After being one of the last applicants for the Grand Ideas competition in 2014, Vinejuice invested a lot of time and effort into their product, and it all paid off when the judges were blown away with the innovative business idea the dynamic duo had to offer. Now, over a year later, I’m catching up with Adaeze to get to know a little bit more about the team, what they do, and what the future holds for Vinejuice.
To start off with, tell me a bit about yourself and what Vinejuice is.
I’m married and I’m a mother of three. Lavinia and I had worked together previously to Vinejuice. Having a background in marketing in the public sector, and Lavinia having a background in fashion, we owned a business together and started it off the back of nothing.
How did you both meet, and how long was it before you decided to start working together?
This is such a funny, long story, but I’ll try and cut it down for you. We actually went to school together, but lost contact after we finished. Unknowingly, we both bought a house on the same street. I was on my third, and last baby, and decided to start doing marketing from home. Sourcing designs for flyers and posters to send them to clients. Barely seeing each other, it all started when she posted her Graphic Design portfolio onto Facebook.
She said we should start our own creative agency and left her job. Then that was it, we started a marketing company!
How did you come up with the name ‘Vinejuice’?
[laughs] We were sat there for ages, we prayed and wanted it to be about sharing events in the Christian and community world. We have a name for ‘the church’ which is ‘the vine’. Which also worked with ‘grapevine’. Then we needed a fun word for news. ‘What’s the juice?’ And then it just clicked and we said
As well as being an events portal to the Christian community, what else do you get up to?
Moving on from promoting events, we then went on to promoting music, and now we have grown into entertainment news. People are unaware that the gospel field is HUGE and vibrant with it’s own celebrities. I don’t know if you remember ‘Mary Mary’ (she starts to sing me the song ‘Shackles’) well they’re huge! She’s one of the first women to reach 1 million followers on Instagram, and we’ve interviewed them! Turning more into a media company, hopefully it leads to us selling tickets for events.
Tell us the story of how you came across Tech Angels.
Lavinia came to me late with an application. We only had a few days left to put it in, but I thought it was a project for her course. Not being that interested, I tried to get on with the business, not really taking in what she was doing but I supported her.
Then she came to me and told me we have to do a presentation, and I said to her, “Lavinia, I have kids, I don’t have time to do this!”
After turning up, I wondered what was going on, it looked like Dragon’s Den! It was serious, and talking to the other finalists, they had what we thought were ‘proper businesses’. They were the real thing!
Before presenting our idea, we watched others and listened to Craig Dean giving feedback, it was so nerve-wracking after that. Showing people our idea, and for them to have no questions, only to say that ‘this is how a pitch should be done’. We couldn’t believe it! When we won, I nearly fell!
We’re still pinching ourselves to this day, that they wanted to invest in us.
You blew away the panel with your presentation, were you confident about your product?
We loved Vinejuice from the get-go. We just didn’t know whether other people that weren’t in the Christian field, would understand it. We knew we had something, we just didn’t know if it was a viable business that would make profit.
Since your success in the Grand Ideas competition, how have things for Vinejuice moved forward?
Having grown an audience into the tens of thousands, we have people booking campaigns from us so they get mentioned. Making major connections, we are now known as the leading Christian media company in the North West. After being named as the ‘Ones To Watch’ in the UK, and receiving award nominations. We’re now Manchester’s Personalities of the year! It’s just been amazing.
Getting the support from Web Applications UK that day, was the day that we got a massive boost of confidence. Until then, it was just a hobby, but for other people to look at us and say there’s something in it, is amazing.
What would you say to students that are thinking about applying for the competition?
Think out of the box and go for it! Presentation is everything, people can buy into what you’re doing just from how it looks. It might not be there yet, but they can engage where it goes. If you’ve taken the time to research and put together your project and answered all the questions, then it becomes desirable.
What’s next for the dynamic duo, and what does the future hold for Vinejuice?
We literally want to be the ‘Eventbrite’ or ‘MTV’ of the Christian world. In the next 5 years, we want to take over Europe, and have anything going on within that field pass through us. The opportunity to be able to do what Web Applications UK has done for us would also be awesome.
Great catching up with you Adaeze. Keep updated with Vinejuice from their website