How I Became a Winery & Brewery Website Designer

How I Became a winery website designer and brewery website designer.

So…you know how life doesn’t always go as planned?

Since a junior in high school, I had aspired to become an Art Therapist, which is a form of mental health counseling using art as the therapeutic process. I’ve always felt drawn to helping people and being an artist my whole life, what better way to combine my two loves. So off I went to college and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts, with a minor in Psychology. But young love found me and we married. I decided to put my continuing education to become a licensed Art Therapist on hold to focus on family life.

After some unforeseen traumatic life events over a five-year time span, my path veered course. I found myself single and starting a new chapter in my life. I held a number of odd jobs to make ends meet but nothing that satisfied my desire to help people or give a feeling of fulfillment to my life. My new paramour encouraged me to go back to school to follow my dream. So I enrolled in grad school to complete my Art Therapy path.

But guess had a different plan in mind for me.

During grad school, I was working a job that I hated. I had a difficult demeaning boss who often criticized my looks (because it didn’t fit the company’s image) and was chaotic. I found a local winery hiring for part-time tasting room work and some office work as well. The pay was much lower but the job seemed fun. My internship supervisor at the time encouraged me to apply and take the job. She felt that while it may be lower pay, in the long run, I would be happier than my current job. With my significant other’s blessing, I applied and was offered the job.

My internship supervisor didn’t realize what she had done.

I fell in love with the job at the winery, taking on more and more responsibility. Eventually, the winery offered me a full-time position as Office Manager AND Tasting Room Manager (double duty). I accepted the full-time position while still in grad school.

During my last year at grad school, it was insane. I was working full-time at the winery, doing an internship full-time, and going to grad school full-time. Talk about burn-out! I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do with my life. Was this really the path I wanted to take? Surprise, surprise…I chose to go off-course again.

I dropped out of grad school to focus completely on working at the winery, eventually becoming business manager of the entire operation. I loved it. I loved the interaction with the people, helping people discover new wines, managing the business and operations, handling all the marketing - digital and print, managing staff, building websites, and more. I ended up working for three different local family-owned wineries over a period of five years. I learned all the ins and outs of the wine industry.

Along with creating traditional art (painting, drawing, etc.), web design has been my creative outlet since 1997. Not only did I create several websites for myself (blogging and artist portfolio sites), at every job I’ve had over the years, specifically at the wineries I worked for, I’ve redesigned and/or built from the ground up their winery websites. I enjoyed the entire process and the results were always successful! The businesses saw increased sales, increased online traffic, increased loyal following, less complaints from customers and staff, and more.

I discovered I was good at it and enjoyed it. It combined my love of art, being creative, and my love of technology with helping people and businesses. It also made use of all areas of my professional experience with marketing, social media, business management, branding, content creation, and working with the public.

After many years in the Wordpress, Wix, Weebly, and GoDaddy arenas I discovered Squarespace in 2018 and instantly fell in love with its stylish templates and easy drag & drop editor. When I lost my job in 2018 due to unforeseen circumstances, I decided to finally go for it and start my own business as a Squarespace web designer specializing in wineries and craft breweries! I know wineries, the rules and regulations required, e-commerce, marketing, and more. It just made sense.

Where does the brewery part come in? I love craft beer, too. :) And the rules, regs, and concepts are very similar to wineries.

To top it all off, I am also a published writer (print and digital) with over 20 years of blogging experience, as well as an accomplished artist. It’s been an unconventional journey to say the least, but I’m where I am supposed to be - as a website designer helping wineries & craft breweries create an effective direct to consumer marketing partner by designing smart and stunning websites that convert website visitors into wine and craft beer customers.

Has your life journey ever veered drastically? How? Have more questions about winery web design or brewery web design? I’d love to know in the comments below! You can always contact me here, too.

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Squarespace Website Designer Kat Collins specializes in winery websites, brewery websites, and small business websites that are clean, modern, fresh, user-friendly, and goal-oriented so that her clients have a successful platform to support what they love and do. If you’re interested in talking with Kat about your project, get in touch with her to schedule a chat.

On the blog, you’ll find a variety of topics that help you succeed in online business, such as website design, branding, social media strategies, blogging, email marketing, Squarespace design tips, and more.