Artist Becky Suriano of Wine Me? refers to her hand-painted wine glasses as ‘highly collectible’.
A very unique perspective, I thought—isn’t ‘collectible’ (like ‘unique’) a word without qualifiers? I mean, something is either collectible or it isn’t. You can’t be ‘highly collectible’ any more than you can be ‘very unique’. Or, for that matter, ‘absolutely guaranteed’; you’re guaranteed or you’re not.
Then I caught an episode of ‘Hoarders’, that A&E documentary series about psycho pack-rats who collect everything from snack wrappers to junk mail to cats (some dead)—items which, to us non-disposophobia suffers, may be considered not only uncollectible, but highly uncollectible.
You win, Becky; I lose. I’ve seen the (somewhat opaque) light through one of your meticulously-crafted wine glasses—in particular, the one that has a reproduction of Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ painted above a Shakespearian quote: ‘Lend me your ear…’
I’m kidding about the quote, of course, but the beautiful Van Gogh reproduction on the glass, along with hundreds more in Becky’s catalogue, is exceedingly unique. Formidably unique, even.
Inspired by nature, fashion, music, pop-culture and fine arts, New Jersey native Becky Suriano got into the glass painting biz after a search for a stylin’ glass that reflected her genuinely unique persona—one that she could take with her to the wine festivals she loves. Unable to find one, the artist and self-described ‘reformed rebellious party girl’ painted one for herself. And so many heads did it turn at tastings that she had her eureka moment over a glass of gewurtztraminer: This was a niche market that she could tap into without much start-up costs and perhaps, realize her long-time life goal of living an idealist/entrepreneur’s life while building a successful business and doing something about which she is passionate.
Within its first year of operation, Wine Me? racked up an impressive seven thousand FaceBook followers and showed sales figures that were astonishing for what is essentially a no-overhead operation. Suriano now faces the very real (can something be ‘very’ real?) possibility that demand will outstrip her ability to supply, so she’s investigating mass production techniques, ideally to be followed by a worldwide distribution network along with a number of flagship retail outlets. (Can there be more than one ‘flagship?)
Wine Me? also plans to expand inventory into other glassware (martini glasses, beer mugs) and additional product lines like wine markers, t-shirts, tote bags and dinnerware, but for now, the top-selling items are wine glasses—the most popular of which are ‘Trees’, ‘Owls’, ‘Mushrooms’, ‘Butterflies’ and, of course, Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’. Prices range from $15 to $80 per glass, and custom designs to reflect your personal program or to commemorate special moments are welcome:
“We’ll do anything,” says Suriano, “from Salvador Dali to seascapes, holiday themes to Michael Jackson and the Grateful Dead. Wine Me? is committed to perfectionism and attention to detail, and combining that with our colorful style, we’ve seen some very happy customers and generous word-of-mouth promotion.”
Suriano is also committed to charity work, donating time and creations to such magnanimous causes as Shopping Night Out, a benefit for Beating Cancer, In Heels at the William Bennett Gallery in SOHO, NYC H’art Fest and a benefit for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at Superfine in Brooklyn.
All of which is a grand lesson in how the mind of an entrepreneur works. According to Becky, a little God-given talent doesn’t hurt, but above and beyond that requirement is a double-helping of chutzpah.
Oh, and an idea that is radically, acutely and hugely unique and totally real—and that, my friends, is the whole and nothing-but-the truth.
The dope on contacts: