“I sat down one night and wrote the business plan. I had an idea and just put it all on paper,” said Ward. "And, much to my surprise, I later won.”
Ward said studies find that there are three things consumers look for when buying wine; quality, philosophy, and the appearance of the label. With that in mind, she first focused on the label and description of each wine.
“With Girly Girl I wanted something that was classy-looking” said Ward. “And unique too, so one night I sat down with colleagues and friends and together we created the personalities for each of our wine names and that’s what Girly Girl wine is all about.”
Each bottle of wine has its own unique character: “Chloe” likes to shop and dine out; “Kayla” is the jet-setting traveler; “Farrah” is into sports; and “Mia” enjoys time at the spa.
Ward is the director of sales and marketing at Washington Wine & Beverage Company, where she has worked for the past 11 years. After winning the 2008 Seattle University Albers School of Business Plan Competition prize of $10,000, she presented her plan to senior management. Soon after Girly Girl Wines was born, and it is now owned and produced by Washington Wine & Beverage Company in Woodinville.
“Since we had our concept, it was time to produce and really focus on the quality of the wine,” said Ward. “And beacuse of that many of our wines have won awards.”
Though the name and labels of Girly Girl Wines are designed for women, Ward says there is a growing demand from men.
“Guys are skeptical and then they try our wines and almost every time they say ‘wow!’ " she said. "And really our wines are for all wine lovers.”
When asked about the secret to her success, Ward, who has a life-size cardboard cutout of her idol and inspiration, Bethenny Frankel, in her office, says it’s important to have mentors.
“Without the help of all the people in my life, Girly Girl wouldn’t be what it is today and Bethenny is one of those people!” Karen said. “It’s about vision, determination, and creating something you believe in.”