Cameron Hughes was mixing wines for fun at a dinner with friends when he experienced his eureka moment: Why not buy the surplus wine from high-end vineyards and, instead of blending them with cheap wines to make a mediocre brand, bottle them alone and offer luxury wines at an affordable cost to consumers online?
Hughes and his then-girlfriend Jessica Kogan threw their time and resources into creating Cameron Hughes Wine in 2001. What followed were years of debt, cramped quarters, and a sharp learning curve.
The pair stuck it out, got married, and now share two children as well as a wine brand stocked in select stores by national retailers Costco and Safeway. Sales topped $8 million in 2006 and doubled the next year.
Kogan's take on the key to success: "Respect and trust. Not from a romantic standpoint - will he cheat on you? - but from a business standpoint: Do you respect the other person's abilities and skills and do you trust that he will make good decisions on your behalf?"