Love drew Evelyn and Allan Burns to Mauritius the first time. The couple, originally from Aberdeen Scotland, were married there in 2004. They fell head-over-heels with the island-nation.
Who could blame them? Mauritius rises from the Indian Ocean 500 miles east of Madagascar in abundant, year-round warmth and sunshine.
“It’s a beautiful tropical island and the people there are really, genuinely, very friendly,” says Evelyn. “It really captured a place in our hearts.”
The couple settled in Perth a few months later, where over the years, they cultivated another love for Australian wine. They toured vineyards, met winemakers seemingly everywhere, from the nearby Margaret River region to Tasmania, New South Wales and South Australia.
Could they combine all these loves, leave their office jobs behind, and live and work together in paradise?
As it turns out, they could. By the time they returned to Mauritius for their tenth anniversary, Evelyn and Allan had built up an impressive personal cellar from their favorite vineyards.
“We kept going back to Mauritius for holidays and we could never find Australian wines there,” Evelyn says. “We could only find French and South African wines, so we saw an opportunity.”
That’s how the couple’s business, New Horizon Wines, began to take shape.
“We were looking for a change in lifestyle, combining a place we love with a product we love and market that in Mauritius,” Evelyn said. “We wanted to get into a better lifestyle and out of the nine-to-five thing.”
They launched New Horizon Wines in early 2016, a wine import and distribution business catering to Mauritius’ hospitality sector.
Not Just Your Garden Variety
New Horizon Wines fills a niche in a market once exclusive to European wines. About 1.2 million people visit Mauritius every year (roughly equivalent to the permanent population) offering Evelyn and Allan a steady stream of potential business, especially through the busy months from November to April.
New Horizon Wines provides wine and a small selection of spirits from Australia to 20 or so hotels, luxury resorts and restaurants.
“We’re not just selling the wine but our experience,” Evelyn says. “We wanted to sell wine that we already knew, the wines that we’ve enjoyed over the past 12 years that are in our own collection.”
Allan and Evelyn currently source products from 15 vineyards, along with a small sampling of Australian whiskeys and gin. They know the majority of the winemakers/owners personally.
“We have a personal relationship that we’re selling. It’s not ‘here’s a bunch of wines,’ it’s wines that we have a personal experience and relationship with that we want to share.”
The Perfect Landing with Landed Costs
Evelyn and Allan chose Cin7 not long after launching New Horizon Wines. Evelyn knew her way around spreadsheets, which she used to track stock at the start, but New Horizon Wines would need a more robust solution sooner or later.
“It was ok at first because the amount of inventory wasn’t very hard to manage,” Evelyn says. “But I knew that as soon as we started selling in volume, it was going to become a very manual, very time-consuming exercise to deal with stock. I’m an accountant by trade and I’ve experienced plenty of death-by-spreadsheet and I didn’t want to have to deal with that.”
Cin7’s integration with Xero and Shopify sealed the deal. And, as an importer, New Horizon Wines relies heavily on Cin7’s ability to track landed costs. New Horizon Wines uses Cin7 to manage stock in two warehouses and to process online wholesale orders with Cin7’s built-in B2B website.
The young business is also on the verge of opening a retail location, which means Evelyn and Allan will be using Cin7’s POS module, and their existing Shopify channel for online B2C sales.
Finally, Evelyn uses the perpetual inventory method with Cin7 to automatically update stock value to her Xero integration for an up-to-the-second view of the company’s bottom line.
“Cin7 is not a difficult system to pick up and learn how to use, and with all its integrations, with Shopify, with Xero, it does just make things easier,” she says.
New Horizon Wines is still a growing company, but Evelyn says that within a year or two, they plan to turn over day-to-day operations to someone else, to enjoy more of the Mauritius lifestyle they’ve dreamed of for years.