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#UpWithHer: Wine company CEO shares steps to success for female entrepreneurs

It's important to surround yourself with the smartest, most passionate, and capable people you can find to help empower you as you build a business, she explains.

TEXAS, USA — Dallas Startup Week is celebrating female entrepreneurs who kept going, tried news things, made mistakes, and survived the challenges of 2020. The organization says 36% of small businesses are female-owned, and the Women of Innovation summit is featuring entrepreneurs like Sarah Shadonix, the founder and CEO of Scout & Cellar, to help showcase their ideas.

Shadonix created the North Texas-based company 4 years ago as a direct-to-consumer producer of clean-crafted wine and wine-based beverages. Her business began after she had built years of experience practicing commercial litigation. Following her pivot, though, the company has grown more than 70% year-over-year since she launched it. 

Shadonix never intended to start her own company, though she says her experience as a lawyer has led her to success in such a different space. 

"As a lawyer we learn to issue spot, ask a lot of questions, and dig down to what we didn’t know, and that’s what led me to identify this need in the marketplace, an opportunity to develop a more authentic wine which is clean-crafted," she explained.

She knew wine, and she knew what she didn't know about the business, too. 

"For me, the steps looked a lot like this: making a list of all the things I knew, which was a reasonably short and concentrated list; and then making a list of all the things I didn’t know," Shadonix said.

Then she turned to Google to do her research. Now, Scout & Cellar employs 170 people, along with 20,000 independent consultants. 

Shadonix says there’s no secret formula for success, but those looking to start their own business need more than a great idea. Entrepreneurs must have the ability to put together an executable plan and cast a vision for others to believe in.

It's also important to surround yourself with the smartest, most passionate, and capable people you can find to help empower you as you build a business.  

Shadonix gathers new ideas with a weekly innovation meeting of her employees to keep their ideas flowing.

"It’s important to who we are, to our culture, to continue to stay fresh and to continue to come up with new ideas for brands, products and ways we serve our customers and consultants," she explained.

Shadonix encourages other leaders to create a separate space from stress and work to help prevent creators from feeling overwhelmed. By giving yourself time away, you'll be able to come back recharged to put your best work forward. 

This story was edited by WFAA Digital Producer Jennifer Prohov.