60 seconds of smart business advice from Rowan Gormley

17 November 2014

Video

South African-born entrepreneur Rowan Gormley is founder of Naked Wines. A former accountant and former head of Virgin Money, Virgin Wines and, later, Orgasmic Wines, Gormley founded Naked in 2008.

Naked Wines funds independent wine producers and ships wine throughout the UK, US and Australia. It crowdfunds wines via its 225,000 members, or “angels”, as it describes them, almost 150,000 of them in Britain.

Naked's 'Angel' members pay £20 per month into a pot that gives the company £5m of purchasing power every month. This money, which is used to support small, independent winemakers and bring exclusive wines to members at wholesale prices. The idea is that by committing early and financing the same growers year after year, the angel money allows the growers to focus on quality rather than volume.

Angels are also encouraged to join groups and chat to other wine-lovers, share tips and recommendations. The work seems to have paid off. In 2014, Naked Wines recorded profits of almost £2m, on global sales of £53m, up 40 per cent in just a year.

Here, Rowan Gormley talks about why it’s important to keep on top of what your competitors are doing…and do the exact opposite.