You’ve probably seen and recognized the famous yellow label of Veuve Clicquot champagne…
But do you know the story behind the label?
This famous French champagne takes its name from an extraordinary pioneering entrepreneur.
WHO JUST HAPPENED TO BE A WOMAN??
in a time when women were legally considered minors, not allowed to hold bank accounts, let alone make decisions about money…
Madame Barbe-Nicole Clicquot went against every norm and expectation of her.
She was unreasonable in her pursuit…
She was just 27 years old with a six-month old daughter when her husband died. Society at that time would have demanded that she devote her life to raising her child under the care of her husband’s father, Philippe.
He in turn was so devastated by the loss of his son, that he put the modest champagne business up for sale.
Barbe-Nicole stunned everyone when she made the decision to take over her husband’s business and convinced her father-in-law not to sell it, invest in her and trust her to make it successful.
Not only was she up against society’s norms but France and Britain were at war. A trade blockade was in place so she couldn’t ship her product out when she made her intent to run the company known…
The odds were against her success.
She persevered though, and in a brilliant sales and marketing move made sure her champagne was the first to enter the lucrative Russian market once the blockade lifted.
In secret, she prepared a massive shipment to St. Petersburg. It reached Russian aristocrats and the royal family where it was a tremendous success.
Clicquot became the general term for champagne in Russia. Sabering, opening a champagne bottle by removing the neck with a sword, started with Russian army officers slicing open Veuve Clicquot bottles.
This masterstroke brought tremendous growth to her company and she became known as Le Grande Dame of Champagne. Veuve Clicquot literally means Widow Clicquot.
Not only did she never lower her prices, ever, on her product, she invented a new way to create rosé champagne that actually blended two different grapes to create a more complex and fuller champagne.
She was also ahead of her time when it came to public relations and product placement – making sure that instead of simple ads in the newspaper, that there were stories written about wealthy society drinking her product.
And, she was one of the first companies to ship international. Veuve Clicquot has had clients in the US, South America and beyond since the 18th century.
Pretty impressive huh?