Amanda Thomson is the passionate CEO and Founder of Thomson & Scott, winner of the EY Winning Women 2017, Le Cordon Bleu Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 and DIT Export Champion 2019.
The creator of Skinny Champagne and Skinny Prosecco, she is leading the transparency in wine movement by creating a company that asks consumers to demand what’s in their bottles. By example, Thomson & Scott produces top quality Champagne and Prosecco with as little intervention as possible in the production process and highlights its vegan and organic credentials.
Raised on a vegetarian, no sugar diet by her health-conscious mother, Amanda Thomson has always had a keen interest in what’s in her food. A lover of Champagne and sparkling wine, she discovered that there was more than just grapes and alcohol in her favourite drinks.
After a successful career as an Arts Broadcaster at the BBC, Amanda moved her young family to Paris and studied for her Diploma in Wine at the renowned Le Cordon Bleu School. Her brand now sells in key territories around the world including the U.S., Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Mexico and Hong Kong.
In an effort to be the first wine company to also put a real focus on wine packaging and its harmful impact on the environment, all its own deliveries are made with packaging that is 100 per cent recyclable.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I’m Amanda Thomson, founder and CEO of Thomson & Scott, shifting the global wine industry to focus on asking the one simple question; What’s in your bottle?
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
Yes and No. I’ve always been driven if that’s relevant.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Is that a trick question? Building a business, any business from a blank sheet of paper is almost impossibly hard and requires insane amounts of focus, graft, self-belief and resilience. I am so awe-inspired now by those alongside me who have undertaken the entrepreneurial journey (since I now know exactly what it entails), and made it to whichever stage (perceived success or failure) as the journey is nothing like the romantic vision the media and those looking outside in seem to think it might be. Though truthfully we do all still manage a little fun along the way! It’s the work hard/play hard vibe.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Creating my own Champagne and wine brand completely from scratch and now selling it successfully all over the world in obvious terms I guess. More philosophically and importantly, that my seemingly impossible vision to shift the global wine industry towards transparency of labelling and purity of wine – cutting sugar, being organic and as sustainable as possible is starting to come to fruition. Now, my mantra “Drink Beautifully or Don’t drink at all” doesn’t seem crazy for those who study trends. My portfolio comes full circle with the much anticipated launch of Noughty, our beautiful organic, vegan alcohol-free sparkling wine.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
Vision/graft. (Can that count as one?)
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
Often – sporadically, whenever I can find the time. It makes me so happy. I say sporadically because I believe you can empower and inspire people in unexpected ways, not just in formal settings. I recently helped a depressed barista return to their real love – graphic design just through a chat and then spreading the word via my network about their talents. Funnily enough, I just had a Linked In message today from a guy who said “I left the corporate world and am now doing biz dev for a start-up. I want to say thanks because the one conversation we had helped me take the decision to try something new.” That was super touching.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?
Equal pay for all immediately – Oh and female architect designed loos so no more of our time wasted queueing.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Life is short, make it really count.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
Global domination for Thomson & Scott. Yes, truly. See Q8.