Robert Pelletier of Grapestars: “Funding is essential”

Don’t follow trends, but be a trend setter, in other words, stand out from the competition. Funding is essential. Perseverance. This is what it took to create Grapestars. It is a going concern so we fight every day no matter what. As part of my series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Create […]

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Don’t follow trends, but be a trend setter, in other words, stand out from the competition. Funding is essential.

Perseverance. This is what it took to create Grapestars. It is a going concern so we fight every day no matter what.

As part of my series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Create a Successful App or SaaS”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Robert Pelletier. He believes entrepreneurial thinking can change the world. He is one of the leading brand experts in the country. Perhaps considered one of the most inspiring people in the creative industry. Robert Pelletier has financially engineered and co- founded public traded companies. Co-founding WaterBank of America (USA) Inc. along with North American Spring Water, Chase Communication Network and Talent Corp.

His talent and creativity have allowed him to lead the direction for many other successful companies in branding and financing. Some of his creative opportunities include the Lise Watier Cosmetics Group, Talent Corporation, Ocean Drive Magazine, Gianni Versace, Alliance Atlantis Vivafilm, Icerocks, Apogee Jets,, Starshop, Tosca, Upriver, Global Water Asset, KeyFetch and more.

With a background in finance and successes in branding, Mr. Pelletier has been recognized in the media by Time magazine, Entrepreneur magazine, Forbes, NBC, and more. Located in Miami Florida, currently he has been developing GRAPESTARS.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family with extensive knowledge in business and finance. Being an Entrepreneur is a privilege that comes with a lot of responsibilities but I live under the same rules as Shakespeare, “Before you quit, try. Before you die, live.” The idea of making something better is what stimulates me the most.

What was the “Aha Moment” that led you to think of the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?

The inspiration came many years ago when my brother JJ (Co-founder) was in LA and ordered a bottle of Miraval from Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. He then contacted me to brainstorm on how we could create a business affiliated with celebrity wines and spirits. We came to identify a mobile application that would allow consumers to easily have access to celebrity products.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

Many stories come to mind, but one in particular was from a company that we hired to code our mobile app. It was by far the most amazing disaster I’ve ever experienced. We designed the UI/IX and gave them the files to code. They failed so badly that we had to fire them and start from scratch with another firm. Four months wasted. Perseverance is key in business. Never give up, but the ability to adapt fast to a situation is also important considering many factors such as technology progress and consumer’s expectations.

So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

Oh this is not a success yet. The game just started. Ask me this question in a few more years.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

When we first started Grapestars, we hired a law firm from Napa Valley to educate us regarding the three-tier system and the complexity of the alcohol industry in the US. While I was in Napa Valley with my son, we decided to stop at their office for me to simply introduce myself in person. As a result of my 15 minute visit just to say “hello,” a month later, I was billed 1000 dollars for that visit. I read a quote once that said “The lawyer with a briefcase can steal more money than the man with a gun.”

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I believe Grapestars stands out from the competition simply because of its UI/UX experience. We took extra steps to maximize a visual improvement from our competitors that are usually not really appealing. I believe we’ve created a new standard.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Simple! Try to design a great experience for the users.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

One of my mentors is a very fortunate man. He always says “every day is a Saturday”. I envy him. This mentor of mine is extremely helpful with real, valuable comments. He’s not easily impressed but he’s someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself. As for the story, he was there when no one else was and I’m privileged to know him and share a true friendship with him and his wonderful wife.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Approximately how many users or subscribers does your app or software currently have? Can you share with our readers three of the main steps you’ve taken to build such a large community?

Within just a few months from launching, Grapestars gained tens of thousands of users growing every day. When a celebrity posts their products on social media using a Grapestars deep link to purchase, and a follower from that celebrity opens the link, he or she becomes a Grapestars user.

What is your monetization model? How do you monetize your community of users? Have you considered other monetization options? Why did you not use those?

Grapestars is a game-changing online specialty wine and craft spirits marketplace which allows celebrities and celebrity-endorsed brands to promote their wines and spirits directly to their followers on social media. For the first time ever, celebrities and brands now have a virtual, direct to consumer sales channel that is fully compliant with state and federal laws. Through a simple deep link from Grapestars, those brands can now make their products available nationwide without the need to engage themselves with retailers.

We believe our business model is more “avant-garde” by offering products that are not accessible to most customers.

Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful app or a SaaS? Please share a story or an example for each.

A good plan is important to have.

Always surround yourself with the right people.

Don’t follow trends, but be a trend setter, in other words, stand out from the competition. Funding is essential.

Perseverance. This is what it took to create Grapestars. It is a going concern so we fight every day no matter what.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

What a great question… simple answer. Love! That feeling of being loved and in love should bring us to be better. Love is powerful and we should all have the chance to experience it. Allow yourself! Love made me a better person.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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