a part of.
“In the box you’ll get your wine, book and membership included in the price. There’s a space for you to make your own profile for the club.
“We send all of our boxes with a tasting card which tells you a bit about the wine and what to pair it with. May’s box is going to be a red wine and they are traditionally better off with rich food, and will be great for barbecue season.”
This month, customers can look forward to the first boxes arriving at doors across the UK.
Working with leading suppliers, Anna can ensure her customers get the best of the best wines which aren’t readily available in stores, and new book releases, ahead of the general public.
She added: “I usually pick a colour of wine which will go well with the seasons when deciding what to have.
“I send my ideas to my suppliers. I work with Canongate in Edinburgh or Penguin, and I’ll send them what kind of book I am looking for. They will tell me which novels are coming out and will run a few suggestions past me. They allocate the novel for me and I tell the wine supplier which genre it is, and then they pick what is seasonal or new and would pair well with it.
“The wine cannot be purchased from a supermarket and my Edinburgh-based wine supplier is the only one in Scotland to have these wines. The wines range between £12 and £15 and the novels, apart from every few months which are a classic, are all new paperbacks.
“It will really encourage people to try other wines and genres. I go to the supermarket and pick up the same wines the majority of the time, so I think this is a good way for people to try new things. I’d like to be at 10,000 subscribers per month by the end of year one. We have 45 subscribers ahead of launch.”
Boxes priced from £25 to £28 per box, depending on the subscription package.