Your name: Christine Komons
How many years have you been living life in the Foreign Service?
Where have you been posted?
Paris, France; Doha, Qatar; Taipei, Taiwan
What is the name of your business?
Cru Creative Marketing Services
Briefly describe your business:
I work with artisan wineries who are committed to crafting excellent wine and cultivating quality relationships. As a writer, graphic designer, and seasoned direct-to-consumer winery professional, I am able to blend marketing strategy and creative execution into an efficient, effective process.
My areas of expertise include: wine club creation and communications; brand development; direct to consumer marketing materials; online messaging; POS materials; and label design.
Why did you start this business?
I resigned my role as Marketing Communications Director for a Napa Valley winery when my husband was hired by DOS. I have been working as a project consultant for several California wineries since then.
When did you start this business?
1 June 2008
What makes you stand out from your competitors? What makes your business unique?
With over 15 years of wine industry experience, a writing degree, a graphic design degree, and an advanced wine certification, I can serve as a one-stop-shop for creative services needs.
How does your business fit into the Foreign Service lifestyle?
The time difference works to my advantage! I can meet with a client in California via Skype as their day is winding down and mine is starting up. Then, based on the discussion, I can work while they sleep and deliver a product by first thing in the morning. It’s incredibly efficient!
What has been your biggest challenge with your business so far?
There is a feeling of insecurity being so far away from clients.
What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
I am so thrilled that I have been able to grow my client base through word of mouth over the past 6+ years. I feel so lucky to maintain my professional life as I see the world!
Which resources do you use to maintain your business?
I keep track of my hours worked and issue invoices through curdbee.com. It definitely keeps me organized.
Skype Premium has been a huge help when I need to host multiperson video calls. I also maintain a California phone number through Skype. I have interacted with some clients who weren’t even aware that I was halfway across the world.
Any advice for any EFMs thinking about starting their own business?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to former business contacts. Find out what is needed and figure out how you can effectively fill the need.
Are you on LinkedIn?
See my profile here.