Have you thought about turning your passion into your business? Then you might want to study the story of Theresia and Horst Luening from Southern Bavaria in Germany. In the early nineties, Theresia started an online retail site selling whiskys aka whiskies from around the world. Her husband eventually quit his job as a space engineer to focus on the marketing & IT sides of the business. Twenty years later, they are the leading supplier in Germany of craft and boutique whisky, with annual sales exceeding 10 million Euros.
Note: The Luenings started with Scottish whisky and that’s why the “e” is most likely missing from the name of their shop.
One of the keys to this success is without doubt the much-followed YouTube channel Mr. Luening began where he reviews the whiskys. The videos look quite odd at first. You see a bald man in an old chair next to a barrel. He often talks for 15 minutes before getting down to the actual tasting. Yet he has over 20,000 subscribers on his German Youtube channel and over 2,200 international subscribers. These are not astronomical numbers, but he has a strong foothold within his target audience. The company also has 17 permanent employees, and Mr. Luening recently paid $3.1 million USD for the domain whisky.com.
At conceptbakery, we always talk about being authentic as a key element to success. There is no formula that describes what authentic really looks like. But if being authentic means being real and not faking it, then Mr. Luening is it. Looking at him, it’s obvious that you don’t have to turn yourself into someone else to be successful. It’s much more important to find an audience that actually likes you, just the way you are.
If you study whisky.com and take a look at whisky.de as well, you get a good idea of what a content-rich website and a marketing strategy based on it look like. The Luenings are not present at every dance in the social media world. They don’t have to be. They mostly cater to a more mature audience and can safely ignore the fads and playgrounds for teenagers and students.
It’s actually a pretty simple recipe that’s been executed really well: find your passion and live and breathe it. Know what you are talking about. Give it all you’ve got. Think about what you can do better all the time and be consistent. As that little sneaker maker once said: Just do it! :)