Join us in learning about our craft beverage leaders in our series featuring some pretty incredible women entrepreneurs.
Becky Starr, Starrlight Mead
Summarize your background, your path to what you’re doing now, and/or whether you’re transitioning from full-time day job to this or if you’re managing it all.
My background has several parts that end up working well for what I’m doing now (even if they didn’t seem to make sense at the time!). I worked just out of college for years in retail management, then spent eight years in corporate training and as a national training manager. The combination of retail experience and training experience has served me well running the Tasting Room of our meadery.
Your mentor, who you aspire to be, who is a leader in your industry and why. Trends for your industry, product/service?
Before we first opened, I worked at Chatham Hill Winery for a couple of years. Owner, Jill Winkler, helped me to learn a lot about the wine industry and how I wanted my tasting room to be once we got up and running. As far as leaders in the mead industry, there are some great women mead makers out there making fantastic meads, such as Diane Currier from Honeygirl Meadery in Durham. Mead is a growing industry with over 400 meaderies in the US (there were only 60 when we opened!). I love the variety of product available – lots of styles, flavors, and tastes to try out!
What was your biggest fail and the silver lining? Biggest/latest success that confirmed you’re in the right business?
Biggest fail was believing an advertising manager when he called me asking about putting our mead in a movie! I was so blown away by the request, that we signed on with the company, paid $5000 for them to represent us, and never saw our mead in a movie or on tv! Learned not to be swayed by sweet talking sales people! 🙂
Biggest/latest success – being named the Chatham County Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year last year! And being selected to speak at the American Mead Makers Association national conference in March (2018) in Denver.
What brought you, and keeps you, in Chatham County?
Honestly, we were looking in Chatham County for a location for our business because it is cute and funky. Seemed like the perfect place for a quirky little winery that makes wine out of honey! We’d like to relocate down here eventually; we live in Durham now, but we’ve been saying that for eight years now!
Anything else you’d like to share?
I am so excited about our new building that is going up now. We’ve been planning on expanding the meadery for several years and it’s so amazing to see the progress as it rises out of the ground. We’ll be moving into the new location, down by Chatham Cider Works and Fair Game Beverage, in late summer!