Today we’d like to introduce you to Gale Clare Karnis.
Gale Clare, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve always enjoyed going to wine tastings, especially the “walk around” types. I found that I didn’t have enough hands after receiving my wine/table list, my wine glass and a pen, especially when I wanted to write my comments down while having the sample. Add in that there is nowhere to write so I’d ask someone to hold my glass while I wrote on a shelf, or someone’s back! Lol One Christmas I asked my daughter to please get me a wine tasting clipboard as my gift. To my surprise, she could not find one! After the Holidays I started searching even further, but never did find one. So, I sat down and began to draw one; then sought out a company that makes prototypes, and ultimately found a manufacturer (in the USA) to produce them. Actually, I needed to find two because one company did my acrylics and I found a wonderful Amish company in Ohio that hand-make my Baltic birch boards. I also started the process to get the patent and was awarded the design patent in June 2012. (US Patent D661, 354 S) I admit, I was pretty proud of myself having accomplished this all on my own! I also created and maintain my own website and had my TastingBoards listed on Amazon and Square. I’m now in the process of getting my wine tasting clipboards into wine and gift shops, as well as wine schools and vineyards. Speaking of vineyards, they’ve proven to be a wonderful gift for wedding parties at Vineyard weddings! I’m really enjoying all of this and also have to add that my family has been very supportive and help out often.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I would say the most frustrating challenge was trying to find manufacturers….especially in the USA. In fact so much so, that I did at one point reach out to an overseas company for a quote, but couldn’t do it. I wanted to feel proud that I ended up with an American company. So I persisted and found two that have been wonderful! I never expected that to be the hardest part though!
Please tell us about TastingBoards.com.
So far I’m not a “company”, but do sell a “product”. My product is the ONLY patented wine tasting clipboard which makes the marketing and market share pretty easy to achieve. When I go to walk around tastings with my board, it’s like I’m a rock star! Lol SO many people come and ask where I got my board that I normally give out just about every business card I have on me. It’s really nice when I can refer them to a local store that carries my product. What IS the toughest part is that it’s just me…..I do it all. I’m not yet in a position to hire help, but definitely hope to get there. I’m very proud of what I’ve accomplished here and if I get a little tired of being my own cheerleader, I get out to a wine tasting and by the time I leave, my ego and enthusiasm has been replenished.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Oh, that’s a tough one….you see, I had 5 other siblings and the stories from our childhood would take years to write! But I will say this…..my dad was an entrepreneur before it was a popular thing to call it. He and two other men actually invented the first corn dogs, but they were called Pronto Pups then….still are. But I remember him every day jumping out of bed early and really looking forward to the day ahead of him and you could just see that he expected great things to happen that day……and every day. I was lucky enough to get that gene. Every day I wake up and not only think of everything I want to accomplish that day, but NEW ideas keep pouring in as the day goes on. Some of my best ideas come when I’m walking my dog! You would think I’d be a millionaire, right? lol But for me and some of my other siblings, we learned it’s more about feeling the accomplishment.
- Website: www.tastingboards.com
- Phone: 630-292-9133
- Email: HoldMyGlass@TastingBoards.com
- Facebook: TastingBoards.com
Personal photo – Del Dotto caves in Napa.