An interview with the inventor of wine charms
Janice Robinson invented the wine charm. In what is now a multi-billion dollar private business with customers from all over the world, Ms. Robinson was kind enough to find time and sit down with Whalebone Magazine for an interview about her life, where the idea for the business originated, and how she deals with fame.
What were you doing before the idea of creating the wine charm came into your life?
Janice Robinson: Real estate. I was one of the top-selling agents in South Florida for condos and gated community homes within three miles of a Chico’s. I also recently married my third husband and was working on a neighborhood watch program that involved taking our group exercise classes and tailoring them to fight crime. We wanted the name of our program to be called “Live. Love. Watch. Karate Chop.” We had uniforms drawn up with my initials on each one. But that name was taken by a group in Sarasota so the enthusiasm from the group drifted. This left me with a good amount of time on my hands.
Helen now asks, “Where the fuck is my wine charm” every time she sees me.
Do you come from an entrepreneurial-type family or inventor related background? Had you invented or created many things before?
JR: There was once a pigs in a blanket contest in the neighborhood, years before the neighborhood-watch-exercise-program idea, and I entered because my husband at the time, another gentleman, would always ask me to make pigs in a blanket for him and his friends after they smoked their funny-smelling cigars around the screened-in pool. They would eat a ton. Anyway, I entered against my better judgement and won.
Where did the idea for the wine charm come from?
JR: Not sure if readers of this magazine ever have had a time in their life when you just feel that God is guiding their hand—literally. Well, for me it was an early afternoon on October 22nd, 1993. One of my other husbands and I were having a group over for lunch that day. The last time this group was together there was a karate fistfight between two of the women over whose glass of Carlo Rossi was whose. My one friend Carol insisted it was hers but Helen insisted it was hers. They fought hard on the lawn for a good twenty minutes before we broke it up and all realized that Helen had on a deeper shade of red lipstick that day than Carol. To avoid further bloodshed I put an old wedding ring that was cut on the band from me trying to get the diamonds out onto Carol’s glass. I proceeded to place a ring, or charm as they are now known, on each of the ladies’ glasses. We all laughed.
Helen now asks, “Where the fuck is my wine charm?” every time she sees me.
Thank you for sharing. How did it go from that lawn fight to the business empire you have today of wine charms?
JR: I am not a pacifist. I do want that to be clear for this interview. I did not create a fight-solving solution for everyone. Sometimes you need to figure things out, outside on the lawn. But I think that the wine charm idea that I invented will help avoid many dramas that are unnecessary. It’s a pleasant tool now being used by millions, maybe billions, around the world. The story of how it grew in popularity and I managed to create an empire with 500,000+ employees can largely be credited to Etsy. Etsy is the number one seller of wine charms in the world. The second best seller is a shop in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida called Pineapple Post. My current husband is helping to open more wine charm production facilities around the world.
One piece of advice you might give a young business owner, inventor, or entrepreneur about going into business for themself?
JR: Don’t settle. Don’t settle when you know you can do more. Don’t settle in a relationship or marriage. Just keep going.
Anything else you might like to tell readers of The Wine Issue of this magazine?
JR: Feel free to look up all of our wine charm options on Etsy and keep putting them on your wine glasses. Oh, and never buy a friend stemless wine glasses as a gift. Wine charms are the future and truly the only way you can ever really know which glass of wine is yours.