Have you ever had an “Aha!” moment when you suddenly see a connection between all the things you’ve done in life. For me it seems blindingly obvious now, but the common thread was a rich career spent in storytelling and story creation. I came to realize that great stories are at the very foundation of who we are and how we communicate.
Vinfabula now has established a stable of clients both large and small, predominantly in the wine business. For smaller entities the work can be 'whole operation' business consulting, but we specialize in brand positioning through story, brand narrative alignment, and onsite customized staff and sales storytelling training.
My wine based stories appear in multiple newspapers and magazines and I have occasion to speak or contribute on the subject of storytelling at various trade and public gatherings.
I joined Larkmead Vineyards before the winery was built and spent a very productive and rewarding decade building the year on year double digit growth. The power and focus of our story was instrumental. Our enviable transformation to the 'direct to consumer' model and high quality customer referral business was remarkable. The owner Cam Baker was a rigorous mentor and my final position was General Manager.
Working with Leslie Rudd proved to be the epitome of American entrepreneurship for a Scot who had emigrated to this country without expecting to stay. Five years with him may have been like ten with anyone else but the opportunities to learn and grow and to earn responsibility under his tutelage would be hard to replicate. Leslie was fascinated by the search for authentic stories in luxury brands. Building the distillery on Pier 50 in San Francisco and formulating the gin recipe for Distillery 209 was an incredible opportunity. My final position was Project Manager and Distiller.
BBC Radio Scotland
There can be few things more terrifying than silence on live national radio. At the BBC we were working to very tight deadlines and often under a great deal of pressure. We found and researched our own stories locally and internationally and pulled in the best speakers to studios to be interviewed. As a BBC Producer, this training in the art of the story was priceless. My Senior Producer, Jeff Zycinski, later became the Head of Radio Scotland. He was a great mentor and was relentless in his search for creative opportunities. I also had a chance to pitch, produce, and present some of my own program ideas, which were then aired on Radio Scotland.
The witchery tours
The streets of Edinburgh can be scary. After leaving a management post in the hotel industry my business partner and I set up a night time street theater walking tour business for locals. The genre did not exist in the city prior to our 'invention.' By the end of the decade our tour and characters were famous. We were featured constantly on many travel and lifestyle programs both home and abroad. The exposure had a significant influence on the re-vitalization of the Old Town of Edinburgh. By making every mistake you can make, we became experts in the field of entertaining story telling. We trained and employed a large staff tour guide entertainers.