Inspiring Independents: Hedonism

Hedonism Wines is a huge, modern, glitzy wine boutique in London’s Mayfair. Set up by the founder of Russia’s largest mobile phone retailer in late 2012, it covers 700sq m over two floors and lists some 5,500 wines and 2,000 spirits. It is run by chief executive Tatiana Fokina, who has a background in luxury retailing.

With a team who can list such prestigious operations as Harrods, Eaux de Vie, Wimbledon Wine Cellar and Michelin-starred restaurants on their CVs, it proclaimed itself “the best wine retailer in the world” when it opened. It has 40 still wines in Enomatics as well as Enomatic’s Flute tasting machines for Champagne. It also has a children’s play area and parking spaces for shoppers.

Sum up your shop in one sentence:

The finest wine shop there is.

What sets you apart from other drinks retailers?

Apart from the unparalleled selection of 7,600 lines of wines and spirits, it is definitely our customer service and the in-store experience our customers get.

Who is your fiercest competitor?

I am not sure there is anyone who has quite the same business model as us, so it is very hard to compare our business with others.

And how do you maintain an edge over them?

We make sure the standards are always very high. We never stop looking for new and exciting and old and rare wines, for knowledgeable people to join the team. Being perfectionists, we always aim higher.

How do you keep customers coming back?

We make sure everyone who comes to the shop has a great experience, we conduct various in-store tastings ranging from one-of-a-kind events such as a signing with Robert Parker to various tastings open to the public. Our wine specialists always give professional, friendly advice and make sure our customers are informed of new arrivals and events. We have a quick and efficient delivery service, a selection of wines like no other retail outlet, and a great venue that people keep discovering from new sides when they come back.

What area of the business is performing best?

Something we are delighted about is that the sales are good across the board – all regions, price points, spirits, wines and stemware alike.

What’s your biggest challenge as a retailer?

Finding the right people to join the team – people who share our passion about both the product and customer service and have the profound knowledge of wine we need.

Give us your top retailing tip.

Sorry for a cliché, but it is very true – retail is detail.

What has been your biggest business mistake?

Surprisingly so far we have managed to avoid any major ones, but there are some products you wish you would have bought more of after they sold out quickly.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Trust your instinct.

Related articles: