Our June entrepreneur spotlight is dedicated to Kirsten Fox. Although she is originally from La Jolla, California, Kirsten has been living in Park City for over 22 years. Kirsten owns and operates three companies: Fox School of Wine, The Culinary Wine Institute, and her newest endeavor, Uplift Gift. She is a member of Park City Women’s Business Network, PandoLabs’ Peer to Peer Entrepreneurship group, and was recently named Park City’s 2017 Woman of the Year.
Kirsten’s first two companies, have one prominent theme: Wine! Kirsten accredits her love of wine to all the different versions of connections, “The connection from the Earth, to the grapes, to the wine maker, to the marketing and sales, into the pairing of the wine at a table with food and then the whole experience with friends and family.” Her first company, Fox School of Wine, is a wine education company dedicated to providing fun, educational tasting experiences to Northern Utah. After hearing numerous stories from restaurant owners about the lack of appropriate wine training for restaurants, she opened The Culinary Wine Institute. The institute partners with resorts and restaurants to increase the profitability of their wine program. CWI offers online videos, testing, and certification for restaurant and resort owners in wine sales.
Kirsten came up with the idea for her third business during her battle with stage two breast cancer. When she was fighting her cancer, many long distance friends contacted her asking what they could do and asked for guidance regarding what gifts were meaningful. It was then that she saw the idea for her next business and Uplift Gift was born. The company is a trusted source for meaningful gifts to show friends, who are facing life challenges, support, comfort, motivation, and inspiration. Kirsten started Uplift Gift to “help uplift the giver, the gift recipient and importantly, charities around the U.S.”, as 5% of profits are given back to charities, including the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
The Value of Community
When asked about the benefits PandoLabs’ Peer to Peer Entrepreneurship program has provided her personally, Kirsten quickly responded saying, “not only is it helpful to sit down with fellow entrepreneurs who are at different stages of their companies, but to get usable, actionable ways to immediately help your business every single meeting.” For example, in one meeting, she gave a presentation about Uplift Gift to the group and a fellow entrepreneur had heard about a new podcast that focused on people going through challenging times in their lives. With this lead, she was able to find the podcast, sponsor a show, and have one of Uplift Gift’s most successful advertising campaigns so far. PandoLabs’ Peer to Peer program has provided Kirsten with a peer environment that supports and empowers her through the exchange of ideas, experiences, and accountability to meet her missions, visions, strategic objectives, and metrics.
We end Kirsten’s feature with a few words of advice from her to aspiring entrepreneurs:
When facing a big leap, let curiosity build you a bridge.