How's the Hen?

Holy Camoly, it’s already June of 2020, time is flying.  What is happening with the Red Hen Collective, Mollz?

Our starting lineup of fierce sales and organizing staff is hatching from incubator employee phase to fledgling co-ownership.  So exciting; this team has been hustling from the get-go, digging deeper than they could have in any other company.  Taking initiative.  Taking responsibility.  Visioning.  Critiquing.  Crunching numbers.  Mentoring.  Researching. Traveling.  Publishing.  Speaking new languages.  Leading the frontlines of change for the next generation of wine and agriculture.  All of us in it for the long haul, we're making RHC our home.  Our own.  Scratch whatever anxieties I had about giving up control and sharing power, it feels so good not to be in this alone.

We are delivering and disrupting all over the state of California; nothing is business as usual.  We pull no punches when it comes to calling out unearned rank and exploitation in our industry - it ain’t always comfortable and it ain’t easy but it’s why the Red Hen Collective looks the way we do.  At this table women and folks of color, immigrants and queer peeps toast with committed and courageous allies: here’s to vision and hunger being the qualifications.  Here’s to history and identity being assets, not liabilities.  Here’s to the new economy that rewards rather than extracts.  Here’s to us, the revolutionary business and community that has everyone buzzing.  Here’s to blowing past our breakeven point ahead of schedule, thanks to leadership unlocked.  Here’s to showing the world it’s not just possible, it’s profitable.

Check out the portfolio we’ve built, another testament to the incredible power of risk-sharing and collaboration.  Over a hundred winemaker/farmers around the world and growing.  These are our producer partners, they teach us about the power of multi-generational investments and of place.  They have the tools to fight climate change and because of our partnership and investments, they don’t fight that battle alone.  We committed to paying everybody up-front on day one - folks said we were crazy but we didn’t back down.  Sharing the windfalls and building revenue reserves protects our most valuable stakeholders from spirals of debt and insecurity.  They do better, we do better.  Our Ploughshare holders - everyday microinvestors - unite to lift the burden of financing this industry off of the backs of the most vulnerable.  Not long after our launch, Ploughshares became an independent non-profit investing in justice and regeneration across the wine industry.  We're proud to count PS among Red Hen's member-owners.

Awareness is growing... wine buyers are starting to demand transparency about economic sustainability.  About labor and access.  Connecting the dots; there ain’t nothin sustainable about a biodynamic winery who can’t to pay their workers, their lease, their self.  We’re building a critical mass of consumers and businesses dedicated to weight-sharing with us.  Our Community Supported Viticulture pilot program is getting rooted, Macgyvering the CSA model to share risks between consumers and farmers on a wholesale and international scale.  You better believe it, CSV wines are poised to take shelf-space from Philip-Morris secretly-owned wine labels at Costco and Wholefoods near you.  This is the future, this is the world we design and build together.

As for me, I’m doing pretty well.  I’m getting my eight hours, eating vegetables, occasionally flossing… my life feels sustainable actually.  Learning language number seven now and looking forward to a sourcing trip to Greece with my mom - my first Red Hen investor.  I remember staring at her hard-bound thesis on the Iliad as a kid, completely baffled by an alphabet full of letters I couldn’t decipher.  What else?  Finally got my beloved grand piano moved in which means this place really is home.  I play her every day, workin up some old standards for the invest-sister soiree I’m hosting next week.  Can’t wait to have these fierce ladies all in town at the same time.  We’ve been through so much together these last three years and we’re all ready to crack open stashed bottles and share wild ideas about the future.  Here we are, 2020.  I knew we could do it.  I just wonder what we’ll do next.

Molly Madden