Meet the Founder: Jason Martin of Republic of Pink
California has always been known for some of the world’s best wines, but not necessarily known for its rosé. Jason Martin changed the landscape when he went from connoisseur to entrepreneur with Republic of Pink.
Recently, we caught up with Jason to learn more about his mission, the obstacles he has faced, and what drives him to press on.
01 Why did you start Republic of Pink?
I started Republic of Pink in my garage back in 2014 because I realized that there weren’t any California rosé wines that got me really excited. In large part, it was a function of market demand. Here in the U.S., rosé was simply not a part of the national conversation, and winemakers weren’t spending much time on crafting excellent pink wines.
In the South of France, where they’ve been making pink wine since the Roman conquest, rosé is a part of everyday life. Historically, the wines created there have been made at a much higher level than the ones made here. But, if you look at California and you look at the South of France, you’ll realize we have everything we need – from grape quality to winemaking expertise – to make world class rosé. Someone just needed to get really obsessed with going out and doing it.
That’s where we come in. We’re here to be the fun, noisy, irreverent new kid that won’t shut up until everybody knows who they are and what their story is. So our mission is to make world-class rosé here in California, get these wines recognized on the global stage, and, hopefully steal the crown of rosé excellence from the French and give it a new home here in the Golden State.
02 What obstacles did you face along the way?
Working in a heavily-regulated and saturated category has forced us to deal with all kinds of ridiculous challenges, stupid set-backs, and near-disasters. But, there are two constant obstacles embedded in our mission: How do we make better wine every year? And how can we bring this wine to more people? There’s a new set of challenges every year, but we’re always working around these obstacles to bring us closer to our goals.
03 What lessons do you have for other entrepreneurs?
First, I think having a clearly defined purpose has had a tremendous impact on our decision-making. Because we’ve determined our unique role in the world, it’s become much easier for us to identify the opportunities that move us forward. We also weed out the ones that are cool, but aren’t helping us in any real way.
Second, if I may steal one from business author Michael Gerber, “Work on your business, not in it.” To succeed as entrepreneurs, we have to get out of the craftsperson mindset and look at the big picture of the business. For me, that meant hiring a great winemaking team, bringing in a great partner to run sales, and hiring a consulting CFO to help with financial strategy.
And I guess my last piece of advice would be to read two books: Gerber’s The E Myth and Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way. Both books have shaped my worldview in a big way, and they’re great touchstones when I need a bit of guidance.
04 What’s on the horizon for Republic of Pink?
Keep growing and stay focused! We’ve tripled production in 2020 and this is still just our second year. Our hope is to continue growing at least 100% in every year to come.
Our wine is now available in 12 states throughout the country and we want to continue opening in more states and bring our rosé to even more people. Our success metric is this: In ten years, when someone asks where the world’s best rosé comes from, we want the answer to be California.
05 How do you keep work/life balance? What drives/inspires you?
I’m incredibly lucky to be married to a smart, driven, woman who has her own passions and goals as a TV writer. Her creativity, optimism, and motivation are a constant source of inspiration for me. She’s the first person I share new ideas with and the first person to taste the new wines. She has a keen palate and a sharp mind, so her feedback is essential for just about everything we do.
As far as my own work/life balance, I think the secret is to create as much structure in my week as possible. Starting and ending each day focused on my own wellbeing while cramming in as much work as I can in between.
Some stretches are lighter and some are heavier, but I know what I need in order to be at my best. I have to hike with the dog every day, eat some great meals every week, sail once a month, and go on an awesome vacation every year. If I spend the rest of my time working, then all is well in the world.