Inspirational Woman: Anna Smith | Founder, Words With Wine

Anna Smith

My name is Anna Smith, I currently live in Edinburgh Scotland but I am originally from Aberdeen.

I started my career in an Events role in London after securing a degree in Events Management at RGU. Following a career break to travel the world for a year, I set up my first business – a luxury wedding and events company in Edinburgh. Realising there wasn’t a massive need for a luxury wedding planner in Edinburgh I decided to go back to agency work. During the pandemic and following a redundancy, I came up with the idea for Words With Wine.  Whilst reminiscing about my separate book club and wine club that I attended before lockdown, I felt that I was missing the community aspect that both clubs offered. Never straying far from my go to wine or book genre, I decided to combine the two and create the UK’s first wine and book subscription.

A truly unique subscription box, Words With Wine sends subscribers a book of the month, along with a full size bottle of wine to enjoy whilst reading your book. You choose your subscription – monthly, bi monthly, one time purchase or a gift box. What’s in the box is a secret until it arrives. Each box contains a full size bottle of wine, the book of the month and an information card. Then customers can head to the online bookclub to discuss the book of the month with other members and share photos. Non alcoholic options are also available. 

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I did early on in my career. I always loved events and thought that was where I would always be. I had a 5-year plan of working my way up in the company I worked for then moving to a different style of events. Obviously that didn’t go to plan and I am now on a totally different path. But, I believe everything happens for the right reasons at the right time, so for now, I do have a business plan and goal for the next 5 years but I’m focused on what can I do just now.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Yes many. Redundancies, business failures. Closing down my first business was very hard for me. I always dreamed of being a wedding planner and thought it was finally happening. Realising there wasn’t a big enough market in Edinburgh and not wanting to move back to London I had to make the decision to stop.

Starting a product-based business has also been a challenge and learning experience for me. Having never worked in a product based business before it was exciting and scary at the same time. Luckily there are some great online resources and I’ve worked with some amazing companies who have helped and taught me along the way.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Selling 27 boxes on the day my business launched. It was almost half of the full amount in the first day. For a small fairly unknown company, this was amazing to see.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success? 

Believing in myself and my product and not letting other peoples opinions overcloud my own judgement. It’s great to have support and help from family and friends, I wouldn’t be where I am today without it, but sometimes there is too many opinions and you need to do what is best for you and your company. When I started Words With Wine, I had a clear image of what I wanted to offer and I have stuck to that. Even when people have suggested otherwise, I have a vision and that’s what I’m following.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I would be open to being mentored but I don’t think I have the right experience yet to mentor someone looking to get into the same field. In a few years time I would love to be able to help someone.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

It’s difficult to just pick one thing, I think there is still a lot to change and advance on to make it truly equal. Gender pay gap and more women in senior positions is a great place to start. No one should be paid any less or more based on their gender, the same goes for no one should be promoted over another person based on their gender. Pay and promotion should be based on ability to do the job, not on your gender.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

To trust my instinct and believe in myself. No matter you do, you aren’t going to please everyone, and that’s okay. Do what’s best for you and the right people will support you and be in your life.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

The next challenge is to grow Words With Wine. I’m only 4 months in and there are still a lot of people who have never heard of Words With Wine, but need it in their lives.

My goals are to spread the word across the UK and build up a really strong customer base.

The goal is to increase to 1000 subscribers per month by the end of year 1 and 10,000 by the end of year 5, so my focus over the next year is growth, awareness and continuing to develop the products and brand to suit the customers.

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