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Utopian Shift

minimum investment: Free!

Austin, TX

Wine shop with a highly-curated, affordably-priced selection of excellent wines. Driven by a proprietary recommendation engine.

Look at your average wine shopper and you'll find them in a supermarket aisle deciding which wine to buy based on the label.

“If I don't know which of these wines I'm going to like better, I might as well pick the one with the nicer looking label.”

Funding targeted by 7/3/2017

Loan/p>Minimum investment: $100

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With this as their selection model, it’s no wonder they are drinking wine they love less than 25% of the time.
Utopian Shift – A Wine Experience is a wine store designed for you to love the wine you buy at a truly affordable price point. The physical storefront will carry a highly-curated selection of wines, paired with a finely tuned recommendation website that will ensure customers consistently enjoy the wines they discover at Utopian Shift.

The biggest problem facing consumers today is information overload. When you’re buying wine at retail stores that carry 1,000-2,000+ different wines, you don’t have trusted techniques to distinguish one wine from another. Smaller specialty wine stores try and solve this problem by having knowledgeable staff that can help customers find wines that they’re looking for, but these stores carry few, if any, affordable options.
In reality, wines priced at under $9 at retail represent 75% of all retail wine sales in the US, and only 5% of the adult population has ever purchased a bottle of wine priced over $20 retail.

To serve the majority of the population, Utopian Shift will be opening a retail location in North Austin. The expert staff will stock an inventory of less than 300 high quality wines, all carefully selected and all priced under $15.
To help customers further narrow down their choices, Utopian Shift has spent approximately 5,000 hours over the past two years developing and rigorously testing a proprietary engine that recommends wines for people based on their taste and preferences. The website provides both basic and detailed information about each wine, accurate flavor descriptions, and specific recommendations that allow customers to easily find wines that are just right for them.
This unique business model allows the store to carry much smaller levels of inventory (less than 300 SKUs vs. thousands for major competitors), resulting in a smaller retail footprint (approximately 2,000 square feet vs. 8,000+ square feet for major competitors) and lower staffing costs. These advantages will allow Utopian Shift to be very competitive on price, even compared to large chain stores.
The Utopian Shift team has the management, wine and retail experience needed to launch a successful retail wine store. Between its founders, the group has decades of experience in wine curation, project management, technology development, and marketing for some of the biggest companies in the world. They have rigorously tested every aspect of the business and value proposition, making adjustments as needed to ensure their success.

Background

Utopian Shift – A Wine Experience is a brick and mortar, retail wine shop that will be located in North Austin, and it is the first retail wine store in the world powered by its own recommendation engine.

Use of Funds

100% of proceeds from NextSeed will be put towards startup costs, inventory purchases, and working capital for the initial months post-opening.