Lauren Barnard didn’t start out in the dining or drinking world. She began her career in Africa, working on projects to empower girls and women in developing countries. Her company Wine + Moxxi provides biodynamic and sustainable wines and consistently aligns itself with initiatives supporting women. So it’s only fitting that Lauren be featured this month as Feastly celebrates the amazing ladies spearheading movements near and far, big and small.
How did you find your way into the historically male-dominated culinary industry?
A lot of heart, curiosity, hustle, fear-facing, and not giving up.
What has been a defining moment in your career?
I fell in love with wine by accident while working in sub-Saharan Africa on girls’ and women’s empowerment programs. Women I met were starting businesses and succeeding, many times being the sole provider for their families and even entire communities. My light bulb moment was, “If they can do it, I can do it.” And, I wanted to make sure those memories and mission were not lost as I moved away from that work and into wine. That’s why giving back to women is a core pillar of the Wine + Moxxi brand.
Tell us about the ladies who serve up culinary inspiration in your life.
The MoxxiGals in our Wine + Moxxi community. A #MoxxiGal is basically a badass female who gets up at 6 am to start reading emails, who organizes volunteer efforts with friends, who starts businesses, who does her passions on the side, even if they pay nothing. She takes risks and basically does it all in the spirit of living an extraordinary life. This is our core customer, and their stories are our biggest source of inspiration.
What advice do you have for other women trying to build culinary careers?
Lead with authenticity to carve out your niche, and your customer following will come. And whatever you do, do not give up. You may have to iterate or adjust your expectations of what success means to you, but never, ever give up on making your dream a reality.