I’m fascinated with technology. Especially when technology helps small businesses compete on nearly the same level as their larger competitors and peers. The goal with this series is to promote all the goodness of using free / low-cost technology pieces to help support and promote small businesses.
Jennifer J. Jenkin is one of those people who you meet once and never forget. Her love for wine and community-building is as infectious as her charm. Jennifer has been invested in the wine business for a very long time and is using technology to help expand her company’s message.
I’ve known Jenn my entire life – she’s my sister. While I am certainly biased, there aren’t many people in this world that can match her drive, devotion, passion, and love for her family – which all come shining through when you walk into the Pamo Valley Tasting Room.
Who are you?
I own one of San Diego’s few woman-owned wineries. My passion is owning and running a small business where I can grow and produce an agricultural product of my own creation, and market and share it with others who enjoy the beauty of wine.
In the last 6 months, we have established a local retail outlet and a strong following from all over California and beyond who come together and develop new friendships. These people, with all their differences, all have one thing in common – they enjoy good wine with good friends. Nothing tickles me more than watching people be happy and enjoying themselves, all having come together through Pamo Valley Wines.
What have you been up to lately?
I’ve been focused on putting more effort into promoting my business via social networking, nurturing my wine in barrels, thinking about my future, trying to come to terms that I will be 40 in a few months, laughing and meeting new friends at the Wine Tasting Room, taking care of my grandma and spoiling my dogs to death.
How did you end up in Ramona?
If I remember correctly, I went to 14 different schools growing up, so I moved around a lot. Born in Palm Springs, I spent most of my time in San Jose. At 26, I was ready for a change and moved to Melbourne, Australia after meeting a guy on the Internet. After 6 years I realized I wanted to get married, have kids and own my own business. I moved back to California with my mom and grandma who live in Ramona.
As a city girl, I decided that I was going to try life in San Diego. Ramona is very country, not city-like whatsoever. After living with my family for a few months in Ramona, my mom advised me to get involved with the local chamber of commerce in order to meet new people. I’ve never been involved in a chamber of commerce before.
Within 6 months I was engaged (remember I wanted to get married) and became very active within my community in particular our business community. I loved feeling a part of something and being able to make a difference. The marriage was short lived, no kids were had but a business was born.
As I look back, all of my life situations have been stepping stones to bring me where I am today and will continue to take me to where I want to be in the future. I’m doing what I enjoy and what I want to do. I am in a good place and that place is Ramona.
Your business isn’t technology-focused by nature, how do you make it worthwhile?
We are certainly not a technology-focused business. But technology has so many tools to offer to our business that help us get the word out in a relatively inexpensive way. Things I love: emailing out weekly “thank you” notes to our visitors encouraging them to share their experience on yelp.com.
Facebook, Twitter, websites, blogs. You can learn so much by checking out competition on these networks and your message can go really far through friends-of-friends. Google Analytics – it’s amazing to see your statistics!
Any recent additions to your technology family?
An iPhone! I can’t pull myself away from it! I’m glad I made the move when I did. It’s really been a step up for me and a much needed tool to keep me and my business in the loop, and to quickly broadcast my business to others!
Who should I chat with next?
Garrett Marsh of Southern California Wine Company!
Interviewed: December 20, 2011