Since doors opened in 2018, Graft Wine Shop has grown its small space in Charleston’s Upper King district into much more than a storefront. The brainchild of long-time friends Femi Oyediran and Miles White, the bar/bottle shop hybrid has become a beloved community gathering spot: On “Good Neighbor Sundays,” other local businesses even set up in the tiny parking lot, allowing customers to pair wine by the glass with pottery, art, and pizza.
That sense of camaraderie isn’t just reserved for local patrons. In Graft’s bi-weekly newsletter, Femi regales subscribers across the country with lighthearted guides to the best new bottles, from a “fine-tuned black cherry jam session” that “rips for under $30” to the “totally n'sync” pet nat he dubs “rockstar gatorade.” The newsletter also shares upcoming events, staff updates, and the store’s latest Spotify playlist—bonus content that won’t surprise anyone who’s seen the trove of vinyl records that line Graft’s walls.
But for all the witty quips and 90s pop-culture references, Graft’s 2 co-owners are absolutely serious about great wine. Named Sommeliers of the Year by Food & Wine in 2019, they count plenty of established wine collectors as enthusiastic followers, too. In fact, they recently launched Cellar Gang, a second newsletter geared specifically towards customers seeking rare bottles.
Femi says email marketing has been crucial to Graft’s e-commerce success, helping the store reach eager collectors in addition to guiding casual customers as they refine their palates. Mailchimp caught up with Femi about how the newsletters impact his business (online and in-store), how he deals with competitors, and why building community is Graft’s top priority.