How I Failed to Build TheWinePort™ (and What Happened Next)

I was discouraged and exhausted. I had failed to hit my funding goal on Kickstarter.

Friends had donated generously, but it only amounted to a fraction of the budget needed. My design was called TheWinePort™: A 200 sq. ft. Portable Tasting Room. I was certain it would be a hit with every winery and wine-loving aficionado in the known world!

I would enter it in the MicroDwell 2014 Showcase. Using what little money I had, I rounded up materials and started on construction, with help and advice from the show organizer.

Two days before the show opening, my team and I assembled the 12 x 18ft. framework. I was out purchasing tent stakes to anchor the structure when the call came in. The event sponsor was asking me why a larger team was not on-site, working like mad to finish the structure. After all, it was only two days until the show opened. There were other unfinished buildings, but mine was the furthest from completion.

At this moment, reality finally sank in. The sponsor left the decision to me. I thought about how my half-finished building would reflect poorly on the entire show. And how this plain framework didn’t really showcase the finished design.

Without a larger team and more money for materials, I made the difficult decision to pull out of the show.

So we deconstructed TheWinePort™ and loaded it back onto a flatbed. The pieces were shoved into my carport around midnight.

After a few weeks, I stopped noticing the abandoned materials. I looked right past them. I carried groceries past the curved sections and framed sides. I navigated the same path to take out the trash.

Then something happened. I was out watering one day when a neighbor pulled up in his truck. He had seen my WinePort™ model months ago at our neighborhood meeting (back when I had showed it off so proudly.) He told me he loved the design, and really wanted to see it finished.

A buddy of his had covered an unused swimming pool, which left a flat concrete pad. The perfect spot for TheWinePort™! He asked to take photos of my model, and inquired how much I’d charge for the plans.

This interest from a potential “real live customer” gave me a shot of hope. How could I leave my project in pieces, stashed in the carport? My neighbors helped me move the framing in sections to my backyard and re-assembled it. Then we drank a toast: the first ever inside TheWinePort™.

Today I began working on the roof construction with renewed enthusiasm.

Whatever your dreams may be, remember that failure is often a necessary stop on the way to success. Instead of letting discouragement veer you off course, take a breather and then get right back on track.

I’m excited to see my vision of TheWinePort™ become a reality (and perhaps even a sustainable business). Please join me here on my blog, where I’ll keep you updated with pictures and the lessons I learn along the way.


Annette Orban

Recommended Reading:
Getting to Plan B: Breaking Through to a Better Business Model

© 2014 Orban Ranch
TheWinePort™ is a trademark of Orban Ranch.

Annette Orban

I’m an inventive designer who creates brands to get noticed. My designs are backed up by competitive research before ever putting pen to paper (on the back of a bar napkin). I enjoy creating packaging design for the food & beverage industry. A love of organic architecture has drawn me into architectural projects. My latest project is The WinePort: A Portable Tasting Room, that I built in my own backyard.

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