Thirteen years ago, Jeany Cronk and her husband Stephen left their tech jobs in South-West London for a life in the village of Cotignac, about an hour east of Aix-en-Provence. There, from scratch, they founded Maison Mirabeau, the Provençal winery that would go on to produce one of the foremost rosés in the world.
Visitors may even book to stay in a charming farmhouse among the vineyards – a tranquil refuge from which to explore the glamour of the Côte d'Azur. Others still can visit the Mirabeau boutique in Cotignac for an exclusive wine-tasting experience and a finely-selected range of local and artisanal produce, exhibited against a backdrop of Jeany’s flair for interiors.
Eyeing this thriving business, one gets the sense that Maison Mirabeau was founded at the perfect juncture in time – just as the world was catching on to the potential of pale pink wines. But the skill required to capitalise on this wave and manage supplier relations in over 60 international markets has little to do with timing or luck, and far more with hard work and vision.
Celebrating the innovation and talent of female founders, we had the pleasure of asking Jeany about her routine, her all-time best advice and her current inspiration.
First of all, tell us about your daily routine – what does a morning look like for you?
I wake up early (unfortunately), read all sorts of stuff on Google news, often stumble across interesting things for my day and then take my youngest to the school bus just after 7. Big cup of coffee and then my phone starts ringing…
Leaving your job in the City to found Maison Mirabeau was a great leap of faith. What is the most important message you’d like to send out to young women contemplating a bold career change?
Yes leaving it all behind was really scary, especially as we had three kids who were very happy in their environment. I think the most important message I can give is that the moment will never be right to leave, there is always something that will hold you back. Eventually you have to make choice to stay put or go on a new adventure, and be happy with whatever choice you make.
It's also very important to be mentally prepared for the school of hard knocks and that everything you have planned will probably take longer, or be more complex than you anticipated. So put aside a little financial buffer if you can. We see a fair few people with good plans or business running out of finance before take off.
If this all sounds a bit negative, trust me it isn't, it's a great feeling when you achieve your goal of running your own business and being independent.
Starting a new business in a new country from scratch is a mean feat – not to mention managing marketing, supplier relations, and design. Can you tell us about the best piece of advice you or your business ever received to guide you through?
"Tomorrow is another day!” Good advice for a perfectionist who tends to dwell on stuff!
Your Mirabeau journey began back in 2010 – is there something you wish you knew when you first embarked on the venture?
Just how difficult it is to carve out time for my family and myself, because I am "always on” . Not sure how I would have prevented it, as it’s a by-product of loving what you do, but it does pretty much dominate my life.
Which female figure(s) have been important in mentoring or inspiring you?
The world is full for absolutely awesome and brave women and look how much positive change has happened over the last few years for many of us.
The ones who inspire me are often from another era, where being strong and yourself was so much harder. Coco Chanel, Simone de Beauvoir, Nina Simone, Frida Kahlo to name but a few with exceptional artistic and intellectual skills and the spirit to go against the grain of their times.
But my deepest thoughts are for all the women who have no platform and who are mothers of sons that go to war, who get displaced because of climate change and have to flee with their children and all those who have to fight for their basic female human rights and dignity.
The last 13 years must be brimming with proud moments, but is there one thing that stands out above all others?
It’s still the best moment to see people drinking our wine or gin when they are having a lovely time. Nothing else comes close.
And finally, can you recommend a book or podcast that has inspired you lately?
Recently Gabe Brown’s Dirt to Soil, because our future will depend on us giving our soils their life back. I also love the Pivot podcast from New York Magazine for gossip and insights on trends and the economy.