What Does It Mean to Be Independent in Today’s Business Climate?
Longevity, focus, and human values.
Over the past year, a number of current and prospective clients have asked us about our plans for Offset.
Given the recent mergers, acquisitions, and closures of other wine commerce and design companies, it’s smart to ask existential questions of any core partner you hope to work with for a long time. Our vision for Offset, to whom we are beholden, and how all of that might inform our products and services is a conversation we welcome – and one we realize should be transparent to all our clients and collaborators, not just the ones who’ve asked.
Most critically – we’re not going anywhere
We’ve operated as a self-sustaining, profitable business ever since we first bootstrapped our way into commerce technology and brand design 14 years ago. We’ve steadily grown to a team of 22, a size justified by the business we have, not aspirational market share.
Operating independently keeps us out of the venture capitalist “grow or die” matrix. Could investment help us grow and build faster? Maybe. But by staying scrupulously right-sized for our revenue ensures our longevity and resilience against market pressures. We love what we do and who we get to work with — we’re not interested in jeopardizing that.
Our independence allows us to focus on the segments of the industry we serve best
While wine may already be a niche within the ecommerce and design worlds, it’s a tremendously tribal vertical. High-touch and brand-sensitive are the overarching commonalities of the tribe we specialize in. More specifically, our wheelhouse clients on the commerce technology side are allocated producers, high-touch retailers, and wine businesses with custom development needs.
Our brand services clients are similarly niched, requiring a design partner that understands the nuance of the wine industry well enough to honor tradition yet also push into truly unique territory, be it branding, story and content direction, package design, or digital experiences.
These types of wine businesses represent a small fraction of the industry. It simply doesn’t pencil out for a larger tech or design company to cater to their edge-case needs. By not needing that kind of scale, we get to double down on this segment of the industry that fortuitously is also full of our favorite wineries, wines, and people.
Without the pressure to scale, we can prioritize human values
Our commitment to a people-first philosophy is deeply ingrained. Born into families of artists and small-business owners, we learned early on that business can be a platform for creation, growth, and contributing positively to our community.
Being raised in the Napa Valley strengthened these beliefs; we grew up around countless bootstrapped wineries and wine businesses that have become industry legends. These icons, many of whom we’re proud to call clients, have greatly inspired both the structure of Offset and the work we do.
This isn’t to say we’re dogmatic. We admire many wine, tech, and design companies that have thrived with outside funding. However, for Offset, maintaining our independence allows us to focus intently on our team, clients, and the unique niches within the industry we are passionate about serving.