The mission behind this entrepreneur’s wine and cider company is shared in the essence of its name.
After five years in the making, Hannah Ferguson has opened D.O.P.E. (Dwelling On Positive Energy) Cider House and Winery – making it the first Black woman-owned cidery in Ohio — according to Black Enterprise.
As previously shared by AfroTech, Black winemakers make up less than 1% of the space. With over 10 years of experience in making wine and cider, Ferguson aims to be a part of diversifying the industry. After formerly working as an assistant brewer, the Youngstown native turned it into a full-time job.
“I’m not a multiple-generation winemaker,” Ferguson told Black Enterprise. “I am a first-generation winemaker, and I want to be able to pass that on.”
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the process of opening D.O.P.E. Cider House and Winery had its share of challenges including supply chain issues, the outlet details. Additionally, raising funds was another barrier that arose. However, through the power of both social media and word-of-mouth promotion, Ferguson was able to get her business up and running.
Her word of advice for business owners looking to raise capital is to “do your research” and be active in creating a business plan. Most importantly, Ferguson wants to assure people that they shouldn’t let intimidation get in the way of pursuing their dreams.
“If you just look at your resources in your city, there’s somebody that’s going to have certain programs,” Ferguson said, according to the outlet. “They’re doing it for free, and they’re helping you, and they’re guiding you along the way.”
She added, “That’s how you get to meet people, and there are a lot of people that are definitely willing to help on that journey because they were where you are, they’re willing to give the time.”