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Minority Business Highlight:  Stephanie Franklin turned her passion into a career with Fly Wines

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Stephanie Franklin decided to leave her corporate job in tech and turn her passion for wine into a business. Now, she has created Fly Wines, a wholesale and distribution company providing unique wines.

Franklin partners with independent wineries from underrepresented countries, for example Turkey, to give wine lovers in the U.S. a one-of-a-kind experience. Franklin says her wines offer a peek into the culture of these countries while allowing wineries to reach customers in the U.S.

For Franklin, Fly Wines combines passion and work, and her decision to start the company comes from turning tragedy into triumph.

After the passing of her mother and a close friend in a short period, Franklin decided to use the lessons her mother gave her and how she lived her life as examples for her own life.

Franklin was working in marketing and advertising for the tech industry but was not enjoying it. Shortly after her mother’s passing, she reevaluated her life, realized there needed to be a change, and decided to go full force into the wine industry.

“I always enjoyed wines, understanding wines, so it seemed like a perfect marriage between how I really wanted to live my current authentic life. I can keep doing the same ol’ same ol’, and I can make good money, but am I really fulfilled?” Franklin said.

She then started the research and work necessary to make Fly Wines a profitable business. Franklin has always been curious and loved learning, so when it came to wine – something she enjoys – she used that curiosity for wine to help propel her through the logistics of starting a wine business.

She had to learn how to create a distribution company and work with the Alcohol Bureau Control, the FDA and other agencies to obtain licenses to start Fly Wines. Through all this work, Franklin says she focused on one step at a time, always staying present in the moment instead of looking toward the finish line.

“I always tell people, if I had seen from the beginning how much it would take to get here, I probably would have been overwhelmed.”

Now, her work is coming to fruition through Fly Wines. Her business is unique because she sources the wineries herself with her sommelier, Giuliano Manno. Together, they focus on finding independent wineries, which Franklin says adds exclusivity to Fly Wines.

According to Franklin, many wines consumers drink are made in the same regions, so wine will start to take on similar tastes. She explained that cabernets grown in similar regions and climates will begin to give the consumer a “linear” idea of what a cabernet should taste like.

By finding and creating relationships with wineries from lesser-known regions, she can offer wines with deeper flavors, unique smells and characteristics consumers would not usually see.

In countries commonly known for wine, like Italy, focusing on lesser-known regions produces wine with a different drinking experience.

“Yes, Italian wines are well known, but then you’ll understand, once you dig into it, that Italian wines mostly come from one particular region, so the other regions don’t get much visibility. So, that focus on independent wineries helps to create exclusivity and a reach beyond the norm and allows us to enhance the palettes of the American consumers of wine.”

By traveling to these wineries in different countries and working with independent wineries, Franklin can provide products only available through Fly Wines.

“We work with independent wineries from around the world and we bring them to the US exclusively, so all of these wines that you experience through us can only be found through us because we have exclusive partnerships and relationships,” Franklin said.

You can purchase a wine-tasting kit that samples different wines through her website. She also provides a wine subscription program for consumers to try full bottles of wine from the independent wineries she works with. Through the subscription program, members get bottles of wine shipped to them monthly, with shipping and handling already included in the price. Go to Flywines.club to expand your palette and try one-of-a-kind wines today.

Contact Racial Justice Reporter Garrett Simms at 317-762-7847

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