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Hidden Gems: Meet Kenya Johnson of Wicks and Wines

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kenya Johnson.

Hi Kenya, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I’m not a defiant employee at all but in my own special way, it’s important to let the management of the company know that in order for me to be productive, I require traveling and it may take an extra Friday a month to get in a quick trip away. Of course, co-workers pay attention to the huge smiles coming in on Monday mornings. So they would ask about my weekends and I gave them the juice. I noticed that these same women loved hearing my stories but couldn’t see themselves doing what I do. I began to share that I don’t spend a lot of money, I told them that I research events, hotels and restaurants in the cities I’m visiting. I sign up for classes, ride around the neighborhoods, and become familiar with the place for the next time we visit. I found that my love for research was not for everybody. They didn’t want to do the planning, nor researching such trips, so I did it for them. I enjoyed that they were getting out and spending time learning new things. I saw a way to monetize this passion. I planned my first trip my business as a Birthday trip. There was a wine festival the same weekend so I planned it. I got friends together and took a group of beautiful ladies to Athens Wine Weekend. Up until the pandemic, we went every year for six years. Now I get to meet so many wonderful women from all walks of life. I get to pamper them, introduce them to something new, and create an exclusive experience. I put networking on wheels.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
This has been a very bumpy road. I quit my full-time job to pursue this full-time. I found really quickly that my passion didn’t equate t dollars like I thought. I have a knack for creating my own position. I asked a bus driver if I could be his Director of Marketing so that I learn and meet my target market. This wasn’t a conflict at all because he only wanted to drive his bus where ever he was told to go. It was hard staying productive during the weeks as the tours were mostly weekends. I went back to work. In 2020 the beginning of the pandemic hadn’t changed my life much as I was still working full time just remotely. Right in the middle of the year, my 18-year-old son was killed in a car accident coming home from a weekend trip July 6th. The day before, I did a pre-launch for our pivot product a wine-themed coloring book and never looked at it again until the fall. We are in a re-launch phase right now.

We’ve been impressed with Wicks and Wines, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
People turn to us for amazing one-day getaways. We create itineraries to enhance your knowledge of wine but mostly to enjoy the picturesque wineries in the South-Eastern region of the country. The views are spectacular and are great for selfies in the vines. We visit wineries with award-winning wines for our client’s sipping pleasures… We are a boutique touring company. Our experiences are exclusive to the group. By adding a little shopping, brunch, lunch and other interest you get to enjoy the day at your pace. We are proud of a brand that stands strong on customer service. We love that our tours bring repeat business as no one gets bored. We have done Besties and Berries, a trip to the orchard and a tasting of fruit wine. We’ve done a catered lunch and tastings in the vineyard. The treat was the short walk through the muscadine and picking our own to bring home. You can book your own trip with five other friends because during the pandemic we’re not booking tours to groups that don’t know each other. Go to our website and answer a few questions to let us know what you’d like to do. You’ll get an email in return with details.

What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
There’s only so much you can learn as you go. Before you begin, know the basics of business to protect yourself. I hired an attorney after a young lady at a conference told me “you better trade-mark that name I’m going to get that one”. I learned to create a contract from the bus driver. Just basic things.

Pricing:

  • Tour for 2 $169 includes tastings, meal, and transportation
  • $125 per person for group of 6 or more includes tastings at 3 wineries, non alcoholic drinks, snacks and transportation
  • $25 Women in wine themed coloring book

Contact Info:

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