When it comes to luxury brands, Donae Burston’s experience is second to none. With over a decade of footprints that stretch across spirit staples such as Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot, Ruinart, Moet & Chandon, Belvedere Vodka and Hennesy Cognac, his resume speaks volumes. Burston’s track record includes the creation of the first-ever luxury champagne bar in a sports arena. As the Regional Director of the Southeast U.S, Caribbean and Latin America regions of Armand de Brignac Champagne, he achieved a 206 percent increase of sales in the Southeast U.S.
So why did he trade all that success in to create his own luxury brand — La Fête du Rosé – the rosé party, a celebration of all things rosé? Burston sat down with rolling out to divulge that information and more.
Tell us what the transition was like going from a major liquor company to creating and managing your own.
There is a sense of complete freedom, freedom to bring your own ideas to fruition without needing to obtain permission from a boss. There is also a sense of uncertainty. For the most part, working for a major corporation, you have a safety net. Your paycheck will come on time as scheduled if [you] sell one bottle or [none].
How did Hennessy prepare you for the nuances of owning your own business, particularly a spirits brand?
Most people don’t realize it but Hennessy has a very diverse customer base, from the core African American consumer, to their Asian American clientele, to the fine dining hotels and restaurants that carry their prestigious range of cognacs. That versatility taught me how to sell to and engage with anyone — learning what is important to them and understanding cultural and economic nuances to appeal to their emotions.
How important are multicultural agencies to advertising?
For me, it’s not about hiring a dedicated agency for multicultural [appeal]. The bigger issues are agencies in general not being inclusive. That being said, all agencies should have a very diverse team to provide insights from each individuals perspective. In order for any agency to be successful going forward, they must have diversity across the board and especially during the creative process and at the C-Suite level where decisions are made. Click here to continue.