On 2nd August, DB had the pleasure of sitting down with Jonathan and Monica, the founders of Red Pony, to chat about the history of the company and get a sneak-peak into some of their plans for the future. It was made immediately apparent that the couple are very passionate about what they do. Jonathan has an in-depth knowledge of the history of wine in Europe and Monica has a profound understanding of the Chinese market. Together they select the best value wine from France and distribute it in China. They both have a firm belief in the potential of their business and share a philosophy and a love of wine.

DB: 小红马酒业的企业宗旨是“为客户创造价值”,请问你是如何保证质量的同时也让价格平民化? One of Red Pony’s promises is to create value for your customers. What is your strategy for ensuring that quality is not compromised in exchange for affordability?

Jonathan: 这里的“可负担”,并不是指我们卖便宜的酒。我们确实也有便宜的葡萄酒,但我们也有贵的葡萄酒。我们希望提供给客户性价比最好的,因此我们设有不同层次的价格。我们有一些入门级别的葡萄酒,价格会相对比较低;同时我们也卖一些高端的葡萄酒。我们的目标是我们卖的价格比我们的竞争者所卖的价格要低。我们会亲自品尝每一款我们想要进货、销售的葡萄酒,以确保它的品质和价格。尽管我们卖得比我们的竞争者便宜,但这不意味着我们的酒便宜。我们提供不同层次的葡萄酒。
Jonathan: When we say affordability, we don’t mean that we sell cheap wine. We do sell cheap wine but we also sell the most expensive wine as well. We try to get the best value and we cater for many different budgets. We have entry level wine for a low price but we also have very good wine. Our aim is to be is cheaper than our competitors. We taste the wine to ensure the best value for money. That doesn’t mean cheap, although we are usually cheaper than out competitors. We provide every different level of wine.

Monica: 简单来说,价格适宜,价值高。
Monica: Cheap in price, good in value.

DB: 是什么让“小红马”成为葡萄酒信心的保证? What does it take for a wine to earn the Red Pony stamp of approval?

Jonathan: 其实刚才我也回答了一些,比如说,我们的葡萄酒一定是性价比好的。第二点,我们喜爱我们自己的红酒。所有我们选择的葡萄酒,我们都会亲自品尝过。如果我们不喜欢,我们不会进货这款红酒。我有外国人品酒的口味,Monica了解中国客户的喜好。另外,有些酒是因为它们的历史和品牌而成为信心的保证;但这些是附加价值,不是我们选择葡萄酒的主要准则。
Jonathan: Part of this relates to the last question, i.e. it must be good value for money. Second, we need to like it. We taste all the wine before we choose it. If we don’t like it, there is very little chance that we will take it. I have my foreign taste and Monica understands what the Chinese customer would like. Also, there are some wines which have history and international accolades. That is added value but it is not our main standard of choice.

DB: 成为葡萄酒专家意味着什么? What does it really mean to be a wine expert?

Jonathan: 葡萄酒专家是个非常大的词!如果是我,我会说最重要的是对你所做的事情感兴趣,有兴趣去学习、研究它。我喜欢葡萄酒,所以我总是尽我所能去了解更多关于葡萄酒的知识,或是通过阅读相关书籍,或是亲自品尝。葡萄酒行业是个发展速度非常快的行业,总是有新的区域或葡萄酒庄园被发现。你需要时刻擦亮眼睛,保持开放的心态,永远不要停止学习;如果你停止学习,你就会停滞不前,跟不上葡萄酒业发展的步伐。
Jonathan: Wine expert is a big word! I will say the most important part is to have an interest in learning about your subject. I love wine and I will always try to learn more about it by reading and wine tasting as well. Wine is a very fast-moving market. There is a new region and new vineyards created frequently. You need to keep your eyes open and your mind as well. Never stop learning. If you stop learning you become outdated.

DB: 可以告诉我们你们主要的业务和确保业务成功的商业战略吗? Can you tell us the main focus of your business and what your strategy is to ensure its success?

Monica: 我们现在主要集中于进口法国葡萄酒这一块。因为价格透明,大家也比较了解法国酒庄,所以没有公司会只是进口法国酒,但这是我们小红马正在做的事情。我们想以这个为一个切入点,预计今年年底开始,会开始进口不同地区的葡萄酒。除了进口酒,我们也会组织品酒会、葡萄酒专业知识培训、酒庄游览等活动。
Monica: We now mainly focus on importing the French wine. No company will import French wine only because the price and famous vineyards are well known by the public, but that’s what we are doing. We plan to make this our starting point and we will import wines from different areas eventually. We also have wine tastings, training and vineyard visiting.

DB: 小红马酒业的企业精神是“厚德载物,自强不息”。我们挺好奇,这句话与你们所经营的酒业的联系是什么? The philosophy of Red Pony is “the superior man makes himself strong and untiring and has breadth of character carries the outer world”. We are just curious how this saying is related to the wine business you are running?

Monica: 我觉得这句话其实适用于各行各业。因为这是我们中国人儒学精神的基本。我们的宗旨是要为客户创造价值,这个和“厚德载物”其实是息息相关的:为我们的客户提供更好的服务,我们需要有一颗厚德载物的心。
Monica: I think this saying is suitable for all kinds of professions as it is our Chinese Confucianism philosophy. It is the foundation of the Chinese spirit. Creating value for our customers shares something in common with this philosophy. To work with our customers, we need to work with a generous mind.

DB: 2010年到2015年之间,中国进口葡萄酒数量增长至58.28万千升;同时我们也知道,在中国,白酒占据了主要的市场。想问,这样的竞争是否有影响你们的经营? Between 2010 and 2015, the amount of imported wine has increased to 582.8 thousand liters. Nevertheless, spirits dominate the alcohol market in China. How does this competition influence the way you operate?
Monica: 我们会看到好的方面。虽然说白酒在中国酒业占据主要市场,但葡萄酒市场具有巨大的潜力。我们一些客户就是以前经营白酒、现在转型经营葡萄酒的。总的来说,我觉得只要我们坚持着为客户服务的理念,小红马就能走得更远。
Monica: We always look on the bright side. The spirits market is the dominant market in China but the wine market has great potential. Some of our clients ran spirit companies before and have now transferred to running wine company as well. All in all, as long as we keep working for our customers, we believe our company can go further.
DB: 请问创立小红马是谁提出的想法呢?当初决定经营这家酒业公司的推动力是什么? Whose idea was it to set up Red Pony and what were the motivations behind your decision to run a wine company?

Jonathan: 是我们两个人的想法。Monica之前在一家国际物流中心工作过,队伍已经成熟了。我们非常喜欢葡萄酒!我们曾经进货了13000瓶葡萄酒,只为了给自己品尝。那些酒足够我们两个喝30年。我们决定了如果卖不掉的话就留给自己喝——不过后来我们成功卖出去了。
Jonathan: It was both of our ideas. Monica has a background in logistics with an international company so the team was there. And we love wine! We were searching for wine for our personal use and we ordered a supply of 13,000 bottles, which would be about 30 years of personal consumption. We decided we would keep it for ourselves if we didn’t manage to sell it– but we did.

DB: 为什么会想要起名为“小红马”? Why did you choose the name‘Red Pony’ and what is ‘Petit Pony’?

Monica: 其实小红马是我以前公司的名字,因为已经注册了,所以想开酒业公司的时候就直接拿来用了。第二个原因其实是“小红马”简单直白的名称比较可爱,容易吸引中国客户的眼球。
Monica: Red Pony was the name of my previous company so it was already registered. It has the ‘cute’ appeal which attracts the Chinese market.

Jonathan: “小马堡”是我们在中国、法国建立的品牌。作为我们主打的品牌之一,它在中国的销量非常好。我们在销售方面做了很多的功夫,希望找出哪个方法效果最好。
Jonathan: Petit Pony is our registered brand in France and China. This brand is one of our key trades. We sell it exclusively in China. We do a lot of marketing for our own brand and are trying to see what works best.

DB: 想请问一下小红马酒业未来的发展计划是什么? What are your plans for the future of the company?

Monica: 我们计划要占领中国葡萄酒市场。我们会在法国进口葡萄酒,希望有一天除了中国之外,能在其他亚洲国家见到我们的品牌。另外,我现在有一个想法,想要制作一部关于葡萄酒故事的电影。故事大概会以一对热爱葡萄酒的情侣的爱情故事作为主线。我希望能通过电影,让更多中国人了解红酒,喜欢红酒。我想传达的主要理念是,中国人需要放慢生活的步伐,而红酒能很好地帮助我们找到放松的感觉。
Monica: We want to occupy the market. We will buy properties in France and hope to establish ourselves in other Asian countries one day. I have the idea of making a film of “Wine Stories”. I want to teach the Chinese to love wine and want to tell the story of a couple that fall in love over their love of wine. Wine helps people feel more relaxed and people in China want to slow down. I want to share this.