How I launched an all Australian made and owned wine brand during covid lockdown

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Just A Glass founder image
Amber Duggan (founder)
Founded: Nov 2020
No of employees: 1
Location: Australia

Just a Glass Australia is a vegan and low-preservative piccolo wine company that sends single glass wines directly to their customers’ doors. The company was founded by Amber Duggan, who grew up on a farm in the Victorian Otway region. This gave her a strong connection to agriculture, sparking her desire to start a brand that showcases wine from her local area.

Just a Glass Australia offers a unique by-the-glass experience, allowing customers to enjoy one quality glass or many single glass wines at a time instead of an entire bottle. Amazingly, Amber built the brand during the midst of the Melbourne lockdown, so we chat with her to find out how she achieved this. 

Who are you and what brand did you start?

My name is Amber and I’m the founder of Just a Glass, Australia’s first vegan and low preservative premium piccolo range that is all Australian made and owned.

Throughout my life, my connection to the land and produce has remained strong. This was born through my family's connection to agriculture and my early years growing up on a farm in the Victorian Otway region. This experience and exposure to nature taught me about the importance of taking care of the land around you and valuing nurturing its produce. I think my passion for locally grown produce alongside my love of the land, ignited my desire to start a brand which showcased produce from my local region and offered wine lovers a unique and curated wine-by-the-glass experience.

And so, in 2020, I launched Just a Glass Australia, which is a celebration of Victoria’s grape-growing regions, catering for those who appreciate a glass of quality wine.

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BRAND IDEA - how did you come up with the idea for Just A Glass?

Just a Glass Australia aims to showcase Victorian winemaking via a unique wine-by-the-glass experience.

The idea came from recognising that not everyone wants to open a whole bottle. Rather, they’d prefer to savour one quality glass of wine at a time, or a selection of single glass premium wines at a time.

This is where my idea for Just a Glass Australia was born.


BRAND LAUNCH - take us through how you launched Just A Glass.

The brand was built during COVID 2020, in the midst of Melbourne's major lockdown.

There were so many challenges during the development phase however I focused on building an incredible team around me to bring the brand to life. I had meetings with packaging teams over my front fence and contactless prototypes dropped at my door. I did wine tastings via door drops to neighbors in my street and lost count of the number of zoom meetings. I knew from the very beginning that I wanted every inch of the brand to be Australian made, and I think by working with other local small business to bring the brand to life from artwork to packaging meant that the process was very personal and the relationships I built with those people and businesses are now like an extended part of our team.

I had a clear brand strategy in mind when looking to launch Just a Glass Australia. I wanted to create a connection with people about who the brand was and what it stood for even before a single product was available. I did this using social media platforms Facebook and Instagram and used those to start to build my email database about 2-3 months before I launched. It may seem like a long lead-time, but it gave me a chance to find my feet, build my audience which by the time we hit go on the website we had hundreds of subscribers on our email list and over 1000 followers on Instagram.


ONLINE STORE SETUP - what are your top 2 tips for successful Ecommerce store setup.

  1. If possible, build things yourself - I used shopify to build my website. This came after months of looking to outsource the built, and realising that I should do it myself. I did so with the helpful support team and learnt so much in the process. I do recommend you research which apps to add, which templates best suit your product or service and don’t be afraid to invest where it really matters.
  2. Email databases- they are vital. You own it and by collecting email subscribers before I launched meant I had an engaged audience just as excited as I was about our products and who were ready and waiting to support the business when we went live.


CUSTOMER RETENTION - what has worked best to attract and retain customers?

I’m a big believer in service and problem solving.

They say almost 80% of new business growth is generated from 20% of clients. And I know from my business I have seen this through referrals, and return customers. I remember pre-Christmas as we were only a week live and it was a really hectic time, we had launched in the midst of lockdown lifting and the Christmas rush. Australia Post, our major fulfillment network, was struggling and I just had to problem shoot things that were really out of my hands. But the feedback I got from customers when I went above and beyond really made it all worth it.

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SOCIAL - what are your top 2 tips for successful use of social media to engage with customers.

  1. Consistency - stay active and keep consistent with your marketing.
  2. Be authentic - There is so much choice online and it has become harder and harder to stop the scroll. I try to ensure my content is authentic to my brand, authentic to why they found and followed in the first place and provide something back to my audience when I can.


MANAGING CHANGE - what are the top 2 tips you’d suggest others adopt to safeguard their business.

  1. As we launched in the middle of a pandemic I think it has given us a good indication of how that can impact business and what we can do to pivot our offering as it happens.
  2. I would say plan. Plan your messaging and plan your pivot, even recently with the Melbourne lockdown it was a moment where I had to change brand strategy and messaging at a very quick rate to ensure my marketing was relevant and full of empathy.


FUTURE BUSINESS PLANS - how is Just A Glass doing today and what does the future look like?

Just a Glass Australia is really at the starting point of its journey and I have really exciting plans for where I see the brand going and growing into the future. Which this space.


ENTREPRENEUR INSIGHTS - what has been your biggest learning experience since starting Just A Glass?

Trust your gut instinct and surround yourself with people who support you and who you trust. It can be a lonely time as a startup business if you are running it on your own, however it doesn’t have to be. I was fortunate to find passionate and supportive people throughout the building phase of the business who really believed in me and offered advice and a sounding board when I needed it, and I will never take that for granted.

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ONLINE BUSINESS TOOLS - what are the business software tools you couldn't live without?

  • Canva - I know I have already mentioned it, but it really is worth its weight in GOLD. I believe utilising this tool to its full extent is a great investment and branding tool.
  • Xero - I use this for finance management and have nothing but good things to say so far about the tool.

See what tools other founders use here.


INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE ‘shout-out’ - who have been the most influential people for you during your brand journey?

This is a really beautiful question as it really makes you stop and think.

I am so fortunate that I have had so many people support me and encouraged me to jump into the deep end.

My husband has been a constant in giving me the confidence to build and launch the brand, he trusted my vision from day one and has never questioned it. Having someone’s constant belief in you in really something special.

I was also fortunate that my parents have been small business owners their whole lives on a working farm, so their encouragement and advice has been and continues to be so important to me. They always say no risk no reward and that is very true. If it was comfortable to start a business then everyone would do it.


FINAL WORDS OF INSPO - for other aspiring entrepreneurs.

Never let anyone believe in you more than you believe in yourself. Believe in yourself and anything is possible.


Latest offers & promotions - where can we go to learn more about your latest offers and promotions?

You can find us online via our Just A Glass website, our Instagram and or our Facebook page. a the following links.


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