Mother of two, Independent Wine Consultant and the manager of multiple rental properties, Senior Executive Director Diane Nozik is one very busy woman—doing in-home Wine Tastings one moment and conducting training calls while making dinner the next. With over 14 years of experience as a Wine Consultant, Diane has earned every Dream Vacation that we’ve held and she’s tasted and shared our wines with hundreds of people whose tastes range from the sweetest of sweets to the driest of dries. Her simple advice for those who may feel a bit intimidated by what they feel is their lack of knowledge about wine: “Pull the cork out of the bottle. Pour it in your glass. If you like it, it’s good wine.” In this month’s Wine Consultant spotlight interview, we chatted with Diane on a typically busy night about all things wine and WineShop, why she decided to become a Wine Consultant and what keeps her inspired and motivated in her wine biz.
First things first—why did you decide to join WineShop At Home?
To be honest, before WineShop At Home, I had tried and ‘flunked out’ of at least a dozen direct sales companies. But I liked the industry enough that I decided I was going to work on the corporate side of things. I was working full-time, newly married and my husband at the time was active-duty military. But I wanted a job that I could stay at home and earn a salary. I always say that I have fancy tastes, so I wanted to make decent money. But I also knew that I couldn’t do that in a traditional corporate environment.
I thought maybe I’d give direct selling one last shot and see if I could find a company whose products and culture resonated with me. I thought to myself, ‘If it doesn’t work this time, it’s the last time that I’m ever going to try and join a direct selling company’.
There were things I did not want. I did not want to represent a product where I had to be a scientific expert. I felt that with products like vitamins or chemistry-based products, I had to spend a lot of time convincing people. Nothing against traditional multi-level marketing companies, but I didn’t want to spend my life recruiting people to do an auto-ship. (I call it collecting Social Security numbers.) That can feel like asking for rejection because not everybody wants an auto-ship. Not everybody wants to join and be a rep. Not everybody wants to deal with inventory and deliver products. I didn’t want to purchase, house or manage inventory. I didn’t want to do deliveries. I didn’t want to be a product expert or ‘collect Social Security numbers’. I wanted to be able to recruit, I just didn’t want that to be the only way to be successful. I wanted to be able to say to somebody, ‘If you just want to go market this product you will make a healthy commission and you don’t ever have to build a team if you don’t want to’.
And my last deciding factor was the woman who actually originally recruited me. I thought if nothing else, I would learn from her. That was great by me.
What makes WineShop At Home wines special?
The wines are great. We wouldn’t still be here 15 years later, successful and profitable if the wine wasn’t amazing! We offer a wide variety, but it’s not just about the wines. I would describe them as a great mix of styles, varietals and price-points. You’re going to find something that you like. And, it’s okay to not like them all because we’re pouring for a wide range of palates. As I say at my Tastings, pull the cork out of the bottle, pour it in your glass. If you like it, it’s a good wine. There are no bad wines. There are just wines for different people.
What’s unique about doing Wine Tastings?
I think actually what’s unique about our Tastings is what makes us unique across the board. You get the experience of being in a local tasting room but with a much higher level of interaction and customer service. Yes, you can buy wine anywhere but how often can you have somebody lead you and your friends through a Wine Tasting like you would in a traditional tasting room? It’s part entertainment and part education. We’re not wine experts but we certainly do bring unique information to our Tastings and you’re not going to find that anywhere else.
What I love about our business is that I’m not asking our customers to only drink WineShop At Home wine, as I know they’re going to drink wine throughout the year. I just want to be a part of that picture and I’m okay with that. With a lot of these other companies, you’re really asking your customers to break a loyalty tie to something they already use and enjoy to switch to yours. I’m not saying to my mom, ‘Mom, you can’t ever drink Beringer white zin.’ But I might say, ‘Why don’t you try some of our blush wines?’ I get to be one part of the picture. I think that’s one of the things that makes WineShop At Home unique in the direct sales industry. Wine Consultants don’t have to be experts either. We’re not trying to convey that our potion is better than someone else’s potion. We’re just saying, ‘Hey, come to our Tastings to have a fun & educational wine experience.’ We don’t have to tell that person that they have to sign up for an auto-shipment and commit their whole life over to it.
Wine is not a normal consumable item. Wine is ultra-consumable because you’re going to buy it, gift it, enjoy it and use it in all sorts of ways.
And nothing against baskets, but if I sold baskets and my house was filled with baskets, I’d be the crazy basket lady. But I market wine and my house is filled with wine; I’m everybody’s best friend.
Why should someone experience a Tasting versus buying wine at the grocery store?
You don’t know what you’re going to get at the grocery store, or if you buy the same thing all of the time at the store, you’re going to be stuck in a wine rut. Who wants to gamble on a wine they haven’t tried before? Who wants to go to the store and buy a $10, $20, maybe $30 bottle of wine, get home and not like it? Yes, we have customers that buy wine that they haven’t tried but I provide them with recommendations based on what they like. At the grocery store, you’re not going to get that up-front personal service or the try-before-you-buy experience. Plus, you’re supporting a local business and you’re supporting, more than likely, a local mom who loves wine, educates you about wine and wants you to have a great experience.
What makes WineShop At Home different?
The people. I’ve never seen a company in all my years that is as inclusive and supportive as WineShop At Home. I’ve been a part of a lot of direct sales companies—a lot of companies that just weren’t me. They didn’t really fit me. I think we have amazing people on the corporate side and on the Wine Consultant side. With a direct selling business, you don’t expect that you’re going to meet some of your closest friends—even with the Hosts at my Tastings, the doors have been open.
I realize that a lot of times people want to work at home and want to do everything through social media. I’m 40 and I get it. I’d like to hide behind my cell phone all day too. But as you get older, your circles get smaller and smaller, and your exposure gets smaller. When you walk out the door six or eight times a month and you’re in front of people in their living room, you’re making connections. I would never have come in contact with so many people if I didn’t do this. I manage a large portfolio of rental properties, which is another of my passions. All of them have basically been funded from my WineShop At Home income. That’s how I bought my first property—through a connection that I met at a Tasting. So many of the amazing things in my life have come from people I’ve met at Wine Tastings. I can legitimately say that I make a solid six-figure income.
There are some basic sales skills needed to do what I do, but what people are most afraid of with direct sales is rejection and being pigeon-holed as one of ‘those’ people. You never have that with WineShop. It’s the only direct selling company I know where you can walk into a room—whether it’s a roomful of business people or a roomful of moms—and when someone says ‘what do you do?’ and you say, ‘I’m a Wine Consultant,’ everybody turns their heads and wants to talk to you.
WineShop At Home offers many opportunities to earn an income. Our artisan wines and in-home Wine Tastings are the primary components of our business but we also have Wine Club Memberships and gifting options. For instance, our Personalized Wine program is great to market to local businesses, offering them the opportunity to put their corporate logo on thank you gifts or holiday gifts. We have arenas and avenues that other traditional or typical direct selling companies don’t. Not everyone’s side hustle is as fun. I can honestly say that when I go out and do a Tasting, I’ve had fun. I believe you need to find the right fit for you. But if you like wine, you want to make money and you want to have fun, then this is a great option for you. It’s not easy—it’s still work—but it’s work that we’re all happy about and enjoy!
What has your wine business allowed you to do for yourself and your family?
It’s allowed us to buy our first house, travel, take downtime and upgrade every aspect of my family’s life. (I’m all about being debt-free but you’ve got to live a little!) I never thought I would travel internationally, let alone internationally and first-class as much as I have because of my WineShop At Home business. It’s allowed me to stay at home with my kids. I’ve been able to afford full-time help. It’s allowed me to do everything I’ve wanted to do. No yachts, mansions or Ferraris—but I don’t have to worry about groceries or my mortgage getting paid. I’m able to live consumer debt-free and my kids’ college funds are already set aside. I am so grateful for it all.
What’s something you have learned since joining WineShop At Home? Has your experience changed you?
I’ve learned that I can’t ever stop learning. I have learned that I don’t know it all. You just don’t stop learning. One of the benefits of this business is that you’re constantly learning, teaching and growing. I learn as much from the people who I work with as I do from myself.
What’s your favorite wine pairing?
My favorite pairing with a glass of wine is the glass! In all seriousness, right now I’m totally loving these limoncello almonds—it’s an almond covered with white chocolate and lemon and they are the most amazing pairing with white wines like Sauvignon Blanc. Everybody always thinks that they should pair chocolate with red wine but actually chocolate, even dark chocolate, is an equally amazing pairing with many white wines. As I always say, enjoy wine the way you want it!
Interested in becoming a Wine Consultant like Diane? Find more information here.