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Meet Sheri Hammonds of Vinrella in River North

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sheri Hammonds.

Vinrella was started in 2000 by Mother -Daughter team Sheri and Nicole Hammonds. The Company has been featured on Good Morning America, Today Show, as top 100 Holiday Gift in Family Circle, Editors pick in Cosmo, and in the Oscar Gift Bags.

With humble beginnings, they started shipping from their garage. Eventually, they moved to a third party warehouse that handles all customer shipments. Today Vinrella can be found in roughly 3,500 stores in the US and additional stores in Japan, Australia, and Canada.

Vinrella’s wine bottle umbrellas and water bottle umbrellas remain the Company’s most popular products. The unique no-drip design seals the wet umbrella away in a bottle to protect your purse or briefcase, making the products functional and fun to use. Vinrella umbrellas are also great gifts and super fashionable.

They’re often asked how did you start your company particularly since neither of them knew anything about manufacturing overseas, gift shows, gift reps, etc. The answer is just a lot of hard work, creative energy and every day one foot in front of the other. Small baby steps add up!

Has it been a smooth road?
Smooth in some ways and not so smooth in others. Our greatest challenges were finding the right factories to manufacture for us. That was a lesson all in and of itself. Other challenges were learning how to put together trade show booths, setting up our processes in-house and hiring the right people. But with the difficulties, there were many things that fell into place. Nicole is a graphic designer so she handles many of the creative things that we do, making it a lot easier to create our website, catalogs and our fun designs.

We also had some good luck, in the beginning, finding good sales reps, which helped get the product line off and running.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Vinrella story. Tell us more about the business.
What sets us apart from other umbrella company’s is that our bottle umbrellas are super functional, great gift items and fashionable. The function is all about putting the wet umbrella in the sealed bottle so all your things stay dry. You no longer have to carry around a wet umbrella.

Vinrella has become known for bright colorful patterns and for the pure “fun” of the product.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The main shift will continue to be in online sales. While 90% of our business is direct to retail stores, there’s always that concern about the future of retail with brick and mortar stores.

Our hope is that the e-commerce stores don’t overtake the industry because, especially with our product, the customer needs to see, touch and play with a Vinrella to really experience and understand the product.

Pricing:

  • All bottle umbrellas are $22 and free shipping on many items
  • Our bubble umbrellas are high design, high quality. $30 for a lasting, fashionable umbrella. With shoulder strap

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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