Yahoo Finance Presents: Cameron Diaz and Katherine Power

Avaline Co-Founders Cameron Diaz and Katherine Power sat down with Yahoo Finance’s Melody Hahm to discuss their latest foray into clean wine with Avaline, their goals for the company, and the impact of covid on working mothers.

Video Transcript


MELODY HAHM: Today on Yahoo Finance Presents, we're speaking with Cameron Diaz and Katherine Power, the co-founders of Avaline, a clean wine brand that launched in the middle of the pandemic. And we're so delighted to be joined by both of you today, ladies.

CAMERON DIAZ: Thank you.

KATHERINE POWER: Thanks for having us.

MELODY HAHM: Yes, of course. So let's talk about the incubation period. Did you know that you were going to always launch in 2020? Give us sort of a roadmap. Katherine, let's start with you of how this idea came to be.

KATHERINE POWER: Yeah. It really started back in 2018 I think it was. And we were honestly just enjoying a glass of wine as we often did at Cameron's house. And we started talking about how everything in our life has gotten healthier. And we've traded our go to products in for better for you options, whether it was groceries becoming organic, personal care becoming non-toxic, clean skin care, beauty. And we're sitting here drinking the wine and we thought, gosh. We drink a lot of wine. I wonder if there's a way to make wine better for us.

And what's actually in it, is it just grapes as we'd always thought since we became of drinking age? And that really set us off on a journey really to learn about the winemaking process to see if there was a cleaner way to consume wine. And once we sort of got some perspective on it, we completely changed the way that we drank. We sought out wines made from organic grapes, or that we're minimally intervened with.

And then when we found cleaner wines and changed it in ourselves, we felt better. We were doing something that was a little bit better for us. And we felt very compelled to share what we had learned and also to share a solution to consumers just like us. And that really led us to wanting to make this kind of wine accessible to people everywhere. So whether that means delivering it to their doorstep or being in every place that this person shops for groceries.

Our goal is really to champion a new standard in wine drinking, and to make this kind of wine more prevalent in the market.

MELODY HAHM: Yeah, Cameron, I think that point Katherine just made about accessibility prevalence, it's not that this kind of wine didn't exist. You two were already consuming it. Why was that part of your vision? Why did you feel as though it had to be ubiquitous, or you really wanted to flood the zone with Avaline?

CAMERON DIAZ: Well, what we found was that when we started drinking wine and seeking it out, we had to go across town to a niche wine shop that only sold wine that was clean wines, and minimally intervened, and organic. All the attributes that we were looking to consume for ourselves. And because we live in Los Angeles, the Mecca of wellness, and we thought, wow. This is the only place we can really go to identify the wine that we want to drink. We can't just go down the grocery store aisle.

We could. But out of the 500 bottles on the shelves, maybe half of them are those wines. But there's just absolutely no way of telling. There's no transparency on the labels. There's no certification or qualification. And more so, there's just no knowledge of it from the people usually that you're buying the wine from.

So if I go to the grocery store and I ask the guy who's keeping the wine aisle about if he has any organic wines, maybe they have an organic section. But organic section doesn't really tell me everything I need to know about the wine. What's really in it? So when we realized this, when we went-- if we can't get it in our grocery stores, we can't identify it in our grocery stores, what about across the country in other places that we know that there's consumers like us that want this wine? How are they going to be able to identify it?

Will their niche wine shop have the same qualifications or provide the same product? So we decided that it had to be everywhere for it to be-- we had to be on the shelves with our labels pointing out telling our consumers exactly what is in the bottle and what isn't in the bottle, and for them to be able to identify that product. Because as Katherine said, across all the different categories that we all started to consume more clean, more conscious products, we wanted this to be the one that served that consumer.

MELODY HAHM: Yeah. And we can't-- oh sorry. Go ahead.

KATHERINE POWER: I was going to say, we searched all over the world to find the right wine makers to partner with for each one of our taste profiles. And one of the reasons we ended up in Europe is because this is the way that they've been growing grapes in many of the vineyards for generations. And a lot of the producers have been producing this way for generations as well. So really partnering with people who already create like this to create these beautiful blends for Avaline, and then bring that to market in a really big commercial way that maybe they wouldn't be able to do on their own.

MELODY HAHM: I think the numbers, you were able to sell 120,000 bottles in the first two months if I understand correctly.

KATHERINE POWER: Yes. Yes. I mean it certainly exceeded every expectation that we had from a forecasting perspective, from where we rank on Nielsen in sales. So it's just been an incredible first several months. We had always planned to launch in 2020. And we sort of pushed the date, and held the date, and pushed the date, and tried to find our moment where it felt like it was an appropriate time to come out as a new brand. And ultimately, I think we did. And for better or worse, alcohol consumption was up in the US in 2020.

And so we were just happy that we could provide a cleaner product that people could consume if they were going to increase their drinking.

MELODY HAHM: Cameron, it's not a novel concept for celebrities and people with huge platforms to be delving into especially the liquor industry. Did you have any trepidation or hesitation going into it? Did you feel as though, OK, will my brand power, will my name really carry this brand? Curious how you thought that through.

CAMERON DIAZ: Yeah, Katherine and I spoke about that a lot. Because for me, I'm not an endorser. You can kind of look at my brand over the last 25 years. And there's no where you can say that I've gotten behind another brand. I always promote my products, which are my movies. So I'm not really an endorser. So I've never jumped on another product. It felt right for me to be putting my name and energy behind a product that I was co-founding with Katherine. It was ours. We built it from the ground up. We knew nothing about the alcohol industry. I mean like zero the alcohol industry.

The two of us--

MELODY HAHM: As a consumer, you did know.

CAMERON DIAZ: We didn't know how the three tier system worked, we didn't know how-- we didn't understand anything. We kind of just, we just started literally calling people. And anybody who had a connection in the alcohol industry, whether it was wine or spirits, we would take it, and call, and sit down with them, and ask them questions, and put the piece of the puzzles together as we went.

And it was so much fun. We had such a great time. But we always knew that Avaline was going to be a standalone product in the end. Yes, Katherine and I have large platforms. We have a lot of energy behind us. And we have skill sets that we have to offer this brand and this product. But we know that eventually, our goal is for Avaline to stand on its own, where people will be pleasantly surprised to find out that I was a co-founder of the product, and then I have anything to do with it at all.

We were always looking at Avaline as that would exist without me someday.

KATHERINE POWER: Yeah. Truly a standalone brand that's really made for the community.

CAMERON DIAZ: Yeah. We really made this for our community. We made it for the consumer that, again, clean is not a-- we didn't invent that category. We didn't create the guidelines for it. The consumer has. We know what those guidelines are because we are the consumer. And so being able to participate in the clean aspect of bringing wine to the clean category, or clean to this category, has been really a lot of fun for us. It hasn't been--

It's a no brainer for us. It's scary I think for the industry because it's something that they haven't addressed themselves. So it's kind of like, we've launched ourselves into this really, again, not for specific purposes that I think are paying off for us because we know what our consumers want.

MELODY HAHM: An area that both of you are very vocal about and passionate about are working mothers. And I think the pandemic has nearly exacerbated the inequality when it comes to people, especially female caretakers, homemakers, working mothers. I think the expression is, it's not working from home. It's living at work. I'm curious Cameron, as you think about your decision to step away from Hollywood a couple years ago, now you have this bird's eye view of what this so-called work life balance could look like.

What are some of the takeaways from the pandemic as you sort of process how mothers and their plight of working from home?

CAMERON DIAZ: I think the hardest part, I'm very fortunate that I can work from home. My child this is just over a year old. But it is really like living at work. Your whole focus, it's hard to shift. You go from literally being in the kitchen covered smeared and totally focused on your child's needs to sitting in front of the camera trying to speak about a business that you're pouring all of yourself into as well. And I have it very minimally. I don't know.

Katherine blows my mind because she's got four companies that she's running all at the same time. And she's been able to be at home with her son. But for me, I never had to work outside the home with a child. So I don't know really any different. I think that and I've been lucky to have support. And my child still takes a three hour nap in the middle of the day. So I just get everything sorted. But I think Katherine really is the one who balances that aspect of--

Especially now coming back into the home, I think, having worked away from your son for the first couple of years, now that you get to be home I'm sure the challenges are so much more, but also such a great payoff because you get to be with him more.

MELODY HAHM: Katherine, curious. As you juggle these four brands, and we're looking at the light at the end of the tunnel. There is going to be a post pandemic world. How are you-- are you filled with anxiety, excitement? What are you feeling?

KATHERINE POWER: I mean, I think it's put-- this whole thing has put a lot of perspective around what we do as people. And it's really created this contrast to look at work versus personal life and how to balance it. And I think ultimately, what I've realized is that you really have to love what you do in order to be able to make it work. Otherwise, you've probably realized throughout this experience that it's not worth it to pour yourself to go to great lengths to balance it.

And so for me, I'm so lucky that I do love what I do. My career is so fulfilling to me and so exciting. And it's partly what gets me up and motivated every day. And that is what allows me to look at things and say, hey. I'm happy to work on balance because I love doing all of these things. And I waited till I was older in life. Cameron also did so that we had the support system that we knew we needed in order to be successful at all the things that we wanted to do.

So for me, my support system is-- I couldn't do it without having a wonderful nanny and a partner who is super involved and all of the great executives that work for me. But yeah. I mean the secret is really it needs to be something that you love to do that fulfills you so that you're willing to make sacrifices.

MELODY HAHM: Yeah. And quickly, Cameron, I know you feel a lot of fulfillment as an entrepreneur, as an author. Do you miss making movies? Are you going to go back?

CAMERON DIAZ: No, it's a completely different-- something I learned sort of early on from a friend of mine who was a producer and became a mother, and she was producing huge films. And I saw her kind of through her beginning of her career really just thriving in that environment of just being a producer. And then when she got a family, and when her family started to evolve, I saw her go like, oh wait, I only have 100%. You only have 100%. We don't have 200%. We have 100%.

So you've got to break up that 100% into how much are you going to give to your family? How much are you going to give to your career? And I feel like for me, I know what my ratio is for the balance of my life currently because I already gave 100% to my career making films as an actor. And I did 100% there.

So it's just a different time in my life now. Now I am here and this is the most fulfilling thing that I've ever done in my life is have a family and be married and have our little nucleus of a family. It's just completely the best thing. So I can't give-- I know that I can't-- I don't have what it takes to give making a movie what it needs to be made. I just don't. All of my energy is here.

MELODY HAHM: Yeah, and I know Avaline actually is a baby name. So this is also your second child in some ways. Thank you so much to Cameron Diaz and Katherine Power for joining us today. Really appreciate it.


KATHERINE POWER: Thank you for having us.

CAMERON DIAZ: --me to chat with you. Appreciate it.