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Business booms for new online champagne start-up

Business booms for new online champagne start-up

Business is booming for Emperor, Australia's first online retailer dedicated to Champagne.

Launched at the end of 2017, Emperor features more than 100 different Champagnes - priced between $55 and $550 a bottle - and saw $200,000 in sales in its first two months of operation, withthe average order sizes around $400.

The concept is the brainchild of one of Australia’s most prominent champagne educators and consultants, Kyla Kirkpatrick (pictured above), who has successfully raised $1million in funding to launch Emperor.

Kirkpatrick was an ambassador for the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy empire in Sydney, before launching her own consultancy and education business, The Champagne Dame.

Kirkpatrick surveyed 1000 people from her 40,000 base at The Champagne Dame and asked their opinions on the current Australian champagne retail landscape and found they were generally being underserviced.

“Champagne lovers don’t see themselves like other wine drinkers," she tells Smart Company. "It’s the most expensive wine in the market and the most technically challenging to make, which means they’re more nuanced and special consumers.

“So why does that consumer want to go in Dan Murphy’s, get no service, and buy champagne that’s stacked next to hundreds of bottles of sparkling wine?”

Backed by two private investors to the tune of $1million, together with $250,000 of her own savings, Kirkpatrick used some of the funds for a custom built, climate controlled warehouse in Victoria. She is now in the final stages of a Series A raise, with four investors – two existing clients and two businessmen making up a $2 million round.

That money will go towards growing the business in international markets, including the purchase of a chateau in France for Emperor customer experiences.

She also wants to introduce a home delivery service later this year.

“Once we hit an equilibrium we plan to invest in our own drivers and logistics to offer a same-day, chilled delivery service, firstly in Melbourne, then Sydney,” Kirkpatrick told Fairfax Media.

“We want delivery men to turn up in a bow tie carrying a box of champagne in luxury wrapping. But it’s not easy to transport a product that doesn’t like light, heat or movement.”

Kirkpatrick is also building a vertical business with an import side, allowing the retailer to have better controls over margins and pricing.

“My true vision for the business is to be the voice of champagne in Australia. When you think of champagne, you think of Emperor,” she said.

Click here to take a look at Emperor.