Exclusive: A New York City Startup Is Launching a Wine Club Aimed at Millennial Men
Bespoke isn’t the first to pitch monthly subscription boxes with pre-selected, and usually pricier, goods to men in their late 20s to 30s—often young professionals with extra cash to spend. Dollar Shave Club, Harry’s, Stitch Fix, and Trendy Butler are just a sampling of e-commerce brands that have launched in the last decade targeting this specific demographic, also promising to provide a blueprint for how to look, how to cook, how to drink, and how to be cool in the current moment.
But while those aforementioned companies might all sell one kind of product or fall within one business vertical, Bespoke is looking to be a one-stop online shop for men who fit this profile—or at least, those who want to fit this profile.
“Millennial men are the primary audience for our core subscription service. And when we first started doing the research on our new, consumables-focused business, we realized that there isn’t another wine club out there speaking to this demographic,” Bespoke Post CEO and co-founder Rishi Prabhu tells Fortune exclusively.
Launched in 2011 and based in New York City with 40 employees to date, Bespoke Post boasts to sell “curated goods and guidance for the modern man,” with many of its products themed around grooming, travel, outdoor living, and bartending. The startup raised $6 million in a Series A round last October, bringing total funds raised at that time to $8 million. Investors include Walden Venture Capital, Scout Ventures, and Kiwi Venture Partners. The funding is helping fuel the company’s new division dedicated to developing its own private label brands.
According to Bespoke Post’s internal figures, 76% of its customers are between the ages of 21 and 40, with a median age of 32. Approximately 90 percent identify as male, 74% are married or in a relationship, and 60% say they earn over $85,000 per year.
“Guidance has always been core to our value proposition, teaching our subscribers how to use a straight-edge razor or style a Chelsea boot, for example,” Prabhu explains. “So we’re extending that to our wine club and offering a wine drinker with basic- to intermediate-level knowledge, easy-to-understand information on the different varietals, decanting techniques, pairings, and tasting notes with each shipment.”
At $45 per box per month—dubbed by the company as “boxes of awesome”—shipments curated by the brand might come with high-end dopp kit refills, cocktail wares, sterling silver vaping accessories, or seasonal grilling tools. Like many curated box subscriptions such as Birchbox or even Barkbox, given that customers aren’t in control of what goes in these particular packages, subscribers can skip a month when they want.
But with the wine club, customers have a little more freedom. Although slightly more expensive at $59 per shipment with four bottles to a box, subscribers can select how often they want wine delivered—either every one, two, or three months—and have the option to skip or cancel at any time. And similar to other wine e-commerce subscriptions like Winc and Firstleaf, these bottles are selected for customers based on their flavor profiles, determined from a simple taste quiz they take when they sign up. The questions are basic but critical for assembling palate profiles, whether they be more tune to sweet, savory, or bitter flavors.
Prabhu notes that Bespoke Post has already done a handful of wine-themed boxes as part of its core subscription program, adding these were some of the most popular ones among customers and that more than half the customer base (currently at 125,000 active subscribers and counting) responded affirming interest in a wine program.
“Our men do love their beer and spirits, but when we surveyed our existing customer base about different products they would be interested in getting from us on a regular basis, wine was one of the most popular,” Prabhu says. “It’s an untapped market of wine drinkers who might not necessarily be wine experts, but who like to drink wine and want a high quality, affordable, and easy-to-use service to get wine delivered to their door.”
To launch the program, Bespoke Post is teaming with Lot18, one of the largest direct-to-consumer wine e-commerce platforms in the United States, to select bottles from vintners across a variety of wine regions worldwide.
Beyond wine, Bespoke Post is also planning to launch its new “Provisions” subscription service in the coming months, which will ship curated offerings in coffee and soap, among its private label goods to be announced soon.